Ewelina Koszykowski (formerly Ewelina Ferruso) has just burst on the scene with incredible works of surreal textured juxtapositions and childlike wonderment. Her works are very detailed, one thinks they must be huge, yet in person they are surprisingly small. Tiny brushworks in minute applications portray feminine discourses on our modern world’s misplaced spirituality. Iconic painted ponies, giraffes and Barbies tumble and frolic thru her dark fairyland of ying and yang. Surreal heaven and hell contrast with environmental reality and gardens of childhood innocence. She just ended her first solo show at Last Rites Gallery in New York and has these fun bits to share with us.
Can you tell us where you were born and a little history about your childhood?
I was born in Wroclaw, a city on the southwestern border of Poland hugging Germany. It is a picturesque place, typical to most other quaint downtown European cities. It is the flavor of hot, hearty soups with a dash of pepper, homemade kielbasas, pickled everything and always served with freshly baked bread smothered with lard. My mother, brother and I immigrated to the United States when I was just 3 years of age in order to reunite with my father who had already made his way to the west, years earlier. He left his native country to make a better life for his family, a life far from communism, to live the American dream. We arrived at La Guardia in furs and all of our money was stashed away in my right bootie. Growing up in Mahwah NJ, I spent much of my time in the imaginary spaces of my mind and playing on bright white pieces of paper.
Is there an event or experience that really moved or impacted you?
My father always says, “Inkoosh (my Polish nickname), you workem hard, you be successful.” This is the one statement that will be with me for all of my life and has formed who I am today.
What was first piece of art that you remember creating?
In kindergarten, I won a watch in an art contest. I drew a Christmas scene with Mary and Jesus in the manger in colored pencil. Art was with me for as long as I can remember.
What generally inspires you to create a piece?
What inspires me to create a piece is always morphing. But, I believe it is routed in a sweet and sour combination of the stuff of beauty, raw cacao, dreams and nightmares, meditations, the pursuit of imperfection, the ideals of spiritual evolution and a general curiosity about myself.
If there was an artist, dead or alive, that you could spend 24 hours with; who would it be and what would you do?
I often daydream that Salvador Dali and Gala are sharing some space and time with me in my studio. We drink tea from wildflowers we picked during a Spanish sunrise on dangerous cliff sides and carry on long and pointless conversations. Dali is quite critical of my work as he is his own, but none the less, encourages me to continue on my quest… to make life art.
What materials, specific brand of paint/glue/pencil do you prefer to use? A favorite? And why?
My canvases are rich in oil and I aim to make them radiant in color and texture as well. Each texture is applied individually with the help of impasto medium to resemble energetic candies or edible fireworks. I have the bad habit of using small paint brushes too often and creating monstrous things that thrive to munch on time. So, the vicinity of my easel is often similar to that of a black hole, sucking me into another realm for countless hours. I do not recommend this of course. One must have an issue with insanity to enjoy that sort of process.
A specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise?
If I listened to my own professional advice, it would consist of two statements… make art that is easy, and art that is fun all of the time. But be aware that some things that are easy, are not worth pursuing.
What is your favorite word?
Last song you chose to listen to?
If I am honest, my favorite word is “plop” because it always makes me laugh. If I am articulate, my favorite word is “wombifest“, which was developed by my dear friend and muse, Caroline Grace. The latest song that I listened to was Die Antwoords “Ninja”. There is a certain balance of yin and yang in that tune.
Do you have some learning experience, good or bad, you could share involving dealing with a gallery? Advice you could pass on to other artists that might be relevant?
When it comes to dealing with galleries, never underestimate the element of surprise and the strength of confidence. Always be conscious of deadlines. Most importantly, never disappoint oneself.
If you could pick one piece of art to own, out of the world’s museums, personal collections and galleries, what would it be?
Back to the topic of Dali, it would be to my benefit to own an original. It would also be impossible to pick a favorite painting from his massive collection. I am drawn to his works which include Gala. In general, his fascination with her subject matter is endearing. One piece entitled “Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina“ an oil on canvas dated 1952, depicts a certain superwoman in Gala, who is shrouded in cubist mystery and adorned in the contrast of ochres and ultramarines. Dali has the uncanny ability to fill a space with a massive wonderment and masterful technique. He is able to put all of his visions in front of a captivated audience like no other.
Of all your works, what is your own personal favorite?
What was the thought or vision behind the work?
As far as my own work is concerned, it is difficult now to speak of it after exploring the world of Dali. “Peace in the Garden” is a piece that is very dear to me because it describes a thought that I am often appreciative of. (below) The character is a spirit reflecting on itself in a sublime setting of wishing weeds and lotus blossoms. There is a study of the hand, suggesting the interest of what it will create. The textures are lush in hues of green and blue/green and green/yellow. Something harmonious is humming in that painting. My work is a flowing force. My new work exhibited in April at Last Rites Gallery brings light to an unspoken, intimate, and darker journey.
(This entry was originally posted on 6/7/10 )
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artist interview, barbie art, eclectix interview, Ewelina Ferruso, ewelina ferruso art, Ewelina Koszykowski, feminist art, flora and fauna, women artists, ying and yang art
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