Ania Pawlik is a Polish fine art illustrator who has been working and living in London for the past 10 years. Her work focuses on imaginative storytelling questioning human existence; its fragility, its beauty, and uncanniness in front of nature, the world and the universe. You may quickly recognize her coffee-based artwork upon first glance, but there’s much more lurking beneath the surface in terms of what Pawlik has created in her years as an artist. Many of her pieces make you feel as though you’re staring into another world, or as though you’re getting a firsthand peek at what floating in the universe must feel like.
Ania’s work is a beautiful introduction, for any viewer, to a magical mix of coffee as an art medium and the universe as a theme. Just skimming through her artwork on Doodle Addicts gives you a good idea of not just how talented she is, but also the type of feeling she hopes to invoke with each piece she creates. At some point, most of us have looked up into the night sky searching for inspiration or out of just pure curiosity and wonder. Ania has embodied all of these emotions and filled her art to the brim with them. A beautiful example of this is her piece titled, “Pisces. Zodiacs and their Constellations.” It depicts a child character sitting on top of a planet, while holding a fishing rod that’s seemingly falling into the middle of the planet through an opening. It immediately invites a mix of feelings, ranging from admiration of the sheer talent to absolute fascination over what it presents.
In an effort to learn more about what drives Ania's work and how she came to be so well versed in such an uncommon medium, we got in touch with the artist herself! Keep reading to learn more about her art practice.
Interview with Ania Pawlik
Something we find to be really striking with your artwork is your consistent use of coffee, how did your use of a seemingly unconventional medium come to be?
My adventure with coffee started about 7 years ago (wow...already!) and it was kind of a happy accident, well, as I don't believe in accident I would say it simply meant to be. Back to those days I was a massive coffee drinker and always had a cup of coffee on my desk and by moving things around I clumsily (of course) dropped some coffee on my sketchbook. I left it to dry and one night I drew over it. I liked the colour and effect, so I decided to use it more often.
Through out many experiments with different types of coffee and paper I have created a good relationship with the medium, but even so from time to time I do take a break from it.
We’ve noticed, and really love, how you incorporate the cosmos and aspects of the universe throughout your art. What would you say fuelled your interest in creating these pieces?
It was the end of 2016, a chapter of my life when after long travelling around Europe I came back to London alone and with only £50 in my pocket. I was lucky to been given a bunch of a very good art materials via Freecycle (a website where people give unwanted things to others for free) as I had only one A5 sketchbook and my pencils case on me only. It was before Christmas time, so it was a truly a heart-warming present to received from a stranger, which included black and white ink, different sizes of sketchbooks and more (!!)
As a jobless person I had more time to create and without any expectation I simply took what I had available and draw and draw; 1-2 sketches a day. I always loved gazing at the night sky. Reading about cosmos and planets, mythology from different lands and cultures as well as adventures and travelling stories that time were (and still are) one of my favourite source of escape. To be honest the use of the theme of the universe came so naturally that I can not even recall its beginning properly...hehehe.
I'm presuming I was in the right place and state of mind to visualise some hidden ideas, which were longing inside of me... But I do remember very well the feeling of curiosity and excitement each time I was filing up another page of my little sketchbook, my journal. Also receiving lots of positive responds from friends and people on social media did encourage me to explore this themes more far and dipper.
Besides coffee, what are some of your favourite art tools you use when creating your art?
I love working with acrylic ink, but during the quarantine time I have finally more time and energy to explore other mediums and techniques such as colour pencils, gouache and lino cut (still haven't shared much work in this matter). I am a co-funder of a project called the Gallery on Wheels and in our studio, we do screen printing, so I also try to experiment with it as much as possible.
Since high school I love different printing techniques its different textures and how something traditional can be used to express more contemporary ideas. I really want to experiment with it more in my sketchbooks and on a bigger format.
What other things, aside from art, inspire you?
To be honest everything, and it is always changing depends on my life circumstances or even the season. At the moments I do focus more on my well-being; doing yoga, meditation, gardening, cooking and reading. Either way music was always the trigger for my inspirations, so I am listening and discovering more of it these days. Books and movies are another sources of inspirations.
Travelling, seeing new places, knowing different people, their culture and their habits and everyday rituals fascinating me and truly can't wait to be able to travel again! Furthermore I love nature and for me Mother Nature is so full of inspirations of beauty and ugliness, all balanced together. Gardening is not only relaxing me, but also opening my imagination to lots of info... sometimes it can be very overwhelming …!
What does being an artist mean to you?
Being an artist means to me to be able to create and express yourself, but not only in the field of art. It is a constant journey of research into life and yourself, questioning the world and looking for ways to express and find an answer.
Which artists on Doodle Addicts do you recommend everyone follow?
From the very beginning of my activity on the Doodle Addict (It was still called Doodlers Anonymous) community I really like Slavica's work, its playful combination of lines, marks and different textures composed around with her character's adventures.
My resent discovery is Inês Antunes and her lovely world of uncanny and minimalistic creaturs, situations and animals! I also recommended Kathrin Rödl as I am a big fan of travelling sketchbooks and Jon Carling's pencil work is worth checking out.