MyRankArt: Can you introduce yourself in a few words to our readers?
Grazyna Perl: I am Polish born American living in Paris.
I paint, I write poems, teach Zen and have a guest’s house to keep my family fed. I am a window and have two grown up sons. Also artist.
Do you practice painting as a hobby or as a professional?
I had art in my heart since I remember. My hands practiced it since the same time. I really do not know what makes an artist a professional one ;-) I did some illustration, some posters and logos, but it was not my call. I sometimes show and sometimes sell. I love to create.
Can you tell us more about the professional and/or artistic path that has made you and artist?
I think I WAS made an artist in the womb, but the official path was a bumpy one. In Poland I fail the exams to art high school because of mathematics, although the grades for artistic subjects were good. I started at some point a small fashion design business and was quite successful in Poland. When I moved to USA I started to paint and to show, to take part in competitions and I might say, the artistique carrier started then. I also attended courses in Rhode Island School of Design (children book illustration) but I never completed the formal education. In a way I do not regret, I think that decision made me the artist I am now.
Why did you choose painting as your way of expression yourself rather than another one? What triggered it?
I started with linocut printing, but I lacked the colors, so I started filling them with colors. The lines seemed too brut, too shabby - I guess - I wasn’t very good with that ;-))) So, I took the paints, the colors and the black ink and transformed my ideas into painting as they are now.
Do your life and its different stages have an influence on your art? In what way?
Yes, absolutely. Every event, every person, almost every step leaves mark of sentiments.
Everyone is precious and rich, and worth putting in shapes, or in words.
« When I Create »
I’m writing words, from the throat
From a dictionary not told
In the air that is right
I’m painting colors, from my eyes
From that shapeless mold
In the air that is right
I’m sitting beside me
In the secret hold
With the air, with mine,
With before me.
How would you define your work? What do you say about your work to someone who has never seen your paintings?
That is a very difficult task :-) When I say I use watercolor, everybody imagine light colors and blurry shapes, when I say ink people imagine graphics and then by the time I mention gold leafs, most are lost. Moreover, what I create is neither figurative, landscape, nor abstract, but one can find all of the elements there. One of my professors at RISD said that I created a new style, I liked that very much :-) My friends say “perlizm”, so maybe it will be the name that will define my style?
What prompted your choice of subject, technique and style?
The subject, well, it is almost always about woman. I’m one and it is natural to express everything through that image. Then, there is so much happening in the inside and outside Universe, than the choices of themes are all around, ready to be picked and put in lines and colors. I tried different techniques: drawing, printing, oil painting, acrylics and finally watercolor. However, I was not satisfied with the delicate effect when I used it as instructed. Sometimes it needs to be that way, but mostly I want strength. I use layers and layers of paint, so it gets the strength and deepness. The watercolor in tubes can be used very tick and give deep colors. With the outline and details in black ink, it becomes what I want. I add gold, silver or platinum leafs, to have the effect of fixing the mat with shiny, the fine lines with patches of free flowing watercolor, all that expresses what is on my mind.
In general, what has an influence on your art? (other painters, the cinema, music, literature…)
I can say that everything influence my paintings. As I said before, there is so much going on: around and inside. What I try to do is to capture those moment, those thoughts, those feelings and sentiments.
I listen to music while creating, it triggers the brain cells :-) Very often it is Bjork, in her music there such a richness. But there are many other artists in the music universe that are my companions in the process of creating.
What is the starting point of a painting, the early stages of your work? (a sketch, an image, chance, pure imagination, a little of this, a little of that?)
I start with an idea, or a shadow of an idea. Something what triggered my imagination. Then I draw. While drawing, the idea takes shape in my mind and it becomes a sketch. Similar process is happening when I paint. It is as if the colors are asking another to be matched with. Then comes the ink to complete everything with lines and details, then the gold to bring light where it’s needed. Very often, what comes at the end of the process is completely different from the idea that it was born from.
According to you, when does a painter, a photographer, a musician... become an artist?
Frankly, I believe that one IS, or is NOT an artist. One cannot become one :-) The education and practice is important in shaping, polishing and perfecting the art inside, but the seed IS there or is NOT.
Can you tell us about the exhibition of another artist that has left a special mark on you?
There are few artists, some are my friends, that I admire and each time I see they work, I have strong feelings. From the old masters it would be Chagall. However, more artists astound me.
Artistically speaking, is there a dream you haven’t fulfilled yet?
Oh yes, creating a masterpiece!
Tell us more about your current artistic occupations? What are your artistic projects?
As I mostly retired from a business, I became full time artist and a full time dog walker :-) I have two Huskies. I recently show in Poland mostly and am now preparing an exhibition for this summer, in an old town hall in Gdansk. I have a project to have one in Warsaw as well.
To give our readers a general idea of our artists, I like to ask our guests the « desert island » questions. If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you take with you?
Probably I will take a good knife and will learn to sculpt :-)
When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming as an adult?
An artist, of course :-)