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Kamila Sipika

☞ Friday, October 21, 2022, 16:47 ☜

Contemporary visual artist Kamila Sipika ( ) currently lives between The Hague, Netherlands and Warsaw, Poland. She not only works in painting and 3D rendering but also explores art through a written form. Perception, representation, and other sensual visual experiences exist at the core of her practice. So the actual act of seeing, especially between reality and our senses, underlies all of Sipika’s works.

We spoke with Kamila about her practice, inspirations, and deeper meaning of art in her life. Please enjoy the interview and see the available works below!

Photo by Davide Sartori  

So the very first question is about the very beginning. What led you to become an artist? And how do you think it all started?

My mother, a creative architect, would always collect art albums and take the time to share her enthusiasm with me. In some ways, I grew up with the intention of becoming an architect just like her. But eventually, it slowly shifted from a logistical mindset to a very ‘no-rules’ approach for me. When I was very young, I remember always having in my room large sheets of paper taped to the walls because I wanted to sketch everywhere. However, I truly believe that the realization of becoming an artist manifests only when one is much older. So for me, as basic as it might sound, it came from the understanding that my own thoughts can be formed with my hands.

And also, the people I met along the way served as mentors to me, guiding me in the right direction and assisting in my artistic development. But probably, I began seriously pursuing painting during Friday evening classes in Warsaw. That studio of my at-that-time teacher, located in a basement in a quiet Polish neighborhood, was full of backyard cats and sand castles. We were only a few people listening to all those stories when Professor and his colleagues lived their adolescent years as Bohemian artists. So we were definitely immersed in a nostalgic and artistic ambiance, but it all changed quickly when I arrived at my first University…

 

How interesting… I know that you studied at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague and at Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. So how were those experiences for you? 

I have an impression that I learned all of my basic painting techniques and color appreciation at the Warsaw Academy. On the other hand, the Royal Academy in the Hague undoubtedly provided me with the independence and freedom that I so sought when I moved here. I allowed myself to float with many concepts and explore the display possibilities, rather than being bound by one style or material. And also, for sure the fact that I started living abroad gave me the bravery to take risks while creating. So now, for some time already, I work mainly in a serial manner. This way I express the potential of themes from several angles and employ multiple styles rather than being fixed down on one perspective.

How wonderful that your studies helped you further develop and obtain your current broad range of skills. And what about your inspirations, what influences you and your work the most?

Kapists (Colourists) influenced my work a lot by being quite present from my very first steps in painting. The use of intense color, therefore, quickly became the dominant feature in my works, and sometimes with the same importance as its other qualities. Color, in the way I see and utilize it, does not establish set meanings or serve to define roles or hierarchies. I rather like infusing a certain atmosphere and transformation into a situation, so that the alternatives to our usual reactions evoke. Throughout the process of maintaining the autonomy of pieces, the context and methods I’m working on influence the color I choose.

Also, during my studies, I was obsessed with Helen Frankenthaler, who became my first truly favorite artist. That stems from the fact that I owned a beautiful album of hers when I just started painting. On the other hand, I had Hito Steyerl on my side. I read my first book of hers ‘The Wretched of the Screen’ in one night without barely any sleep. Perhaps, I did not understand everything at once, but it blew me away.

One way or another, we clearly all find a lot of outstanding artists on the internet on a daily basis. So I must admit that when I graduated last year I had a special affinity for Katharina Grosse’s work. Her courage, with which she goes beyond the predictable surface of painting and color combinations, always gives me excitation. And lately, I appreciate Eva Papamargariti a lot. Her works blur the boundaries between what we experience in the real and virtual worlds, as they mutually feed each other with a lasting impact on our perceptions. There is also Rafael Rozendaal and an amazing painter, Hadassah Emmerich. And many, many more…


Yeah, and because of digitality, it feels as if avoiding the influences of an image became more difficult… So, how do you start projects among all of those inspirations? And, as you work in both digital and physical, how do you choose the medium for each project?

Well, I enjoy experimenting with different mediums a lot, even though I primarily emphasize painting. Besides, I also engage in a variety of other activities that make my work process enjoyable and give me time for digesting all my thoughts and ideas. For example, during woodworking, 3D sculpting, sublimation printing, or sewing. But everything hinges on the current project; as I mentioned before — I work in a serial manner.

In the past, I used to be very critical when all these different shifts occurred. But the more I accept the process, the more fun I have and become more aware of the context. And oddly enough, I believe that the first lockdown actually benefited my artistic practice. I didn’t have access to my studio at the time, and my apartment was unsuitable for painting. Thus I started developing 3D images in Blender and making some ambient soundscapes. That was an eye-opening experience. And after the lockdown, I felt energized and curious about ways to integrate it with my past learnings.

I see, thanks for sharing. As an artist, with all the different and unique approaches, do you seek to fulfill a certain mission? Do you try to communicate something specific with your work? 

In my practice, I mainly focus on oil and digital paintings. And the interaction with visual phenomena such as perception, representation, and sensorial experiences, are central. Our relation to our senses and the images, that bombard us all over social media, captivate me. So I continuously bind my practice to the physical experience of seeing.

Everywhere we go, whether online or offline, the risk of being seduced by images exists. We spend less time actually looking individually at the images as our visual stimulus increases. Despite this, each of them begs us for our attention. My painting practice draws on the never-ending flood of images pushed on us by our hyper-capitalized environment. I explore the current situation of contemporary image culture. Then I challenge the value of the image while utilizing it to make a point. As I love approaching work beyond one perspective, the countless ways of creating those images fire me up. But, whether digital creation or a painting, 2d or 3d imagery, the interconnection of reality and our senses fascinates me.

Working, for example, on paintings, I many times think of juxtaposing them with digital images. It intrigues me how our attention, while we view an image with interest, undermines credibility. And this happens at a time when technological progress simulates reality to an intangible degree. So the idea of replicating a digital potential that includes human error and ‘inaccuracy’ intrigues me. For this reason, I paint and also print on canvas, making a distinction between a machine and a human.


Yeah, and those contrasts between machine and human, digital and physical became my favorite part of your work. As the last question, I would like to ask whether you have any advice for emerging artists. Or, better, what advice worked for you?

Finding and sticking to my own voice was the best piece of advice I ever received. While seeking my own solution to an artistic dilemma, I would frequently put my trust in other artists’ decision-making. Of course, learning from others’ work and gaining knowledge from their experiences is crucial. But for me, it only worked when I completely trusted myself and my thoughts about how visual language should evolve. Then the spark, existing in a work, becomes the most evident. As simple as it seems, it is quite difficult as everything makes an impact on you, especially now with social media.

Because of this, I look forward to dedicating myself to a new project that has grown in me for a long time now. To work on my own, without the support of any institution. It became crucial for me to develop my rhythm without any imposed deadlines or forced presentations.

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