Igor Morski Interview
There is a strong surreal quality that borders on Dada aesthetics. How has surrealism influenced your work? What fascinates you about it?
Surrealizm? My surrealism has appeared a little bit by accident. For 20 years I have been working as a press illustrator. Most of this time I have been associated with the Polish weekly magazine “Wprost”. The beginning of cooperation with “Wprost” coincided with the decision by the publisher of this magazine to illustrate with only one type of illustration, based on photo manipulation. This, I must admit, made a great impression, because people were not familiar with Photoshop, and many illustrations were taken literally, as if what was shown in the illustration was really true. This was especially true of photomontages with politicians. The fact that since then I have worked on photographic material has caused realism to appear in my work. The mere fact of depicting everything upside down has made me a surrealist.
In your work you create combinations that are realistically impossible. Elements that would otherwise never been seen together in our world, intermingle in your art work. Could you explain what inspires that creativity?
Everyone has something else in mind. As for me, it is my part of the brain responsible for imagination which works the best. On the other hand, you can say that my brain works as humorous surrealist, and everything I see is immediately placed down in my own unique way, adding funny contexts, so that ideas actually come to me almost immediately. I do not need to spend too much time for them.
Work which I need to carry out, is somehow forcing me to a fast reaction. Typically, it lasts 24hours from the moment I get the text to the moment I have to present my work. It’s crazy pace, but the very good trade school. Most of my work was done in a maximum of 8 hours.
There are prominent and reoccurring themes in your work. For instance, a young trapped in a woman shaped cage, a man curls in fetal position inside a shell like casket of a grown man, skin is pinned unto a red head and a man’s face is composed of masks. Here the surface is not always what it appears to be. Could you elaborate on this theme? Are there others that you find yourself returning to?
Of course, I have always searched for clarity of vision. An Illustration in the press, has often served as a commentary on a text, for many it was even a substitute.
I have been looking for strong statements and expressions, but I have always shied from tabloid like presentation.
Another thing is that we Poles have quite specific sense of sensitivity. Wars and many other horrors that have flooded our country have made it acceptable for us a kind of narrative, difficult to accept elsewhere. I realized this when I once took a couple of excellent Polish posters to the Netherlands. For people who viewed them, they were scary. The artist placed, for example, as an allegory, a labyrinth of stairs in the human head, in Poland, people focused on the hidden meaning, the Dutch were drawing attention to the fact of head “mutilation”. They were interpreting this very literally.
What medium do you most often use? Why?
For many years my main software program was Photoshop and I did almost all my work using it. However, for three years, with growing fascination I have been using 3D programs such as: Zbrush and Modo these are fantastic tools that give unimaginable scope of control over the image.
Could you tell us a little bit about your artistic process?
Creative process, hmm. Due to the nature of the work topics come to me from the outside. In my head is formed an idea, but it sometimes happens that I have to carry out someone else’s ideas. An important element is the evaluation of the measures and their correlation with the time needed, and allocated budget for a particular project. However, usually, the time is a decisive factor as far as means are concerned. I am passionate about what I do, so the money is not the most important factor for me, sometimes I work “outside” budget i.e. I work for free. Time, however, cannot be stretched and the fact is that it actually decides on the choice of means and the method of implementation. In cooperation with the press it often means making reduction to the project to the point when it is be possible to complete it in a given time. To make things on time I have taken many short cuts but I have never been late.
Paradoxically, the problem arises when I do something non-commercial. Because of time excess I’m trying to adopt different approaches to the project, I want to do things better than the best, everything is coming apart over time and is never “finished to the end,” though I have already finished it . It is not often I tend to feel good about myself.
You have been described as an artist and graphic designer. Do you, yourself, make a distinction between the two? How do they differ?
The appropriate classification is an illustrator, but I also like: the image composer – as once Ryszard Horowitz described himself.
What are some of the advantages from your art school experiences compared to those outside of school?
The School was important, even though I was studying at a time when Polish society and political system were torn by many storms (early 80s), which coincided with, or rather, what was the cause of complete disintegration of then socialist economy in Poland. In other words, all of it caused that we were studying in depressing social atmosphere and in complete material poverty. Acquiring anything to work with was almost impossible. You could not buy any paint, tools, paper, or anything. Students were using glue made of flour for gluing old newspapers, which were painted over with some whitish material and then painted with whatever they could find: shoe polish, anti corrosive materials …anything. Inconceivable but true. However, to sum it up, it gave us incredible lesson.
Official Website: www.igor.morski.pl