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Last Thursday 17th May at the private view of ‘Beautiful People’, Kris Cieslak’s solo exhibition at RB12, we catch up with the artist and Chrom-Art co-founder to talk about true beauty, killing trends, and of course, his much awaited new show.
‘Beautiful people’ is a show dedicated by the artist to those whose choice is to strive to inspire and help others, and to be an example of Beauty in the world. It opens until the 4th July at RB12, a new design space and concept store reinvigorating the London design scene with inspirational art and design.
Kris Cieslak was born in Warsaw, and studied Fine Art at the University ‘Schola Posnaniensis’ in Poznan, Poland. He now resides in London where he develops most of his work, following a number of exhibitions in Paris, Rome, Milan and Warsaw. Kris is also curator of the annual #TRIBE International Art Festivals organised by Chrom-Art, a sizeable event which has showcased hundreds of talented emerging artists from all over the world since its inception 2015. Cieslak only ever remembers having a passion for the visual arts. Since 2004, Cieslak has devoted all his time to his artwork which includes painting, sculpting and ceramics. Alongside developing a unique painting style that is called now “stripism”, demonstrating that in the art the only limitations are the borders of our own imagination.
Cieslak has curated and managed numerous art exhibitions and art events in Warsaw, Paris and London, and as such had the opportunity to work with many talented artists. His artwork can be found in collections throughout the world. In 2014 Kris co-founded Chrom-art.org.
“Art is not fashion, stop following trends, set them” – Kris Cieslak
From ‘Stripism’ we now see more colour in your work, and also becoming more figurative. What are the drivers of the evolution of your style?
I constantly develop myself as a human and as an artist. For some thoughts and emotions, I need some different measures of expression to avoid repeating myself by applying the same style to every piece, ignoring the way I feel or perceive something. The drivers however, remain the same. I am inspired by people, their feelings, their artistic evolution and influence. People I know or people I admire. Besides, you cannot grow without evolving. The whole art concept for me is about constant evolution. Once someone said: “Change is the only constant.” I think this express myself best and art in it all dimensions.
Tell us about ‘Beautiful People’. What inspired you to do these series?
‘Beautiful People’ series are portraits of great people, icons who changed or were trying to change our world for the better. This series is all against war, terror and violence and instead of surrounding us with sadness and horror I’m trying to show goodness, beauty and hope.
Tell us about the subjects of your paintings. What motivated you to paint these public figures?
Public figures are for me kind of a symbol. Each of them is carrying a unique message, however this message happens to be different to each and every of us. For example Marilyn is for some of us a symbol of a great success, and for the others a symbol of a huge sorrow and tragedy hidden behind the fake smile. To every public figure I add my way of perception, my way of seeing this person. So from one side it’s something you can relate to because you know it and you can interpret it, but from another point of view I made it my way, using my measures and my personal experience and the world perception.
What is your own definition of beauty?
Beauty is in each of us. We are more lacking in measures of expressing it rather than lacking in beauty as it is. I don’t believe in beauty standards or beauty patterns. We tend to love faces which are symmetrical to perfection one day and the next day we may meet someone who is a complete contradiction of a face symmetry and we still may fall in love in such face. It’s not like all beautiful people I paint are so beautiful on the outside. Even if they are icons it doesn’t equal to beauty, but for sure this people know how to express their beauty.
How would you describe the average collector that buys your art?
The collectors I had pleasure to meet personally were from very different age groups and backgrounds – they were all beautiful people though – very open minded, kind, striving to inspire and be interested, enjoying beauty in many different forms and most of all all of them wanted to live in a more more colourful and happy world.
Mostly these people are strong, vivid personalities. I noticed that most of my art collectors are kind of taken out my paintings. They tend to be self-confident, rich personalities, successful in their fields… and of course beautiful.
How does people usually respond to your art? what are the most common comments and questions?
Most common? ‘is it a print or did you really painted that (laugh) or did u paint it naked haha.
But being serious for most of the people my art is strong. They see it and they feel it. This is what I hear. Emotions are pouring from each of my piece. It’s difficult to stay indifferent. It’s this way since my art is part of myself and I am also kind of an extra-vert talker and people person, living on the constant roller-coaster of a different but strong feelings, just my roller-coaster somehow goes always higher and higher, and never down. I am mostly asked about how these people are, how do I know them, if they were posing naked and so on. As many people as many questions, but I am glad that questions pops-out so often.
It’s been now over 3 years of you curating multidisciplinary international art festivals that feature hundreds of undiscovered artists. How are you finding the experience? what are the highs and lows?
I was actually thinking about it recently and if someone would tell me 6 years ago when I was organising small exhibitions there that I’ll be curating international art festivals for hundreds artists I would laugh.
To help young artists feels incredible, helping them with first exhibitions, observing their art evolution, first sales. Meeting so many talented and creative individuals is incredibly inspiring. Im sure Im evolving my self thanks to them
Lows and highs?
The biggest problem is lack of time. each one of us does other things for living as Chrom-Art is not for profit but we need to find time in our busy lives to help others.
Definitely there is many more highs – meeting many inspiring and unique people, being part of fantastic team knowing that nothing’s impossible.
You are also well known for digging the art world to spot emerging talent. What are the current trends in style, media used and commercialisation?
Last year we were a society with a deep need to return to life in its simplest, organic forms after the shock of fake news, Brexit and Trump which you can see in art all over the globe.
As far as I read in 2018 is predicted to examine gender fluidity, surreal scenes, travel photography, Ultra-Violet over Millennial Pink, transparency in fashion. But I never a big fan of following trends. Art is not fashion, I always advise not to follow trends, but to set them! It should be real, honest.
Searching for new talents I need to see connection between artists mind, hand and heart in they works, I don’t care much if they follow current trends, I hope that with time they will create a new ones
Tell us about RB12 as a choice of venue for this solo
RB12 is a unique design furniture showroom, very homy and filled with friendly atmosphere.
After many exhibitions in various galleries I wanted to present my artwork in a little bit different environment. I would love my guests and visitors to feel more relaxed, able to focus on true meaning of my art and finding the beautiful person in each one of them.
What are your artistic plans after this exhibition?
First I need a holiday haha so far this year was very busy for me with my first exhibition Manchester in February and other shows here in London.
I do hope that in few months time I’ll be able to finish my newest series of my paintings. Im coming back to stripism, and questions about our inner selfs. Our own Awareness and of the world around us.
Lots of things happening recently all over the globe makes me question if human kind is still going forward or maybe unfortunately backwards. paintings Im working on currently are inspired with Rorschach ink tests (more about it)
Already planning another exhibitions in Manchester, here in London and finally after few years back in Paris.
Follow Kris on Instagram!