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self portrait – Sławomir Łuczyński

Gallery Ypsilon – Satire & Surrealism presents an interview with the artist Sławomir Łuczyński

Interviewed by: Grzegorz Misiak, Sylwester Kurowski

Sławomir Łuczyński – draughtsman, caricaturist, and illustrator.

His drawings have been published in magazines such as „Szpilki”, „NIE”, „Twój Dobry Humor”, „Nad Wartą”, „Karuzela”, „Angora”, „Wprost”, and „Przegląd Tygodniowy”. He is the first Polish caricaturist to have won over 100 awards in international competitions.

Grzegorz Misiak and Sylwester Kurowski converse with Sławomir Łuczyński.

Let’s begin with your artistic style, which is remarkably distinctive and recognisable. It can be likened to the medieval „danse macabre,” transported into our modern times. Where do you draw inspiration for creating such art?

Indeed, my drawings do reference that ancient theme, but I strive to convey it within the context of contemporary events and societal issues. My inspirations stem from everyday life, from observations: people, politics, media. I endeavour to capture what is essential and translate it onto paper through my stroke.

Your drawings often carry important moral messages, such as the idea that life slips away, so it’s not worth wasting time on trivial, insignificant, and shallow matters. Could you elaborate on any other message you would like to convey through your works?

I strive to convey important thoughts through humour and irony. I aim to highlight what truly matters in life, emphasizing that time is precious and not worth squandering on superficial matters. My drawings are meant to encourage reflection on the meaning of existence, on our actions and choices.

In your works, satirical comments regarding Polish politics and mechanisms of power can often be discerned. How do you view the role of satire and art in commenting on current political events?

Satire plays a magnificent role in unmasking errors and abuses of power. Through it, we can view certain matters with distance and comprehend them in a broader context. Art, including caricature, ought to be critical and expressive, while also prompting discussion and reflection.

In addition to political drawings, you also create works with an epic character that appear to be more surrealistic. Could you share more about these works and their ideas?

My epic works are more closely related to the poetic of surrealism. They often portray symbolic images meant to evoke contemplation in the viewer. I aim to address universal themes tied to human existence and being. Each of my drawings deserves a moment of contemplation and reflection.

In addition to your artistic endeavours, you also have an interesting path of political involvement and a history of opposition activities before 1989. Could you tell us a bit more about this?

It was a period when we were fighting for freedom and democracy in Poland. As a printer and artist involved with the underground publication „Pro Patria,” I engaged in opposition actions. I was also a printer for underground publications such as „CDN,” „Metod,” „Trybuna,” as well as for leaflets and posters. In 1983, I organized the smuggling of a camera into the Hrubieszów Penitentiary, through which Zbigniew Libera took photos of prisoners in the exercise yard, pretending to be at the beach. We battled censorship and endeavoured to convey the truth, even though it was often difficult and perilous.

We congratulate you on your courage and determination during that challenging period. Now, as a renowned artist, you continue to engage in art and caricature, hosting numerous exhibitions and publishing books. What are your future plans and projects?

Thank you for your kind words. I have many artistic plans and projects. I want to continue creating drawings, publishing more books, and participating in exhibitions. Art is a passion and a means of expression for me, so I have no intention of giving it up.

Are there any other new topics you would like to address with your drawings in the future?

There are still many topics I would like to address in my drawings. I wish to continue commenting on Polish reality, but also delve into more universal subjects related to the nature of human existence. Art should remain vibrant and evolve alongside the artist, so undoubtedly, there are many fascinating challenges awaiting me.

Could you share with us your most significant artistic successes and accolades?

I take pride in being the first Polish caricaturist to have won over a hundred awards in both domestic and international competitions for satirical drawing. I have emerged victorious in contests held in Taiwan, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Belgium, Azerbaijan, China, Syria, and Romania, among others. This is a tremendous honour for me.

What emotions accompanied you when you were winning these prestigious awards?

Those were moments of immense joy and satisfaction in my work. It’s an extraordinary feeling when you see your drawings being appreciated by international juries and gaining recognition on a global scale. It serves as motivation for me to further refine my skills and create even better pieces.

Can we expect projects related to travel and international exhibitions in the near future?

Indeed, foreign exhibitions have always been inspiring and captivating for me. I hope that in the future, I will have the opportunity to showcase my works at international exhibitions and engage with diverse cultures and artists. This always provides me with new perspectives and allows me to broaden my artistic horizons.

Is there something you would like to teach the new generation of artists who wish to follow in your footsteps?

I believe that the most important thing is to maintain authenticity and one’s own style. Every artist should seek their own expression and message, not be afraid of criticism, and remain persistent in pursuing their goals. Art is a continuous refinement, so it’s valuable to be curious and open to new challenges.

That’s a beautiful piece of advice for young artists. Thank you for the meeting, and we wish you continued success.

Thank you for the invitation.

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