Interview with Arkadiusz Dzielawski

Arteclat - Arkadiusz Dzielawski Artysta i sztuka

Wersja w języku polskim tutaj.

A great article – interview with Tomasz Alen Kopera appeared recently in the 32 edition of the polish magazine “Artist and art” [“Artysta i sztuka”]. The archival copy is still available on the publisher’s website, you can order it by clicking here.

Thanks to the courtesy of Mr. Tomasz Mueller and Mrs. Nina Kinitz from the magazine “Artist and art” we have the pleasure to share with you this beautiful interview.


Arkadiusz Dzielawski does not have to deform reality to show the magic it contains. The secret of the suggestiveness of rounded images lies in the construction of surprising metaphors, enhanced by the effective play of lights and shadows as well as original compositional solutions. The passion for symmetry and harmony as well as the fascination with the tradition of the 17th-century Flemish painting are also important. What other secrets are hidden in the surrealistic work of this artist from a Polish city of Częstochowa?



Nina Kinitz: Your paintings resemble mirrors that reflect the reality we know, enveloped in an aura of weirdness and sleep. Do you create them to delight the audience with surreal aesthetics, or rather encourage them to interact with the heroes of your works?

Arkadiusz Dzielawski: I want to invite viewers to a dialogue. There is a reason that at the centre of most of my work is a character who looks at the viewer as if he wanted to talk to him. An example is the organ grinder who lifts his hat as if he were saying: “Come, see what’s going on here”. Through my creativity, I try to write down the image of the present in the way I perceive it. I want to pay attention to ordinary items – an old telephone or kettle that have their own charm. I show that beauty can lie even in old hands or a pot from which an earthworm comes out. I often raise the subject of passing away – I am looking for answers to the questions: where are we going and what happens to us after death. I also like giving things a second life. I collect jugs, old boards, frames and other examples of old crafts that have been thoughtlessly thrown away. They later become elements of my work.

NK: Are the objects your main source of inspiration?

AD: I am inspired by unusual things in which there is a fleeting charm of the past. I juxtapose them like a documentary filmmaker, creating stories from a surreal world. In the past, I was inspired by the art of other artists to a greater extent, because I was still looking for my own language of artistic expression. Now is different. However, I am still delighted with Dali’s work, I am fascinated by the paintings of Józef Mehoffer and Jacek Malczewski. When I see them, I feel cleansed and full of energy to act. I am also inspired by the shots from the movie “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”. However, the greatest source of creative motivation are my grandchildren – all I have to do is visit them to feel that I want to live.

NK: Painting and creating installations are not the only sphere of your activity. You are also the originator of the art festival “Realism and the senses are delusional” [„Realizm, a zmysły mami”.].

AD: It’s true. I am the curator of the festival of surrealistic art in Częstochowa, attended by painters, sculptors, photographers and theatre people. I hope it will be permanently included in the calendar of Polish cultural events. Our plans are ambitious – we want „Realizm, a zmysły mami” to become a nationwide event, and maybe even an international one, if we manage to get adequate support. Apart from creating, I want to popularize the art of magical realism and present its diversity. After all, surrealism is not only paintings and photos, but also sculptures, installations and paratheatrical activities. There are many artists in this trend in Częstochowa, so we have a lot to be proud of.


In my studio there is a special cage in which I lock myself while painting. Its design allows me to keep my elbows at chest level, relieving the spine. I don’t just use it when creating tall paintings. On the shelves there are Winsor & Newton, Talens and Rembrandt paints as well as several Chinese paint colours. From a distance you can see a huge jar with Venetian turpentine, which I make myself. After mixing with turpentine oil, I use it to make glazes. I use bone glue for priming. In the media, I use Winsor & Newton’s liquid, which allows me to overcome the problem of paint drying for too long. I use a wide range of brushes – from very thick to number 00 – these are nylon and natural bristles. In my studio I also have tools used by goldsmiths and old dental diaks – they are used to cut out elements. I prepare picture frames myself, which is why I also use a milling machine, drill, planer and jigsaw on a daily basis.

I like to work with large formats because they have a stronger impact on the recipient. The shape is also important to me. Creating works with rounded edges allows me to apply compositional solutions that I could not introduce on a rectangular plan. The unusual shape of the works also has a symbolic dimension – it draws attention to the sky that often appears in my work. It also intensifies the mood of weirdness, suggesting the presence of the sacred sphere and surrealistic elements. The roundedness of the images, combined with the characteristic composition, makes the viewer look at the work as if looking out the cathedral window. I paint my paintings the way stained glass is created – some details are perfected, and in the case of others, I allow myself a free painting. If all parts of the work were equally polished, the work would become boring. In every painting I try to leave brush marks to show that it was created by a human and not a machine.

I used to paint on canvas, but now I choose HDF board. Gilding and silvering of the surface is a mechanical process that makes the canvas more susceptible to damage, so I stopped working on it. I start the creative process by sketching an idea with charcoal, crayon or watercolour. Then, using water paints, tempera or acrylics, I make a more detailed drawing with chiaroscuro. In the next stage, I apply an imprimitate, for example in the colour of olive green – thanks to it, the underpainting becomes less absorbent. I often leave greens in parts of body or in the shadows. When painting, I return to one element several times. I often experiment with gilding or silvering, I also create installations and paintings that go beyond the frames. Two-dimensionality is no longer enough for me.

I could work on a painting for a long time. Especially that for every 5 minutes of painting I have 10 minutes of looking at my work. I have already had situations in which for 3 weeks from the date of sale of the work, I introduced corrections to it. It’s hard for me to part with my works. In each of them I leave a large part of myself. Someone who once said that when you pay for a painting you buy a piece of an artist was right.

Arteclat - Aquamachiny - Arkadiusz Dzielawski

Aquamachiny – oil on panel, 88 x 62 cm, 2017

Arteclat - Podróż do Dewahan - Arkadiusz Dzielawski

Podróż do Dewahan – oil on panel, 104 x 120 cm, 2011

Arteclat - Kataryniarz - Arkadiusz Dzielawski

Kataryniarz – oil on panel, 67 x 56 cm, 2017

Arteclat - Fotografer - Arkadiusz Dzielawski

Fotografer – oil on panel, 116 x 90 cm, 2019

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