Natalia Rozmus-Esparza was born in 1983 in Poznan, she holds a Ph. D. in Fine Arts, and currently works as independent artist and designer, since 2005 Natalia has been an academic lecturer at University of Arts in Poznan, a member of university senate; since 2009 a member of the Swedish artists association 'Konstnärsföreningen Dymlingen' in Jönköping, represented by numerous galleries around the world; in 2015 she was awarded a medal for 'Young Positivist' for outstanding achievements in arts, choosen for Samsungs project 'The Frame' as one of 37 world's best emerging artists, as a laureate of many international painting competitions; her paintings are in private collections in Europe, China and USA but also in state collections at Landstinget Jönköping and Kultur Jönköping Kommun in Sweden.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I’ve noticed that ever since I was a little girl my memories are a bit different from all the others. I don’t remember the faces of my childhood friends but what I do remember are beautifully designed architecture or a scenic view, that I was really impressed with. I don’t remember the moment of “oblivion” to become an artist. Since, I always liked to draw or paint, I figured- why not give it a try? As I got involved around the concept, I got more and more interested in it. So I passed the exams to study at the University of Arts and during those studies I realized that “art” is my whole life. Now I cannot imagine doing anything else...
How would you describe your own personal style?
I always say that I’m constructing my world by connecting lines and dots. To me, there are no borders between arts. So I’m designing a conscious creative path constructed of architecture, design, drawings and paintings, in as many ways as possible.
My style is influenced mostly by architecture. I could say that, before I approach each canvas, I’m designing it’s construction. As I also like to play with textures, I’m often sewing my own canvases so they would fit perfectly with the subject that I’m about to work on. Then it’s about the coloring and layering of paint, handcrafted by my own special techniques. I’m taking more of a graphic approach, which is sort of, a reminiscence of my design background.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
My primary inspiration has always been architecture. I received my first master's degree in industrial design while, simultaneously, studying at the Painting Faculty. After 3 years, I received my second master's degree. Combining those two inspirations, I’ll always have more of a “designed” approach in my paintings. Although, my style is already unique and recognizable, there’s always room for more experimentation and development. I’m moving forward, one idea at a time so it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen next. That’s the excitement of new creations and ideas!
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
I love traveling! Traveling gives so many new perspectives and experience. I always choose different places to visit so that each time I'm able to see something new. Most, if not all, of my new collections are primarily inspired by ideas, which are drawn from all of my seen places and architecture. I’m always taking many photos and then the transformation begins on canvases in my studio. So, my pieces are mostly defined as a reflection of memories and how I’ve perceived those visited places.
Are there any particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
I admire many artists! The earliest inspirations were Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and a photographer Spencer Tunick. For sure, along the way I’d have to thank my professors at the University for encouraging and pushing me in developing my own individual style. I’ll also keep in my heart my dear Dutch friend and brilliant artist Paul, who recently passed away. He was very supportive of me, I'll always remember his kind words and the many ideas that we both exchanged. Regrettably, we never had a chance to have an exhibition together.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I mostly work in oil and acrylic paint. For sure I’ve my favorite kind of brushes but I love to use spatulas or sponges. Usually, I continue to develop my own style or just try out a few new techniques - to be inventive, it requires a considerable amount of creative process. All the charm and uniqueness of a perfect piece is in the details!
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Certainly, my architecture and design background, but sometimes I’ve other inspirations- like music, typography or even star constellations. Each idea has a different approach but if you look closely, you’ll still see the same person behind it.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
I never make sketches before I start to paint! Never did and it was always an inconvenience when someone was asking me to do one;) an architectural sketch for me is my photography. It involves capturing the right moment, in order to take a specific type of frame, that’s why I never work with someone else’s photos. While, I’m traveling, I search for unique “framing” views with my camera and that is the beginning of my work process. When I look at a picture, I can see an idea of what I want to make out of it, but of course it’s always a work in progress. Sometimes the outcome may end up being different from the initial approach.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
I would say I’ve a weekly schedule. I’m running a Bionics studio at the University twice a week for my first year design students. Then every other day of the week I try to spend time in my studio, immersed in ideas and being in a full mode of inspiration. When I’m not in the studio, I’m doing a lot of paperwork, updating profiles, making projects, researching competitions, and cooperation opportunities. I also enjoy sports, books, movies, and good food - and I like doing those activities at any point of the day. Also, equally important is the time spent for socializing. I cannot imagine doing all of that without the support of my partner or friends and family.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
Definitely multiple pieces! I’m always working on an entire collection or a set of paintings/ drawings.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
I’m experimenting a lot. During my studies the professors were often annoyed that I wasn’t sticking to one style or subject. But I always wanted to explore more! From realism till abstract through different mediums. And up till now it’s all coming together. Every experience has a meaning and relevance for further development. If something doesn’t work in one piece - it doesn’t mean it won’t work in another!
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
All of them… I put my heart and soul in each piece and I’m happy to see that other people enjoy my pieces. But I’m super proud of all the pieces that found their owners on the opposite side of the world, like in USA or Hong Kong.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
There are many but I’ll say Hugo Silva. I’ve been admiring his style for years and two years ago, we finally got a chance to meet because we both were taking part in the same art event. And, It was funny, I didn’t even have to introduce myself! He knew who I was because he is also following my art. We have embraced each other like old friends and had such a pleasant conversation that time just flew by. He’s truly a kind person and a fantastic painter. I’m glad I had a chance to know him in person and hopefully we’ll have more opportunities to meet each other in the future.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
I guess it would have to be Art Nouveau. I just love the level of detail! Or impressionism - mostly because I would like to meet a few artists of that period.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
It seems like everything’s been done already. It’s even hard to shock the audience! You can have exceptional skills and workshop, the best website and portfolio, even all the social media profiles. But, it still might not be enough “to be noticed”. We’re not only creators - we have to do our own marketing. For many artists, it’s a big challenge, not mentioning that it’s time consuming. Time that we would gladly spend in the studio...
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Remember that “talent” is only 1% of your success. The other 99% is hard work, which you have to do to become a master. But I guarantee- it’s very satisfying work when you’re following your dreams.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
Realism. When someone can create a piece of art, let's say a depiction of a dog, so realistic, that you can almost reach out and pet it then, I really cannot help myself but stare at the techniques for hours! I’m a patient person and I’m spending a lot of time in my studio but I’m more of an expressive painter. So, when it comes to realism, it's an exceptional level of focus.
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci labored away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, are your works in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
Of course, one always wonders. And, right now when I do look back at some of the pieces, I would do them differently. But, differently doesn’t always mean better! I would say that, every level of our learning experience is important and the pieces, which were created during that period of time, are considered good. Some might say that paintings are never “done” and you can always change something. Which is true. But I usually stop at a point when I'm fully satisfied and have a good feeling that the painting isn’t missing anything. But, when someone asks me: how much time does it take to create a piece like that? I answer: My whole life.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expressing your creative nature?
Surely, art can be one of many mediums for pointing out a particular issue. I’m aware of what’s happening around me but I leave it alone because I believe that there are artists who are more capable of doing that than myself.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m always working on a few things at a time. For now, I'm focused on two collections. The first one is about European architecture and the second is a collection, which is inspired by Israel and Jordan - and it's more ephemeral... I’m also thinking of many new ways to express and visualize my latest trip around USA.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
Since 2009, I’m the only representative from Poland in Konstnärsföreningen Dymlingen in Sweden. A huge benefit for that group is that, each of us is representing an individual style and having an opportunity for the exchange of experiences is just priceless.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where is it?
I’m preparing a collection of new oil paintings for the solo exhibition “Italian style”. The grand opening is going to be on 18th October 2019 at Next Sztuki Gallery in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Obviously inspired mostly by Italian architecture and landscapes, such as: Como lake, Milan, Cinque Terre, Manarola... You’re all welcome to stop by and have a chat at the gallery! If not - don’t hesitate to follow me online.