#Interview – Rafał Kwiczor is an illustrator based in Warsaw, Poland. His geometric style is perfectly recognizable. Illustration is Kwiczor’s means of expression, his language of communication. We wanted to know more about the person behind these pictures filled with a kind of sadness and nostalgia.
KALTBLUT: Tell us about your creative background – when did you first start illustrating/what really pushed you to do so? Rafał Kwiczor: A few years ago I studied painting, then it seemed to me an ideal medium for working. I am an introvert although my friends laugh as I say it, so painting was an ideal – solitude medium without barriers to self-expression. After some time, I felt a lot of disappointment, because in fact only few people are interested in painting, it is targeted to a small audience. After graduation, I started working as a graphic designer, that again after some time I also felt disappointed, because, surprisingly it is not very open minded industry and full of similarities everywhere. Someone creates a cool font and suddenly it is everywhere! Converted, added to different contexts, but always the same.
When it comes to illustration, I was persuaded by a friend. She decided to upload her drawings to Instagram and she encouraged me to do the same. And it clicked! it’s nice that wrote about me and it was a snowball effect. Nowadays, I work with couple of cool magazines and I can’t imagine how I could not draw before! This medium is full of freedom without restrictions. I believe my style is very unique and because I found my voice I could achieve what I wanted.
KALTBLUT: How will you describe your work wit your own words? Rafał Kwiczor: My illustrations are cautions in form, based on geometric figures that I cut and deform. A lot of elements are permeating and repeating – which allows me to create a holistic and coherent world full of sadness, nostalgia, suspension – kind of an empty expression and a sense of happiness at the same time.
There is plenty of movement in my illustrations, it is very important to me. I believe that negative emotions and sadness create a specific type of movement. I would describe it as suspended waiting for movement. There is a game from the 90’s called The Even More Incredible Machine. It reflects my illustrations perfectly. Many of the same elements that are set in motion in different ways. For me, these are mainly geometric faces. It is equally important for me to analyze which element matches the other and which begins the whole process. I try not to tell the whole story in one illustration, still seems to be finished. You must see the whole picture to get the whole story. A lot of people ask me what they are about, I always answer that it is an open interpretation, for each different element creates similar situations / emotions. We have the same emotions but different causes, elements that trigger them.
KALTBLUT: What medium/tools do you feel most comfortable with when creating your work? Rafał Kwiczor: I work in Adobe Illustrator. I would not exchange it for anything else, it suits my geometric style perfectly well. I sketch very little on paper, I don’t like it that much. In college, anatomical drawing classes were a nightmare for me. I used to go to the conceptual drawing workshop where I drew everything using a ruler. I think I love Illustrator for that. I also did not like the tablet and the pen. I draw with the mouse – everyone is shocked when I mention it. And I used trackpad before – how crazy is that?!
KALTBLUT: Where do you get most of your inspirations? Rafał Kwiczor: From music and film of course! I often return to Possession by Polish director Andrzej Żuławski. This movie still inspires me. Its mood is wonderful. I also love the old German illustrated science books – chemistry, physics, biology, they have such wonderful colors. I am also inspired by grocery ads from the 70-80s, old toy catalogs – I love to see replicas / miniatures of houses that can be folded from paper templates as well as medieval paintings.
KALTBLUT: You’re based between Berlin, Germany and Warsaw, Poland. How both cities influences your work? Rafał Kwiczor: Now I spend most of my time in Warsaw, it is a very interesting city with a lot of sad and depressed people. For my current job, I take the metro with a lot of them, hardly anyone smiles, as in my illustrations, I like it, I feel at home (joking :)).
I am starting to get a little bit bored here. You do not feel the space here, there is no diversity. That is why I plan to return to Berlin in June. I wonder what this change will bring at the current stage of my thinking about my illustrations.
KALTBLUT: What message do you want to get out of your art? Rafał Kwiczor: Illustration is my means of expression, language of communication. Something that makes me different. As I mentioned earlier, it is a medium full of freedom, without rules, allowing me to do everything. I am very happy when someone likes my way of perceiving the world, how I interpret it and then present it. It’s really great to get an e-mail / message with positive feedback about my work.
KALTBLUT: Have you found any other work/artists to be really inspiring currently? Rafał Kwiczor: There are several illustrators: Marcus Oakley, Ruohan Wang, Raul Soria, Raman Djafari. I totally love what they do!
KALTBLUT: What is your ultimate goal? Rafał Kwiczor: I am thinking of joining an illustrator agency. It could be an interesting and elevating experience. There are several people with whom I would like to cooperate, mainly musicians (Luis Ake, Empress Of, Requin Chagrin, Princess Chelsea and Brook Candy is wonderful). Somehow, from the very beginning, my illustrations are connected with this, the first assignments I made, it was for musicians. I also feel that my illustrations are in a way very musical, don’t you think?