It all begins with a blank piece of paper or canvas. I never plan what to paint, nor have any idea what will come out or how long it would take to finish. A journey begins with the first strokes of the brush, pencil, pen, few drops of water, first splashes of ink, paint.. and then, in the flow, I discover curious worlds of my own mind.
I love doing things in an intuitive way whenever it’s possible. Things that inspire me and make me feel alive are conscious movement and dance, playing djembe, creative cooking, photography of moments that catch my soul, home decorating, exploring nature.
After a while, in the process of painting, something starts to emerge. I know it when the result starts resonating with me. It is usually something that has some second or third meaning, unspoken poetry, this delicate space between reality and dream. Intuition is my guide. Sometimes I follow some shapes, discover familiar faces, live universal stories of life and death in my paintings. Sometimes they remain ethereal, undefined.
I allow them. I allow myself. I fully am. I am passionate about psychology, and especially Carl Gustav Jung, who acknowledges the importance of dreams and the subconscious imaginative world.
I was born in 1980 in Poland where I grew up and spend the most formative years of my life.
I studied international relations at the Warsaw School of Economics because this seemed the most rational choice according to my parents’ advice. I didn’t have enough self-confidence at that time to pursue my real dream and passion – painting. So I continued painting in my free time, took some courses, but my main focus and energy went into my professional life. Few years after graduating I moved to Brussels where I worked in the Polish Embassy and later in the European Commission. Brussels was the natural consequence of my choice of studies, Poland joined the European Union when I was graduating from university. Working in the EU institutions seemed to be prestigious, a great opportunity, a professional challenge, but.. not really MY "dream". It was indeed a great experience, but after years, I was starting to lose energy and faith that one day I would be able to paint as much as I wanted. A muffled inner voice began to speak louder and louder, like a little rebel, a silent scream. I knew I needed to change things drastically. And I took action. A few years ago I gave up my previous career and became a full-time artist.
It is my emotions that paint me, not the other way round. Very often I am deeply surprised to see the end result. Sometimes I just wander the corridors of my subconscious mind, not going deeper into the recesses of dark rooms. Then the works have more air, light, and lightness. Sometimes, when the journey is more attentive and focused, a door opens to spaces that I either wanted to close behind me or forgot they existed. It can also be seen in the works. Sadness and melancholy, frustration and anger, regret, but also peace and gentleness, passion, fire, and joy, or the playful lightness of being have already been painted.
When I started to paint in an intuitive way, without a plan, without sketches, without looking at the outside world and just peeking into myself, I felt that this was what I was looking for.
I do not try to create "pretty" or correct things, although the inner critic never leaves me and sometimes gives me a hard time. But then I remember what is really important to me - capturing the mixture of emotions that need to be expressed.
I consider myself lucky because I was able to make a shift and follow my real passion. From this deep feeling of sense and fulfillment, I am happy to share my creations with everyone who notices something special about them.
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Joanna Kniaz-Hawrot is present in these categories: