Her mom would wring her hands when she saw the next pile of paper vanish under the pressure of paints and crayons. You’ll make us go bankrupt – she’d complain but still go and buy a new stack. This is what it’s like today, Ewa’s hands are constantly preoccupied with drawing, she just cannot keep them on the table. Ewa Goral - exceptionally talented artist and brilliant autodidact left the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków to devote herself to...painting.
I’m sorry but I’ll be on the run – sounds the warning Ewa gives me right at the door to her studio – I’m a hyperactive painter. I can’t just sit and do nothing with my hands. The studio is small and I get the feeling as if all the paintings – enormous, bursting with colors and flora – were going to blow the place up from the inside and all the voracious plants with sharp teeth were going to eat me alive...
With Ewa Goral in her "natural environment" talks Kasia Pilitowska.
Who did you want to be as a child?
I wanted to paint.
I’ve been painting since childhood, covering tons of sheets with paint and causing my mom a headache but she kept spending money on stacks of paper I needed. Once I took a pencil or a brush I was unable to stop. I’d keep painting till I ran out of materials. Unfortunately, none of my work from that time has been preserved.
What happened later?
I went to high school where I was supposed to study art but as it turned out I had only 2 hours of painting a week. I started crying and told my mom there was no chance I’d go to that place again. After two I ended up at the art high school in Nałęczów. It’s the only high school where students sew by hand and make furniture. I’d just found an article in a paper about this school located at the other end of Poland and decided to go there.
What were you doing out there?
Toys from wood such as tiny cars and blocks but also teddy bears. I liked that place. I was alone, away from my parents, and I was doing what I was dreaming about. It was like never-ending holiday. I graduated from high school with Cs but I received an honorable mention for painting. I came back to Kraków but had no money to study at the Academy of Fine Arts; hence, I started working in an advertising agency.
You were only 19 and you got a full-time job!
19 years, no experience and a few drawings in my portfolio. My employer told me he knew I was inexperienced but he saw potential in me and gave me the job. I was studying computer graphics and graphic design. I loved the way a computer served its purpose as a design tool. After two years I felt I was ready to go to the university but I didn’t quit my job.
The next educational stage - did you need it?
I started studying painting. And I was terribly disappointed. I actually should have seen that coming because I did the opposite of what the rest did. Namely, I’d been working for some time before I went to a university. In my job it was me who was in charge of projects for which I was responsible. Then I started studying in order to be treated like a child. I realized I didn’t need the whole glitter and all those famous professors nor did I need a document. I’ve kept painting and, as it turns out, I’m still part of this environment but on different grounds - those of partnership not subordination.
What does your life look like?
I’ve always shown an inclination to work 24 hours a day. In the past I was fascinated by and totally engrossed in new graphic programs. I would design and forget about time. Now, I know it all and, for me, the world of graphic design has ceased to be innovative. At present I devote every moment to painting, I could sit here and paint endlessly, from morning till night. Thanks to the fact I haven’t graduated from the Academy, I’ve started working on my own, I’ve got several regular clients, and I can do what I love. I finish one project, I get a brush and paint.
You don’t show your works often.
It’s a matter of chance. Indeed, I do not care about it because I do not know how. Once I made a list of art galleries with an aim to call all of them in order to introduce my work. I resigned after the first call. My marketing activity is restricted to showing my works on a blog and facebook. Thanks to the blog I got invited to the Festival of Flowers in London to show my works in the natural surroundings. Later, a few art galleries contacted me, someone bought my paintings. I don’t do paintings to order, if someone wants to purchase them s/he has to choose from what’s available on the blog.
How did it happen that your painting was printed on a bag designed by famous Maciej Muszyński from MIMAbags?
To tell you the truth I’m not a hundred percent sure how it happened. I do not know Maciej, I’ve never talked to him. Somebody shown him my works and apparently he liked them so much that he put them on one of his unique bags. I’m really happy about that because I know that what he does is special but, most of all, he shows that young artists’ works do not cost millions at all - can be bought and collected. I regret there’s no habit in Poland to invest in the works of less-known artists.
Have you exhibited your works in Kraków?
No, I haven’t. I’d like to exhibit them in spaces that suit them such as gardens, Botanical Gardens’ greenhouses, forests. I haven’t found such a gallery yet. Besides, my style of painting has changed. After a trip to India, inspired by that culture, I was painting people. Now, half-personified plants have taken over my imagination. I think my paintings are too colorful for Poles, too decorative, too weird…
Your plants have teeth and eyes…
Nature is ostensibly governed by chaos and, in my pictures, I try to put this chaos in order. Plants communicate with one another, they lead lives just like us, smell, see, react to stimuli and to sounds, they move. When we think of living creatures we see eyes, teeth, hands. That’s why I give all of it to my plants. I derive much inspiration from the past, e.g.: classic works of a philosopher, biologist and traveler Ernst Haeckel as well as more contemporary representations of nature such as a video clip for “At Delph” by an American musician Sun Araw directed by Cameron Stallone and Daniel Brantley. I don’t show the lives of flowers in flowerpots, I’m fascinated by the “hidden” life of flora, its dark side. I’ve started attending the ethnobotanical lectures by Marek Styczyński, I got acquainted with a remarkable professor Andrzej Chlebicki - mycologist who talks about fungi as if they were people. I’ve found myself among those who are as captivated by the life of plants as I am. I’ve gained knowledge from these people and they see my painting as a perfect interpretation of the knowledge I get because I paint intuitively. They are curious about my perception from the perspective of an artist and layperson. You can dive deeper and deeper into the world of plants but there still be worlds to discover ahead of you.
Ewa Goral’s “Organic” circular paintings were exhibited in London’s UNIT24 Gallery in September 2013 and they didn’t come back to Kraków. Part of them was sold immediately to enlarge, most probably, the collections of the Anglo-Saxon art merchants. The remaining paintings were exhibited at the 41st Painting Biennale “Bielska Jesień 2013”.
The pictures come from: