I care about the appetizing factor
Sebastain Skoczylas interviewed by Bogusław Deptuła
– For you, what is the most important element in painting?
– The color, of course. And this means that all the other components of the painting are subject to it. The composition is rather supposed to emphasize the color and not to dominate it. I test the result particular color gamuts have on each other. The core here is what is created in between, this tension on the boundary of two color fields. And even though the paitings do not seem violent, there are some contrasts in them, for example where cool colors meet warm ones. Similarly with the texture, what is important is what arises at the boundary of smoother surfaces and rougher surfaces: that’s what I’m most interested in when it comes to the texture of paintings.
– Do you create the juxtapositions intuitively?
– Color-wise, yes. The composition is created in a conscious way, but the color is intuitive and undergoes many changes during the painting process..
– And do you sketch?
– I don’t; when I start working I have a rough idea in my head of what I want to accomplish, but that often changes during the painting process.
– The composition of the paintings is determined by formats…
– If I assume that a painting will be completed on a square support, this shape will dominate the composition completely.
– Why this pastel gamut?
–My painting has evolved out of landscapes and these hues are a derivative of nature contemplation. Far from realism though they are, they still originate from contact with actual landscapes.
– Your paintings usually consist of zones, is this also a result of nature contemplation?
– Yes, in nature various areas meet and interact, air with water or with earth. When I paint I think in terms of landscape.
– Yet, we can see in the painting a sort of frame, which means that you emphasize immediately that it is a conventional composition.
– For me the surface of the canvas is a space occupied by this landscape and the frame is there to give it conventional boundaries. This is how I designate the scope within which I work.
– Whose work is the most important to you?
– About halfway through my studies I started to experiment with color. I was influenced by the painting tradition of the university. The Wrocław milieu, Józef Hałas, whom I never met in person but whose work I have seen many times; Alfons Mazurkiewicz, although here the inspiration is less definite; and they went through changes, too. They were both abstractionists, but inspired by the real world, actual landscapes. Mazurkiewicz worked more with the texture, Hałas with signs. My own concept of paintings has beed established in a process of evolution.
– And by what other artists were you influenced?
– On a deeper level, by Impressionism, by Cézanne in terms of observing the world and using colors. By Rothko, of course, in seeking to juxtapse colors in a way that creates a new quality. Putting colors together in order to witness a synthesis.
– By means of large formats Rothko wanted to dissolve the viewer in color. But your compositions are not that sizeable, besides, in your work texture is important, in his – quite the contrary.
– I do not seek to fill my paintings with the passion you can see in his work, where the color is overflowing with intense emotions. My paintings are all pretty similar in terms of mood. I want them to be appetizing. I’d like the effect I achieve to attract the eye and to make viewers want to see, consume, absorb the paintings with their eyes, devour them; I want my work to be appetizing, I care about the appetizing factor.
– You have your favorite color gamut, but other tones appear in your paintings as well, more powerful, is that part of this appetizing factor?
– This gamut is intuitive; when I paint various colors come up, but then they disapear because it turns out that they do not “sit” in the painting. Contrasts are important, of course, but I use them in a very delicate way.
– You paint with acrylics, why did you choose this technique?
– For their practicality.
– Had you used oil, your work would have beed completely different…
– Probably, although I am really unable to picture that. My paintings are formed by many layers and waiting for each layer to dry, which is required when painting with oils, would make my work quite difficult. Texture is very important to me.
– If you had different work conditions would you create larger paintings?
– I don’t think so. I work with formats “graspable” for me. A while ago I tried using smaller ones. The paintings look different. For me the size determines the composition. The scale I usually use is perfect for me. Painting is also the evidence of physical acts, it records them.
– Are there ideas you haven’t carried out yet?
– I have a lot of ideas in my painting, some of them more successful than others, but at the end of the day I always return to the main current of my work. I am always looking for new gamuts, ones that have been unknown to me, ones I haven’t found before. I think I might start working with color in ceramics, i.e. obtaining desired color effects by combining particular glazes. I’m interested in chemical processes leading to create colors. It’s a lot like alchemy. I am also interested in color in design with which I work on a daily basis, but that’s another story.