If I had to write an artist bio I would simply say: I like to share what I see. I am an amateur poet, photographer, blogger and transmedia journalist. I started my art adventure in an old fashioned photo studio in my parents’ attic in Poland. My dad gave me a Practica camera and sent me out to use up a roll of film. I remember the magic of the black & white picture emerging on photo paper. I also remember him sitting down with me and talking me through the major mistakes in composition, light, action set up and the “why” of each photo. I enjoyed learning and so I learned from my mistakes. I was later upgraded to a Nikon and recently moved to Canon environment.
I was always a prominent writer. I wrote small novels and shelves of journals in my primary school. Later, in my secondary education, I moved to Gothic Literature and wrote a lot of gothic short stories. I experimented with writing in English as soon as I picked up the language from TV. I graduated in Polish, English and German which expanded my writing toolkit significantly. However, I found English most fluent and most expressive for my writing.
During my university years, I have considered moving to photography studies. I worked on a commission for the Central European University. My image was used on the cover of their publication, however, the second one was not suitable. I simply could not force myself to follow the brief despite a rewarding fee. I decided to keep my art as a unique form of my freedom and the expression of my worldview. I spend hours in gigs and art events donating my photo work to the organisers, as long as I had the freedom of how my work was delivered.
I also started writing poetry – pretty much in response to the tensions between my abusive mother and myself. Poetry was a perfect avenue to explore my intense feelings but also to document my complicated journey. Through my mutual friends, I was introduced to the Polish published in Budapest. My poetry was published in the Polish minority monthly but later remained primarily for my own use.
As my career moved closer to business and social media marketing, I continued working on my photography more as a hobby, a way of viewing patterns in the world. In 2016 I moved to the U.K. In 2017 I had my first photo exhibition in Oxford’s Jam Factory. My work was good enough and I simply paid for the exhibition space. This way I could maintain my freedom and show my work to a wider audience. I was in the middle of difficult separation from an abusive partner who shared the art space with me. I left him a week before the event opening. This first exhibition became a symbol of the highest act of courage and freedom, so I continued exhibiting.
As I became more steady, independent and newly, happily married, I moved to work in the charity sector to support people who came after me. I continued experimenting with technology and with the social web. The multilayered connections between offline and online spaces fascinated me. I was always a huge fan of postmodern movement so the new, digital age took it all to the next level with the option of transmedia storytelling. I re-activated the Polish group of Global Voices Online (citizen journalist network) and built it up to a self-sustainable level. I spent evenings blogging and reporting on events in my homeland. I participated in the European Blogging Competition and worked for MySociety in Eastern Europe. I also recorded a shift in my local town through the eyes of its citizens (Wantage Tales). More recently, I have started conducting audio interviews about a new aspect of digital – wellbeing and wellness (Cyber-Wellness Podcast).
I continue writing, reporting, taking photos and using other media as often as I can. I like smaller art projects to capture something of interest, but I keep art free of charge to maintain my own take on the results of my work. I occasionally do small portrait commissions for clients and friends who trust my work – if both parties agree on the nature of the work. I use my creative skills in my paid consultancy work – I deliver smaller or larger content campaigns there and sometimes do paid commission work, but outside of work I prefer to keep my work more spontaneous and free.
As my publisher once said: “We only happen to be writers”, and so I create when I feel the need to speak up.
2004 June – “Too Poor To Move, Too Poor To Stay” (front cover)
2007 June – Signs Joint Exhibition (blog post, photos on Flickr)
2008 May – Sea-Land Solo Exhibition (blog post, blog post, photos on Flickr)
2008 May – Oxford Castle Fair for Artweeks (blog post)
2009 May – Didcot Cornerstones Artweeks Joint Exhibition – all works sold out (blog post)
2008 October – joining Global Voices Online (English profile, Polish profile)
2009 May – Flowers Solo Exhibition (blog post, photos on Flickr)
2009 October – Made in Oxford Joint Exhibition (blog post, photo on Flickr)
2010 March – Shortlisted to join TH!NK3 Blogging Competition organised by the European Centre of Journalism (blog post, press article)
2010 December – initiating the Central and Eastern European blog for MySociety (first post)
2011 February – winning TH!NK3 blogging competition to travel to Kenya for a reporting trip, however, my trip was interrupted by the Egyptian Revolution (blog post)
2013 March – Landscapes Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2013 May – Wantage Artweeks Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2013 May – Ardington Artweeks Joint Exhibition (blog post)
2014 May – Wantage Artweeks Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2014 June – leaving Global Voices Online (last translated article)
2014 November – Wantage Tales at the Vale & Downland Museum Solo Exhibition and the first documentary screening at the Museum (full documentary)
2016 June – initiating and organising the first Vale & Downland Museum and Wantage Pixel Club LEGO® Exhibition (the first LEGO® exhibition in Wantage crowdsourcing LEGO® designs built mainly by children and young people and displayed at the local museum) – an estimated 1.5K people visited the exhibition in one weekend, the exhibition continues on an annual basis, 10K people visited it in 2018 (poster here)
2016 July – Wantage Summer Festival Digital Journalism Project – engaging young people in citizen journalist coverage of the local summer festival (blog post). The project was awarded the Town Council’s Community “Award for Community Service” in October 2016 (blog post). One of the participants was also awarded digital media Google Scholarship (press article).
2018 May – Cyber-Wellness Podcast (launch blog post)
Wantage Tales Documentary
Some of my past community and art projects:
‘Wantage Tales’ documentary – film maker
Wantage Summer Festival – Director
Barcamp Nonprofits (Oxford, London) – founder, initial organiser
Wantage Pixel Club – founder
My Little Coffee Blog – blogger
Global Voices Poland – reactivating Editor, Author
Bristol Allotment – blogger
OTR Community – Community Manager and Fundraiser
Inspirations from people I love:
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”Gertdue Stein
“Everything around us, dead or alive, in the eyes of a crazy photographer mysteriously takes on many variations, so that a seemingly dead object comes to life through light or by its surroundings. And if the photographer has a bit of sense in his head maybe he is able to capture some of this—and I suppose that’s lyricism.”Josef Sudek
“What is past is prologue.”William Shakespeare
“Do not overlook the little joys!”Herman Hesse
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”Paulo Coelho
“My shadow serves as the friend I crave.”Anna Akhmatova
“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.”Anne Rice
“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”Edgar Allan Poe
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”Georgia O’Keeffe
“In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”Alfred Stieglitz
“I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams.”Zdzisław Beksiński
“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”Ansel Adam
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”Annie Leibovitz
“Don’t pretend that you know something you don’t. Don’t create the appearance of fake authority. Speak about the things you really care about. I believe that the internet as an open platform for distribution could be a great chance for the diversity of film production.”Agnieszka Holland