Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Painter Geoffrey Krawczyk "Connection to the World"

It is something really rare, something that not all artists are able to do. Being able to create surprise and emotional upheaval in the person viewing the piece of art. The artwork of Geoffrey Krawczyk makes you think about the origins of violence and war, it deals with themes and emotions that are often off-limits in our society. This is probably why I was so affected by something in his work that wasn't actually such an obvious symbol of war: the endless night-sky with its countless amount of twinkling stars. How can something so beautiful be enveloping something so evil? 

Geoffrey Krawczyk, The Rivers of Sheol, www.geoffreyk.com

Geoffrey Krawczyk, The Birth of Tragedy, www.geoffreyk.com

The nature of sacrifice and violence have always influenced the artwork of  Geoffrey Krawczyk, painter and printmaker from Oklahoma. Geoffrey's work has been shown in numerous locations throughout the world, most recently he was included in Wet Paint 2010 at the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago. He just completed an installation that involved 93 paper models of drone aircraft for the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI. Geoffrey is  also teaching art at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

How is spirituality reflected in your work?

I think spirituality is merely a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Often, this connection is manifested through elaborate mythologies and narratives that don't have much to do with a tangible reality but rather give us a way to quantify our world and our place in it, good or bad. My work is an attempt to create mythologies from the world around us. I believe to think about death, war and violence is to contemplate our own mortality, which is also to contemplate something much bigger than ourselves. I want people to come away from my work not with any sort of solution or narrative in mind but simply with a foundation to consider their own spirituality, their own connection to the world.

Why is war such a big theme in your work? How do you deal with it in your work?

War is one of the constants of human civilization. Again, it is one of the features of our societies that causes us to contemplate mortality. I am interested in how conflict and the way we view and experience it shapes our view of ourselves. I try to present parallels between what is bad about war and what good can come from it. I suppose for myself, it is a sort of therapy. My father is a disabled veteran, so I guess I am drawn to the nature of sacrifice because of that. I feel very small when I consider the enormity of the problems facing the world, including war and violence. Creating is my way of coping. Perhaps, as an artist, I also feel this is my contribution to a better world.

Do you think it is hard to be an artist today?

Yes and no. I think with the amazing technology that exists it is possible to really promote yourself globally in a way that was not possible just a few years ago. However, because of that ease, there are many more people jumping into the fray. But I think it is possible to carve out a niche for yourself, even in the midst of thousands of other talented people. In the end, it will always be the ones who work the hardest that succeed.

What was your most difficult project?

This last installation that I mentioned was pretty taxing. It involves 93 paper models of drone aircraft. I only had a few weeks to make them and they were all done by hand. The final result was great but it was a relief to see it completed.

 If your worked together with young artists, what advice would you give them for their future career?

What I tell my students is to never stop working hard and making work. Talent alone will not succeed. If someone notices that you are talented, and gives you an opportunity, you have to follow up that interest with discipline. If they see that you are working very hard, that makes a much bigger impression. Everyone has talent; not very many are willing to cultivate discipline. And, truthfully, working constantly will only improve your work.

Geoffrey Krawczyk, Installation: Sell/ Cell, http://geoffreyk.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...