ABOUT YERKA BY HIMSELF
I was born in Torun (city in Northern Poland) in 1952. My parents were students of local Fine Arts Academy. Thus I came to world with special heritage, even in double . My earliest memories refer to the smell of paints, inks, paper, rubbers and brushes.
In my artistic family, it was my father who was resposible for ideas, while my mother was perfect in working them. Fortunately I inherited bright features after both of my parents, at least in the field of art.
The most important person during my childchood was my father’s mom – Wanda. For all my life I have been calling her GrandMa. I spent my best childhood moments playing in her flat or walking together in the woods. She was angel-hearted and never spoke to me with loud voice..
As overreactive kid, I had some social problems with my colleagues of the same age. I hated playing outdoor. I used to sit down with a pencil and immerge into my own , different reality. I did not paint a lot that time, but I loved to draw and sculpture. My fingers were always cut with sharp small knife I always was carrying with me and used to sharpen my pencils.
It was my escape from the grey, sometimes horryfying reality – drawings, hundreds of drawings and small sculptures: boats, heads, figures, fantastic masks.
I survived the nightmare of the primary school – mostly thanks to my teachers, who allowed me to sculpture during the lessons. They checked before , that in spite of my busy hands, I was able to listen to them and follow the lectures. In the high school , however, I became untouchable since I have made ballpen nice protraits of the biggest rougues.
I did not wanted to be artist like my parents were. I thought about astronomy or medicine faculty.It was only one year before my final exam when , for the first time , I took paints to my hands and attacked the mysterious world of colours.
Before I have been admitted to the Academy, I had already tried in practice all contemporary currents in painting from impressionism to abstract. I was fascinated by Cezanne for a while, I made a pile of waterpaints of Paul Klee style, and on the first year of the Academy I realized that the thing that fascinated and still inspired me the most was XV century Dutch tablet paintings. It was my “Sevres” pattern , to which I have been comparing my works for years.
Certainly , at the Academy, I have been persuaded to paint in different ways – that resulted in minor notes in painting classes. I chose the graphics as specialization. My professor said, after first our meetings, that even though he did not agree to my way of creation, he appreciated my efforts – so he let me do my way. I was left in peace , and used to create my dreamy visions in copperplate techniques, with precise and style of Durer.
During my studies at Academy, my life was split to two layers. During the day , it was common student work – tests, projects, lectures and during the evening a couple hours of work at a painting that was shown only to my family and friends.
Posters – it is a different part of my life. Just by accident , when being on the second year at the Academy, I was discovered as a very talented poster maker. This ability to create the clear and interesting message , accompanied by perfect technique resulted in many successes on the international and local poster exhibitions.
For the prize for my first poster (in 1972) I bought all albums of Durer and Bosch that were that time vailable in Poland . After the one of the last (Ist prize in Milano in 1980) I was able to afford for a flat and good car. Unril 1980, I was earning my living from various poster works orders or poster competition prizes , but the evenings and all my free moments were devoted to painting my dreams or childhood memories.
Since 1980 I cooperated with several galleries in Warsaw, and also were doing commissioned works. I devoted myself almost exclusively to painting. Since 1996 I started doing pastels.
In mid 1990 a proposition from Hollywood has revived my monotonuous life consisting of painting pictures one by one.The producer Renee Daalder acquired rights to 50 The Beatles songs, and after having discovered my works, he had idea to join both in a science fiction film entitled “Strawberry Fields”.
I participated in the first stage of the production, designing figures, monster-machines and unreal landscapes. Some of my works like Creation of life or Technobeach or Broken picnic have been created upon the work at this project.
My greatest source of inspiration is always (and I bet will be) my childhood souvenirs – that places, remembered feelings, fragrances and technique of 1950s . You can see it in : Between Heaven and Hell,Attack at dawn, Summer in the city, Paradise in the yard or Halloween.
Other group of my works is inspired by dreams: New Age Manhattan, Metropolis, Sonnet, Strawberry tree, Cathedral, Swimming lesson. My often trips and stays at Polish countryside also became inspiring and resulted in a series of “rustical” themes – Amok harvest, Space barn, Express package, Jalousie, Full bowl.