Roza Puzynowska

Born in 1984 in Warsaw, Poland.

“Painting is like air, when I can’t paint – I am nervous and suffocating” - Roza

"A beautiful girl. A paintress with a deep, spontaneous, nurturing love for painting."

Julia Fonti

“…what is Art for me? Art is something that has to enrich my soul and make me feel unique and unusual. Emotions are essential – painting is a remedy for apathy and numbness of the spirit. A good work of art must elevate you and ought also to burn into your soul and haunt you, not letting you rest.”

Roza Puzynowska

Conversation with Roza Puzynowska

What is the most challenging part about working with models?

To gain trust, but it happens to be also the best part.

The world today is a strange place where speed takes the main lead in all aspects of life and where a majority of human relationships are superficial. We live fast, and time is of the essence. How then to make a stranger trust you and open up in the blink of an eye and then stand in front of you bare with his/hers emotions, and sometimes even a bare body? It is hard but doable and absolutely magical when it actually happens. I love to drink tea with a potential model, to discuss our experiences and get to know each other prior to the creation process. Step by step come closer to breaking the shell and finally make her/him come out of their comfort zone. I love this. It is very thrilling and then extremely pleasurable to paint their image knowing something more reflecting in the sparkle of their eyes.

What do you wish you knew about the art business before you got started?

To be honest, I am happy that in the very beginning, before my studies, I knew nothing. Otherwise, I am afraid that in that very particular moment it might have either discouraged me or imprinted my art in a fake way. Maybe I would try to paint more “market-adapted” works, instead of listening to my nature, character and subconsciousness. Even now, I am not sure I am happy to know how the art business works. It brings a lot of frustration and doubt on fragile days.

Instead I would appreciate to know more about art marketing. I think it should be an obligatory subject of all art studies.

How did you choose your medium?

The choice of medium came to me quite naturally. It kind of seems like oil chose me long before I knew it.

My first oil artwork emerged in the year 2000. It was the very first nude and also on the very first canvas - before I worked only on primed cardboard. All of above was quite a bold move and seemed so “adult-like” and brave. But to be honest I was afraid I will be messy and clumsy. Prior to this experiment I only used watercolor, casein painting, gouache, tempera, and acrylics. I liked them, but none matched the slow tempo of my brushwork. They dry too fast. The plus is that they all have the luminance and lightness sort of imprinted in their nature, and although it can be achieved more complexly by virtuosos, it can also be easily executed (even through tricks) by beginners actually with quite an aesthetic result. In oil on the other hand, you cannot fake it. If it is bad, you see it straight away. Especially if one paints with half transparent glazings like I do.

I discovered that oil requires time and patience. Once you master those two, you can get any effect you desire - the lightness of watercolors, the luminosity of egg yolk tempera or the luscious impasto of acrylics. The slow tempo of the drying cycle allows me to calmly plan my moves ahead and savor time while working on one particular part or on the whole composition. Plus the lovely smell of linen oil and for example venetian turpentine, whenever I sense those, my heart melts. I don't need any other drugs.

What does make you different from others?

I live by the rule that each of us is one of a kind and unique. I praise diversity. So I do believe that also I am different and unique. Everything makes me like that - my thoughts, my feelings, social background, nationality, life dramas, joyous moments, passion, choice of friends etc. I disagree with the widespread approach to society as a unified group and mass. I do not tolerate pigeonholing, even when it is done freely and by ourselves. Now everyone wants to belong somewhere and blend in, and it is not a bad thing to be able to find your own place, but it is nice to remember that we are all special and one of a kind. Always.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

In 2012/2013 my soul got stolen by Igor Stravinsky's “Rite of Spring”. I came across it while working in the Costume Painting Department of the Warsaw Opera House. I was working with the Polish costume reconstruction for the upcoming performance. This music piece is absolutely mesmerizing and the fact that it had its world premiere in 1913 while executed as a ballet to Vaclav Nijinsky choreography, got me completely obsessed. I listened to it every day, some days even several times. I guess it is so compelling thanks to the explosive mix of primordiality and sophistication dissected further to other alluring features.

I got the idea to paint 14 huge canvases with all ballet characters in the original dance poses and that is how my “Rite of Spring” series emerged.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“WORK WORK WORK” and “you should paint all day, every day” delivered by two other artists, possibly with somewhat inflated egos. As offended and hurt it caused me to react when heard them the first time, and as annoying as it still sounds now, I must admit mumbling through tight teeth that in the end I do appreciate it. It requires a lot of humility to take it in with class and wisely apply.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I don't know if the artistic life is lonely in the full meaning of this word. I know it can be a little bit if you do not listen to your inner self nor meet people that understand how an artist's brain works. Nevertheless, I do believe that to be able to create wonderful things, one needs to be friend with him/herself. To be able to feel great just on your own is a necessity, solitude helps to create big things in life. Of course I don't think that an artist needs to become an hermit or live far away from people and the noise of the outer world, it helps only while working. Then again, after a long period of intense focusing on work, I personally need an impact of culture, museums, galleries, theatre, cinema and other people in general to maintain a healthy creative balance.

What is your favorite or most inspirational place (in Devon the world)?

Oh, that is a tough one. I need to say I have many of those. First of all, I am absolutely in love with New York, but then who isn't? I adore its diversity, energy, dynamic and the overall choice of cultural impact. It fascinates me from every angle and rewards with tons of inspirations. Then, I am charmed with Falmouth in south coast of Cornwall, England where I spent few months on my Erasmus student exchange. Even when it rained it was truly beautiful with the fog, harbor charm, tiny streets, the sea and green gables. A year ago I discovered that now I am also hooked on Sydney, Australia. It provides a European feel and sophistication served in American scale with wonderful nature and vibrant international culture. And then there are two tiny and super-silent spots. I cherish all moments I spent there. One of them is Foz do Arelho in Portugal where I stayed in a charismatic villa turned into Bed&Breakfast. The second one is Marina di Cecina in Tuscany that hosts me recently. With their echoing silence and simplicity, where one can unwind at the seaside and work at ease they come along as my greatest treasures. The tranquility of these places delivers a lot of inspiration and energy.

All my favorite spots differ like a kaleidoscope, but I think that I am like that too. Sometimes I need the rush of the modern world and then balance it with a slowed down period. Although they deliver different inspiration, they all have an equally important place in my heart.

Thank you for your time. Before we meet again, the last question to you, What is your dream project?

Since I think in pictures and I am in love with performing arts I would say that my dream, apart from painting till my last breath obviously, would be to create a contemporary opera piece or a ballet. I see it as a huge three dimensional painting in motion. Coherent, very graphic, with thought through high fashion costume pieces and beautiful choreography immersed in magical scenography.

Thank you.

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Have a great day!