Agata Juszczak

Focus on! Agata is a young graphic designer, artist and illustrator from Warsaw, Poland. For the past few years, she’s been working in advertising agencies, but recently, Agata is looking for new opportunities. I love the way her illustrations looks a bit childish but also rough at the same time.


Kaltblut Magazine: Hi Agata, could you tell our readers what is your artistic background?

Agata: I have finished Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, my major is illustration and graphic design. First, I studied painting but after 3 years I decided it was not for me. OK, I love to paint, but that’s not the main fine-arts-thing I want to do in my life. I like doing it as a hobby, but not for a living. I fell in love with illustration and art books when I started to visit professor Zygmunt Januszewski’s illustration workshop on Warsaw Academy’s Graphics department. I decided to stay and change my major from painting to graphics and illustration.


Kaltblut Magazine: What inspires you when you’re drawing?

Agata: Everything around me. Animals I see on streets, photos or in real nature. People I know or see, their faces. Stories and tales I was told by my parents or my grandfather when I was young – I sometimes change the memories into pictures on paper. Old painting albums that my mother showed me when I was a kid. Art exhibitions that I go to. Vintage photography that I have been collecting for some time now. For example – recently, I fell in love with vintage criminal mugshots from the 30’s, that I found in the Internet, and I started to draw my own collection of imagined, fictional criminals’ portraits. There are so many inspirations around that I’m not even able to list all of them.


Kaltblut Magazine: I really like the way your illustrations looks so rough and “unclean”. What kind of techniques are you using?

Agata: First of all – I don’t use computer programs to draw or paint anything, everything you see is made on paper or canvas. Sometimes, I just change small details, colours or make little adjustments to the artwork in Photoshop, but I try not to do it often and unless it’s really needed. I don’t even like clean, white background, I usually leave all the stains, scratches or accidental ink spots that appear on the paper… I also draw quite fast and I mix techniques, and that’s exactly what gives the rough and unclean effect you’re talking about. I like “frotage” – I use plastic bags or pieces of textile to imprint black paint with them, on paper.


Kaltblut Magazine: What is your favorite Medium to use?

Agata:Black ink; plastic bags with paint on them ;)) ; acrylic or oil paint…


Kaltblut Magazine: Do you have any mentor, artist that inspires you?

Agata:Nobody in particular. Sometimes, I get inspired with an unknown, 30’s photographer who took all my favourite vintage mugshots, sometimes – with Modigliani or Goya. Other times – with some fantastic artwork from some young artist’s portfolio page on Behance. Or with my own, old drawings from when I was three years old…


Kaltblut Magazine: You’ve done so much already, book cover, packaging, advertising design, … What do you prefer the most?

Agata:I mostly like book art (art books) and book illustration, not only for children. I’d like to do more such projects in the future. I am now preparing a book about Polish alphabet, with one of the Warsaw publishing houses – Hokus Pokus. It will probably come out in the Autumn this year. I am really glad and happy to do it!


Kaltblut Magazine: What do you think of the creative scene in Poland?

Agata: Many great artists, great publishing houses – but all of it, not popular enough in the country. I wish there were more people interested in good, modern design and art.


Kaltblut Magazine: What are you working on at the moment?

Agata:Mostly, I’m working on the alphabet book I mentioned before, and some next paintings for the “Big Animals” project that you can see on my Behance portfolio or Facebook site. I am also planning to write and illustrate a short book about love – my own project and idea.

Interview by Nicolas Simoneau.