Today on Artist Strong we are lucky enough to speak with Gosia Bruchlikowska, whose clever and cute sculptures captured my heart when I traveled to Scotland this summer! Thank you Gosia for taking the time to share your ideas with Artist Strong readers.
Carrie: How did you get started in the arts? Can you share a bit of your background with us?
Hi Carrie, it’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to talk to you.
I have always been drawing, painting and making objects, arranging things and looking at art as well as spaces. My background however was originally in Politics, then Interior Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art and now I am currently undertaking a Master Degree in Contemporary Art Practice. So, it’s been a strange journey to get here. I never work on just one piece of art, one project, one task – this is probably why it took me some time to realise what I wanted to do, study or create. Art today is rich in subject and boundaries between disciplines are blurred more than ever before so I feel like I am in a right place at the moment.
Carrie: Let’s talk a bit about your Scotties. How did the idea develop? What is your story behind them?
As with my other work, this happened accidentally through experimentation. The first sculpture was created for a charity auction in 2012. I wanted to create an animal sculpture that is simple, 3D, handmade, untidy and fun to look at. It was on display in the window of Alpha Art Gallery in Stockbridge for two weeks and the very positive public reaction to this paper sculpture inspired me to undertake the project ’11’. I received an overwhelming amount of interest following this first dog, in the form of commissions. However making these to order felt too ordinary and undistinguished, it simply was not working for me, as an artist so I decided to make a limited edition collection. I have made each dog different by experimenting with various types of newspapers and de-constructing the papier-mâché forms to develop visual differences and personalities for each dog.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
I am interested in visual arts and visual experiences in painting, sculpture and installation so the process could be very different when it comes to details and actual making but the similarity in process is in experimenting and abstract thinking. I spend long hours in studio but I always go for a walk with my dog, whether it’s the first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. Once I’m in my studio space in Edinburgh College of Art I take my time to look at what I’ve done the previous day, week or month. I usually work in series, never on one piece only so I feel like I’m re-joining the process of creating every day. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay creative so I have several stations in my work space: for drawing, reading, painting and sculpting. I move around when I get stuck but one of my favourite activities is experimenting with projection. I could play for hours, projecting my drawings, shots from films or random pictures on walls, experimenting with scale and colour. I tend to avoid having patterns and rules in my artwork, but are you ever able to do that? I really enjoy being in studio alone, spending time with my work, whether it’s mixing paint or rolling newspaper, either way I just see what happens.
Carrie: What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a series of large scale drawings combined with painting. I’m interested in abstract art that involves risk taking, hand made lines, accidental marks. The process of taking control of accidents that happen while you are painting or drawing and then recreating that into a finished piece is really what I do at the moment. I really enjoy the very moment when suddenly the painting comes together.
It is the same while making Scottie Dog sculptures. They look ugly and deformed for the whole process of making, until the very end when the irregular and untidy stands of newspaper fall into place.
I am constantly making new sculptures, for example I have started making Highland Cows using the same technique as I have used to make the Scottie Dogs.
I am also in process of working towards my next exhibition of limited edition of sculptures at Alpha Art in Edinburgh for Christmas. It will be an exploration of different shapes, sizes and textures of these two iconic Scottish animals.
How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?
At the moment I am so connected to my work that I can’t think of any interest outside of art. It is fair to say that contemporary art can be everything and the endless opportunities create lots of possibilities. Music can really influence my work; I listen to abstract sounds as well as classical music. I try to find creative connections in everyday objects and everyday situations, like shoes, chairs, the way people sit.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all sorts of accidents, hand made errors and trace of human hand, art that requires risk taking. I deeply believe in painting so I admire artists like Marlene Dumas, Willem de Kooning, Cy Towbly and Rothko. I went to see Rothko’s work in Warsaw, during one on my regular visits to Poland. His paintings feel empty and exceptionally boring when printed in book. Standing in front of his huge canvases was a totally different experience when you can directly respond to surface; it’s the size and brushstrokes. I am interested in ways of displaying art work to make it more accessible and maximise the viewer’s experience. Space awareness is in my roots as I studied Interior Architecture and I am sure this will make an impact on my artwork in future.
It could also mean a possibility of making a Scottie Dog that is a size of an elephant!
Carrie: When you feel stuck, what do you do?
For me personally the most important thing is to never leave. When I’m stuck I tend to do other things in studio but I always try to be close to whatever I am stuck with. Just let it be for a while and hope that I can jump in when the idea comes along. I would often take a photo on my iPhone and draw over the images using a simple app. It usually keeps me going and often takes my work to another stage.
Carrie: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
With a Scottie dog or Highland cow sculptures it’s easy because I simply run out of space to glue the newspaper strands! I enjoy the process because I can totally switch off and just continue the labour of making.
It is different with painting and drawing. I work in series, to simply avoid the pressure of trying to fit in too much into one surface. I use repetition and multiple techniques for drawing the same things, which gives me freedom in choosing what I like and when it’s finished.
Carrie: What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a creative and how did you navigate that challenge?
I feel that the biggest challenge is right in front of me. I stepped into an art world for a reason and with a purpose driven design background and it is taken me a long time to let go of questioning my actions. I feel really lucky to be studying in Edinburgh College of Art surrounded by artists at all stages of careers and varied disciplines.
The challenge in front of me is simply to find ways in which my art work, rich in shapes, lines and textures becomes something different than drawing or painting.
Carrie: Do you feel art is a talent or a skill?
I feel art is hard work. One of my tutors said that there are many talented people in the art world but only those who work hard, show up in studio every morning, often continue their career as artists.
Carrie: Advice for people who want your life?
Seriously, who would want to roll newspapers for a living?!
My advice for young artists would be to simply make art. You can’t think your way to painting or sculpting, you have to paint or sculpt your way there.
Carrie: If people want to learn more about your art and keep up to date about your work, where can they go/look?
Carrie: How do you define creativity?
A BIG thank you to Gosia for taking the time to share her ideas and creative process with Artist Strong readers!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Reflect, are you really trying?