Małgorzata Karp-Soja: Discovering he Esteemed Painter
Today we will discover the work of Małgorzata Karp-Soja, an esteemed artist hailing from Krakow, Poland. Since 1997, she has painted oil painting and pastels. She graduated from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, and received her diploma under Professor Maria Ostaszewska in 1992.
Her works are in both museums and private collections across the world, including in Poland, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Mexico, Germany and China. Karp-Soja has also been awarded the “Presidential Award” at the 7th International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Florence and the Medal of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts in Krakow.
Her paintings often resemble stills from a film set, as she is heavily inspired by her experience in film as an assistant director for set design in the production of the film “Szwejk” directed by Włodzimierz Gawroński. Additionally, in some works, there are noticeable echoes of fascination with the works of Federico Fellini. Małgorzata also created a number of works reminiscent of contact prints with the frame of a film or photographic tape.
Malgorzata is a member of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. She presented her works at over 150 individual and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Her works can be found in private and museum collections in Poland, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, USA, Mexico and China.
Małgorzata Karp-Soja Joins Styylish for an Exclusive Interview
Małgorzata joined Styylish for an exclusive interview to discuss her work, inspirations and what is next for her!
Can you tell me about your background as an artist and how you started painting?
I always knew that I wanted to create art, that this is the way I wanted to express myself, my emotions, how I perceive the world around me, but also the worlds that are inside me, in my imagination. Apparently I started painting earlier than speaking, and that’s why I decided to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and became a professional painter.
What motivates and inspires you to create art? Are there specific themes or ideas that drive your work?
My motivation and inspiration is both the world around me and the one inside my head, my travels (into both worlds), and my husband. As for the topics, I am particularly attracted to figurative painting, French fin de siecle, theater, circus and, in general, stage art created in direct contact with the public. Each of my paintings carries a story, and a history. I have so much to tell that I don’t waste time on purely decorative painting.
I notice that most of your work on Styylish is with oil painting. How would you describe your artistic style and the techniques you use in your paintings?
It’s very simple – I love oil on canvas. I love the smell of oil paint, the texture, the way it is on the canvas. But also for endless possibilities and extraordinary durability. When I buy a tube of new oil paint, I always open it, look at the color carefully, smell it and finally rub a little between my fingers, because to become familiar with a new color I have to feel it with almost all my senses (except taste). Sometimes – to relax, or while traveling or on vacation – I use acrylic on special paper.
As for the style, I think it is clear, easily recognizable and unique at the same time. I already had a certain group of followers, but in general I will say that I don’t know another painter who paints like me. If you know some of my works, you will recognize my style even at the largest collective exhibition!
Do you have any favorite artists or artistic movements that have influenced your work?
Well, as a student I was fascinated with Polish art from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries (called “Young Poland”) and some French painters of the fin de siecle era. Reviewers and critics sometimes find in my art echoes of the works of Chaim Soutin, Marc Chagall, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, James Ensor or even the Japanese art of ukiyo-e, but these are not conscious borrowings, rather things which stuck somewhere in the subconscious, left over from my education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, my scholarships in Italy or visiting numerous galleries and museums, mainly in Paris.
Several of your pieces on Styylish feature the color red and a “checkerboard” floor pattern. Is there a significance of the color and pattern? What inspired it?
These are two different issues.
I had to grow up to red colour. It’s a difficult and non-obvious color, I avoided it for many years. I focused on blue and gray, until it was the right time for red. This red came largely from my emotions. From love, but also from the courage and self-confidence that I gained with experience and international recognition.
As for the chessboard, it is a graphic expression of the fact that our lives and our world are a constant series of choices and decisions, their consequences, and subsequent choices and decisions that lead us to winning or losing. Our lives simply take place on a chessboard and a lot depends on whether we manage to be a pawn or a queen on it. And in addition, the chessboard is black and white, which on the one hand simply looks good, and on the other hand, it is how our choices should be, because I really don’t like grayish zones in my life.
Do you have a favorite piece of your own work? If so, could you tell us the story behind it and what makes it special to you?
I think that such a work is “The Great Animator”, a polyptych consisting of 9 works. It tells a story of The Great Animator. He has the unique power of bringing to life puppets that turn into conscious human beings. This act resembles the divine act of creating life, only this time it takes place on the stage of a theater. However, it should be noted that the Animator is selective and therefore not all puppets pass the test and leave the stage as living, conscious characters. The painting received a distinction at the 5th Beijing International Art Biennial in in 2012.
Many artists find that their work evolves over time. How has your painting style or subject matter changed or developed throughout your career?
My art, my emotions and my view of the world are evolving, so my palette is also refreshed in some way. As written in one of the critical reviews by prof. Stanisław Tabisz, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow:
“Perhaps the changing season has such a revitalizing effects on the artist. Or maybe something important has happened to her life to brighten her palette, enhance contrasts and make her stokes more confident and more precise. While her visions, scenes, views or impressions are sketched in a hasty and synthetic fashion, the artist still strives to preserve the original and spontaneity and freshness. The lines blend with dynamic pathes (using scumble effects or covering techniques). This makes Małgorzata Karp-Soja’s works more picturesque, while at the same time atmospheric, due to the quality of the colours (…).”
What emotions or messages do you aim to convey through your paintings?
It is impossible to answer this question because each of my paintings carries different emotions and a different story. We can talk about a few specific ones, but I just can’t generalize it…
Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions? Or any future directions in your art that you’d like to discuss or share with your audience?
Oh yes, I always plan a few moves ahead on my creative chessboard. The plan for 2024 includes several prestigious projects – the first of them is a huge exhibition at the Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, where I will present my works in all three foyers (the Philharmonic has agreed to offer this entire space to one artist for the first time!), then I will show my works in the theater gallery in Lublin, and then in the internationally renowned Center for Theater Practices in Gardzienice, which is considered as an experimental anthropological theater, implementing numerous research, artistic, musical and cultural projects in the field of broadly understood humanities.
Add a Małgorzata Karp-Soja Piece to Your Collection
Styylish is proud to feature several Małgorzata Karp-Soja’s oil paintings for sale online. Her paintings are incredibly intricate and thought-provoking, and would be an excellent addition to any home collection. You can browse through an incredible selection of her pieces today on Styylish.com.