interview with Natalia Rak | graffiti art | street stories 26/08/2013

 Hello Natalia Rak! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for readers. Please start by telling us something about yourself and how you got into art?

Since my childhood my manual skills have been growing. I graduated the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz years ago. I develop my skills in different directions such as screen printing, packaging design, poster design, corporate identity, comics, drawing, sculpture, but most of all I loved to paint.

Q: Who was the most inspiring person for you at the beginning?
A: From the first lesson of art history I was inspired by Jacek Malczewski. Later I got to know direction in art called Fauvism and I became interested in the combination of colors. Recently I got interested in Norman Rockwell's paintings, the way he showed emotion and the different situational scenes.

Q: How long are you into graffiti?
A: My boyfriend persuaded me to try. It was four years ago, the first time I held the can in my hand. It was a frustrating lesson of humility. In the next year I made my first woman's portrait. It looked great and for me It was easy work so I decided to paint using spray can as often as I get a chance.

Q: How did you learn the drawing skills? Do you have formal art training?
A: Since I remember I drew portraits using pencil and dry pastel. I was really good at it. I asked my family members to be my private models. And like I said I finished Secondary Art School and Academy of Fine Arts, so I have formal art training from ten years. It was eight hours drawing lessons in a week. But now If I don’t have to draw I don’t do these. I prefer to paint.

Q: Do you have any favorite graffiti style? How has your style developed over the years of experience?
A: I like different styles. I admire street artist's works such as: Rusl LoveLetters, Aryz, BomK, Interesni Kazki. Each one is different, very original and has a big imagination. My style that stands out as my work is a combination of vivid colors and the use of metaphors in the content of the mural. As for me, during those three years, each wall was the next step. Every time I learn something new. I have a few experiences and after that I can say that: I liked the large surfaces; I found a patent for a very minor detail; I hated brick walls; I liked use fluor colors cans. It's difficult to explain but after this experience I began to see how my style is creating by itself. I always paint something as long as I won’t say: “I like it”. It's not a problem to make mistakes. It’s problem when you see mistakes and you don’t correct it.

Q: I love your style, especially the expressive note in almost every design, the characters usually tells some stories and each of them have unique face expression. Philosophically and creativity, seems like you try to blur the boundaries between the popular media and your own perceptions. Can you relate your art with you, emotionally?
A: First thanks for your appreciation. My own emotions are important, but I never use them in paintings. By nature I am a realist looking hopefully to the future. Ideas for paintings come to me every ordinary day. The process of creation is so important to me that I focus all my energy on it. There is no place for sadness, anger. I focus on the positive emotions that give me the strength to work and I always say to myself: Never give up. I'm trying to pull away, cut my own emotions. I'm interested only in creating my own world on my paintings that will evoke emotion in the receiver, the observer. This is my intention.

Q: Do you feel overwhelmed by the mainstream? If so, what's the dumbest thing that drives you nuts?
A: Overall, I cannot say that it's driving me crazy. The more I give a fuck. Life is not fair. I try not to care about it and only focus to do my stuff. But I cannot understand how people without skills, ambition in getting these skills, showing only tits or new shoes can be a role model, and in general they are the object of interest. Too bad Mainstream does not support a truly talented people who simply just need "Kickstarter"(Kick the run up). Among other things, thanks mass culture growing group of morons.

Q: Have you ever thought to change your style or try to work on something completely different?
A: I thought so more than once before I sold the first canvas. Someone once told me that my style is not very recognizable. He told me that I should not be so illustrated in my work, that it will be better for me to paint the same theme all the time or do something more "artistic". But that's not my style. I'm not going to do shit just to get a sell. I won’t cut or burn canvas, splash paint on it to look more "artistic". I have got my own target and one life to do this. I want to be honest with myself. The artist life is winding and bumpy. It looks like talent marks you for your (whole) life. It's hard to give it up without casualties.

Q: Is there any particular message that people should read from your art?
A: There is no a particular message. I want only that people start to thinking about art and the world around them. I want inspire and delight them.

Q: What would be the "dream" piece you would love to work on and where would that be?
A: I dreamed to do a mural as big as four-storey building and I just finished painting my largest wall. I am satisfied with it. Now I can only wish to have more strength for doing even bigger wall in the next year. Thinking about place, I want travel to China and paint something there. I think Asian culture could be very inspiring for me.

Q: You love to travel and paint. How much does the current place helps you to get inspired? Where do you feel most comfortable?
A: Travel and painting is very exhaustive. Usually I only see the airport and the wall which I paint. The weather, the twelve-hour working on the lift or scaffolding are very tiring. In the evening, after dinner, I no longer have energy to explore the area. But anyway only thanks to the possibility to create street art I have the chance to travel, meet new people, artists and spread/ popularize my art. All of these new experiences and memories help my imagination and are very inspiring, although you cannot see their direct influence in the paintings. I always feel comfort where organizations ask me what more they can do for me. I feel comfortable when all the aspects such as: hotel, ordered paint, elevator, food; are ensured and I can focus only on my work.

Q: Most recently, X Games in Munich - a big, fantastic painting! WOW!! I'm truly impressed! What was the actual inspiration for that painting? Are you into extreme sports? How was the feeling to paint in front of so many people out there? Did you feel extra excited?
A: Painting was created on X Games Munich; it was my first co-operation with two other artists. Knowing our three different styles, we hit on an idea to make three different characters. My tiger was ready within two days. For me, it was fun using such kind of mix: spray cans, acrylic paints, dry brushes and markers. It is a very expressive work. I wanted to give this piece that energy and power which we felt during bike jumping. It was my first time when I saw this extreme sport. When I paint, I'm not nervous because of the crowds. It would be much worse if I had to say something in public.

X Games in Munich 2013

Q: What's the craziest thing that you've learned while traveling and new meeting people?
A: Do not eat too much before using extreme entertainment devices in the amusement park ;)

Q: As an artist, what are some of your greatest challenges or obstacles you face?
A: Every day, homework such as opening jars and carrying shopping is the responsibility of my man. Bringing three gallon buckets of paint on the fourth floor of the scaffolding and painting such a large area is hard for workmen. For me as a woman all these works are not easy to do. Sometimes when I feel like a little girl, I wish I could be a big strong guy. Sometimes I feel the muscles which existence I did not even know.

Q: What's your best motivational lesson for the new artists?
A: For me, the best motivation is always to see progress on the next canvas. I hope, thanks my developing skills and with a little luck, I will be in the future one of the best artists of my generation. I've never seen myself in any other profession. When I'm painting I feel satisfied. If you have the same thoughts, the same feelings, even if you are a beginner, it doesn't matter. Do you want to have a lot of money or just be poor artist? Is art so important for you? What you feel inside and how your life will look depends on you. That's all my motivations. Be persistent!:)

Please feel free to share your feature plans and your website.
If all goes well I’m going to make two walls In September. I think it will be the last work in this year. Next year I hope we (me and my boyfriend) will start in Lagos because we hate polish winter. I like changing for good way. It will be awaited holiday time for us.

Let’s see my fan page:
and deviantart: