Initially studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland, Rafal Kwiczor says he eventually lost interest in the medium and changed his artistic pursuits: “I drifted into graphic design, which a lot of my daily work still revolves around, but a while ago I also felt a huge urge to do something more creative with less boundaries,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Illustration was the natural choice, and now I just love it. There are no barriers at all!”
And, Rafal certainly takes advantage of this freedom. His drawings demonstrate intricate experimentation with perspective, form and composition. Generally comprised of rounded heads that are often framed with angular panelling, they feel like abstract interpretations of comic books or storyboards. “My drawings are minimal in form as they are based on geometric figures which I cut, modify and deform, creating closed worlds that can be quite sad, nostalgic, and even depressing,” he explains. “The aim is to create an inner language that works as a communication system – I use the same types of expression, the same thickness of contour and even the same shape of the head.”
The resulting illustrations are frequently layered in a collage-esque fashion, bringing together reoccurring elements to form a narrative. Though seemingly chaotic to the viewer, Rafal says these works are actually the products of careful study, exploration and research. “They actually help organise the chaos around me,” he explains.
But, the most important aspect of his work is the movement. Using it to accompany a specific situation or mood, Rafal says that negative emotions create a hard, unspecified movement and that he spends time thinking about how to draw this. “It’s similar to the way Andrzej Żuławski directs movement in his film Possession. This really interests me and I think a lot about these details,” he says. “The same goes for Picasso’s painting titled Celestina, which shows empty expression and a feeling of happiness at the same time. This is a masterpiece of contrast; an incomprehensible arrangement of moving elements. I find it fascinating to analyse which element matches the other and which is the one that starts the whole process.”
In the same way that there is a combination of movement and reactive elements in Rafal’s drawings, there is also a myriad of different colours which at once harmonise and contrast. Bouncing between bold and toned-down shades, Rafal says that he draws his inspiration from old German science books: “I am amazed by the colours of mushrooms and stones and the chemical substances in them – pure beauty!”
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.