SOL was thrilled to sit down with Berlin-based Polish Artist Ewa Matyja.
Ewa is a self-taught artist who in the short span of two years and at the tender age of 31 has already shown in New York and London. Ewa is a true inspiration and one very courageous woman, giving up her work and life to pursue her creative voice that never left her.
A firecracker of note and one with a soulful and profound vision of Art, ensuring that honest sentiment and focus are always behind all of her creations.
The talented Ewa spoke to us about her journey into the art world, her soft yet bold aesthetics and how she envisions the role of the artist for years to come.
You are a self-taught artist- did art always play a big part in your life?
I’ve been painting my whole childhood up to when I was 18 years old, and a job and collage took over my life. For over 13 years I kept coming back to painting, but the disruption of daily life didn’t let me create honest work. For years I followed other artist’s journeys, visited museum and galleries, dreamed of creating. Only around two years ago, at the age of 31, I finally decided to give up everything that I worked for over the years, to pursue my artistic vision. Ove time I have learnt that in order to create honest work, I must be completely focused. Now, two years after turning my life upside down and becoming a full time artist, I can definitely say it was the hardest but also the best decision I could have ever made for myself.
Could you tell us one of your earliest memories that hugely impacted you and pushed you to your vocation?
There are several moments that greatly impacted my creative voice. Starting with coming from a small town in North of Poland, where there was no access to an art world per say, then living in several different countries, often being rejected in many aspects of my life, but also always having a loving and supporting family. Countless amount of experiences shaped me as a person and as an artist. I want my paintings to shout: “Follow your instinct! No matter how hard it might be, you can make it happen!” If you are honest with yourself, and you create from the bottom of your heart, your work will not go unnoticed no matter how old you are or what type of background, experience or status you may have.
As an artist, aesthetics plays a vital role- what does it mean to you on both a professional and personal level?
Aesthetics plays a crucial role in every artist’s life. The artist, the creative process, the viewer, the artwork and the appreciation of beauty and its perception are the key elements of aesthetic frames. It is important not only to see an artwork, but to feel it and experience it with all the senses. Each of us have different tastes, and that’s what makes the art world beautiful. If you live a honest life, and create according to your inner self, the real beauty and story behind it will be noticed. To me as an art lover, I want a piece of art to affect my mood, beliefs or attitude toward life, and to me, as an artist, I want the viewers be touched by my paintings in the same way.
Take us through your creative process when creating a body of work.
Personally for me during my creative process, there are two most satisfying moments that occur organically. First, when standing in front of a blank canvas, that offers unlimited creative possibilities. It’s a very intimate experience, almost scary but full of excitement that in a moment, you are going to create something, that never existed before, that no one has ever seen before, a one-of-a-kind in the entire world. When you think about it, it can be scary, but I stay humble, I created opportunity for myself, a made a change, and now I’m privileged to create. Then there is a moment of completely different form of excitement, when making the final marks on a finished piece. The feeling is unbelievable. It usually takes couple of weeks to get to that stage. Since my collections or individual works are not planned, or sketched and are created intuitively, it’s a journey of layering, where I’m usually the very first person who is the most surprised of the final outcome. I am an impatient person, so I always work on multiple pieces at a time. It allows me to see the progress, make mistakes, learn from them, experiment, build depth. The painting is finished when it feels right, when it speaks to me.
Your Thunder collection is not only visually but also intimately deep and strong- can you tell us a bit more about this collection.
Thunder Collection was created in 2018 within my first months of living in Berlin. This city has so much to offer and to discover that it definitely had a massive impact on my work. This collection was created for a November Show in NYC. The depth and texture in each piece give a powerful feeling, combined with the softness and calmness of the pastel colour palette. It shows fear, frugalness, but also determination and confidence. Most of works from the Thunder Collection found new homes in NYC, which proves, that creating according to your heart will always be understood without explaining it in words.
What do you hope your audience experiences when seeing your works?
There is a lot of emotions visible in my paintings- anger, fear, the frustration of not being able to paint for thirteen years, courage, hope, pride and confidence. I want the audience to feel the passion that was put into creating my paintings. There are layers of layers on each piece, small details that can be fully discovered only when seeing my art in person, not all at once, almost like fingerprints, a new one, every time you look at it. The biggest satisfaction is when the audience can see the emotions coming through those small details.
Tell us a little bit more about your colour choices.
I am very conifdent when it comes to colour choices. I tend to always stick to what feels the most natural and honest to me, neutral colours, which I adore: black, greys, white. They give limitless possibilities, depth, power. I play with shades and tend to use only a splash of colour. It’s a very intuitive movement, that comes naturally when I’m working on new pieces.
What inspires you on a daily basis and how does this play out in your work.
My main source of inspiration are my travels, photography and architecture. Different cultures, new people, new surroundings influence my collections the most. Any new country I go to I always try to visit and meet local artists. I travel to get lost. That’s where I find the most interesting and surprising art scenes, people, hidden buildings, stories, traces of history. It’s incredible to see how different surroundings and culture can can impact our work.
How do you envision the future role of the artist?
Nowadays, the internet gives us a massive opportunity to showcase our work. I grew my audience via Instagram, and as much as there are always pros and cons of everything in our life, I must admit it is an amazing channel for self-taught artists, like myself. Not only to gain exposure, but also to broaden our vision and knowledge about the art world. Although it must be used in clever way, and only when combine with real sentiment. Artists do and will speak through their art. They should use their voice, to encourage others, to educate, to communicate.
Your next show is in NYC- tell us a bit more about this collection?
In couple of weeks I will showing in NYC during The Other Art Fair for the second time. It’s is an amazing event, very well organised and presented by Saatchi Art. It gives huge exposure and the opportunity to meet artists and sell directly. It’s a great opportunity to talk about your art, meet collectors, curators and gallerists. I’ll be showing new paintings, that were created in Berlin, and very much inspired by the Berlin Art Scene. For an artist like, me, with no art education and only two years’ experience, showing in a city like New York can be very overwhelming and intimidating, but New Yorkers made me feel very welcome last time I exhibited there, so I cannot wait to do it again!
Where can one creep on your work?
My Instagram @Ewamatyja
My website here
And my Saatchi Profile here
Finally, if you could be summed up in one artwork- yours or another- which would it be and why?
You can find a bit of me in every single piece that I have ever created. One of my favourite paintings that could summarise me is one from the Shadows Collection Untitled, 3504. It combines softness, bold brush strokes, tells countless stories hidden in the small details, it shows struggle and at the same time enjoyment, it can give one goose bombs but it can also calm you down.