“I like to say that my work is interdisciplinary,” Poland-based creative Kamil Lach tells It's Nice That. Jumping between “graphic design projects, printed and electronics publications, illustrations, and from time to time, photography," Kamil's vast creative sensibilities are usually channelled into Odra Studio, a design and media studio he founded with his friends five years ago. But when it comes to personal projects, it's illustration that shines, especially when he utilises his graphic design dexterity.
The inspiration of Kamil’s work finds its origins in street culture, especially his first love – skateboarding. “Basically everything started from the moment I started to skate,” he explains, “thanks to that passion I’ve met a lot of great artists and I realised how important art is for me and that I wanted to do it for real.” This dive into street culture led to subsequent fascinations in graffiti and street art, “especially those works which were based on illustration,” Kamil recalls. This is evident in the bold, brooding work he now produces, full of flat, civic settings, street-lamps and box-like cars throughout – all reminiscent of busy, communal urban life.
In discussing the relationship between graphic design and illustration, Kamil notes how closely linked they both are. “I think that the most important thing is to realise that illustration has always coexisted with text,” he explains. As if they were two sides of the same coin, the illustrator adds, “in my opinion if we compare illustration and, for example, classical painting, illustration will be much closer to design than painting, especially these days when technology rules, every illustrator has to think as a designer.” This mindset is evident in Kamil’s visual style of ardent simplification. “I don’t like to complicate art,” he explains, “generally my basis is simple drawings, only black contour, which I can colour later, or just leave as it is.”
Considering this pattern of concepts Kamil tackles illustration similarly to graphic design. His approach is one of process and order, with a regimented colour palette and visual consistency across the board too. Truly thriving in the digital, bathing in the vibrancy of RGB, Kamil’s illustrations give a charming but disheveled perspective of daily life – showing the ups and the downs that come with it. There is also a vulnerability to his work, contrary to the bold distinct mark-making that portrays the anxiety and mood of an urban lifestyle.
His personal illustrative practice has recently resulted in a new project significant to Kamil, the album design electronic musician SZATT’s new record. “Szatt is my good friend,” he explains “and we’ve been working since his first album.” Now designing his third album, Kamil is excited that they are now producing a physical vinyl copy, hoping to contribute “some different, interesting printing solutions” to the project.
Moving forward, Kamil concludes that he'd “like to stay present, and I’m doing my best right now,” expressing that the most important thing currently is his development as an illustrator and designer. Intending to “keep learning about design, reading, creating and making mistakes,” he also hopes to continue to collaborate with old and new friends, excited by what is to come.
About the Author
Hailing from the West Midlands, and having originally joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020, Harry is a freelance writer and designer – running his own independent practice, as well as being one-half of the Studio Ground Floor.