Regan Hayward sits down with artist, Paulina Zaborska, as a part of a ongoing series of candid conversations with practicing artists.
Regan: Welcome everyone to Candid Conversations with visual artists brought to you by Beaux Arts Brampton. My name is Regan Hayward. I am the Managing Director and today I'm having a candid convo with visual artist Paulina Zaborska who is currently showcasing an acrylic painting of the wonderful Bob Marley in our Everything Beaux Exhibition that you have to be sure to check out online on our website. So Paulina, welcome!
Paulina: Thank you! Thanks, for having me.
Regan: Yeah, this is kind of cool, eh? That we can zoom it up through Covid and have a chat.
Paulina: Yeah, it's been wild!
Regan: It has, it has, yeah. So it's good to see you here! I thought we would maybe start our conversation off just in the general direction of your art practice and share with our viewers how you've got started with your acrylic paintings.
Regan: So how did that start, I know I have to share that you paint animals and wildlife as your primary subject for your painting! You [Paulina] have a very interesting background so I'm going to let you share it.
Paulina: I started drawing as a child, I've always drawn horses mostly. I love horses and then going into university I went into wildlife biology—so I went into science rather than art. I didn't have any time to paint, I didn't touch it for maybe five years or so and then I went to Tanzania for field study and it changes your life! Basically, it's the cradle of life and yeah I came home with all these beautiful photos of this incredible experience that I had and I didn't want it to end. I didn't know how to just stay in the moment, I ended up having children right after university and I couldn't continue on with that particular part of my life. I started painting all these beautiful photos I had been trying to—honestly trying to capture what I was feeling not what it was— but that feeling that had invoked me when I was looking at the scene. That was like this challenge that I kind of created for myself.
Regan: So I guess it was an organic evolution of sorts with your subject matter, is that fair to say?
Paulina: Oh definitely, yeah!
Regan: Really? So you started with horses and what was the other direction you went in with animals, would you say?
Paulina: Well because it was wildlife biology I really just—well what I wanted to do was observational studies. I really wanted to study hyenas in Maasai Mara. I love behavioural observation and because I couldn't really do that I kind of went into looking closer at the animals as a form of study for myself. It was a way I could kind of connect with both aspects of that world together for myself and create a full image, I guess.
Regan: Fascinating! So, what continues to inspire you?
Paulina: Animals! They always will— that's just a huge part of me. Horses as well right now though as I'm kind of starting to get to know myself better and grow up a little bit. I'm no longer as introverted as I used to be— where I'd be happy to just sit in a remote space by myself forever looking at animals. That's not really who I am anymore. I'm feeling a lot more confident about who I am as a person, getting to know what makes me who I am and I'm sure that I'm changing. As that's happening, I've noticed I've been kind of touching on different things in my art. That's why Bob Marley kind of evolved a little, he wasn't really my first human to paint but the first one I really enjoy doing. A lot had to be there too because that's just the spirit of Bob.
Regan: Absolutely, I loved your title for the piece.
Paulina: Natural Mystic, yeah, it's my favourite Bob song.
Regan: Natural Mystic—is it your favourite, yeah?
Paulina: My favourite—I love it, yeah!
Regan: Right on, beautiful, well the painting does it justice I think for sure.
Paulina: Thank you! Yeah, it's not really what it started as originally it was really abstract. Kind of abstract impressionist, a lot of finger painting, a lot of colours and energy. Yeah, that's how it started but it kind of turned into more of a realistic piece, more of a hyperrealism piece. I think due to Covid happening right after I started painting it, I kind of just wanted a bit more control over everything. That's why I kind of do realistic paintings, to capture a little bit of control in my life where there's chaos everywhere else.
Regan: Yeah, what a method! What a method! Right—so what is it that you're working on now, do you have any particular pieces that I can share? I do know that you take your artistic skills into different directions with respect to your practice. So you have to share with us what that is!
Paulina: Yeah! So I'm working on one big acrylic piece right now, it's called Vixen—Vixen Rising and it's huge!
Regan: How big is huge?
Paulina: You know, I don't even know, possibly like around 46 inches by something I'm not sure. About as big as that bear painting over there! I think, yeah, it's quite large actually it's merging my realism with my textured style. I do two very different styles and again I do the textured stuff when there's too much control going on in my life and I need to let go, so it bounces back and forth but this one is starting off very textured. It's built up with modelling paste down to the feather and like the fire and everything. As I go, I create more hyperrealism within that texture, it's a challenge for me but it's going to be fun. On top of that, I've started tattooing so that's been a journey.
Regan: How's that going?
Paulina: It's amazing, It's everything I think I wanted to do!
Regan: Oh, wonderful!
Paulina: Yeah, it's helping me connect with people rather than being recluse in the forest and hearing their journeys—definitely it's having me look outside the box and try things that I wouldn't normally try. It's helping me grow as an artist too, I'm appreciative of all those opportunities and the trust people have in me to do that. I love it!
Regan: Do you? That's excellent. Alright, good because I wanted to also explore what your plans were for your future with your artistic career. So would you say, it's still a blend of both or do you see yourself leaning more towards tattoo art—what does it look like for you?
Paulina: Yeah, I'm definitely going to keep painting because I have to—I can't not! I think it's going to be one or two big pieces per year as opposed to creating smaller pieces because those small ones are now the tattoos. They're the daily designs that I get to work on but those big pieces are a reflection of me more so without anybody's else's input. I will keep doing that but in the long run what I really want to do is travel and do guest spots all over the world and finally be able to do that—hopefully because Covid.
Regan: We will get back to something other than lockdown I'm sure in the time ahead.
Paulina: Let's hope so!
Regan: It is, it is, very much! Do you find that you're— I guess you're deep in art practice through to covid—as you've shared the painting from this exhibition that Natural Mystic came out of Covid. The Vixen—is that what you're working on currently?
Paulina: Yeah, yeah I mean it's been sitting in a corner for a bit as I've been working on a lot of designs for clients but it just sits there—it's looking at me everyday—I see it—I see it.
Paulina: Yeah, I see exactly what it's going to be. I'm sure it'll be amazing.
Regan: Yeah, you're like—I think it was Michael Angelo who said he saw the sculpture in the brick and he craved it until he had a phrase, is that kind of how it feels?
Paulina: That's amazing, I love that, yeah, especially using the modelling paste and craving out—yeah that's a great way to put it.
Regan: Excellent, so we must share on our wrap-up here how our viewers can find you online so they can check out your work beyond the Everything Beaux expedition on our website. How can they find you on your website— or online I should say.
Paulina: I do have a website—I have PaulinaZaborska.com but I think the best way to find me is on Instagram. It's the most recent—I share stories, I'm not on there everyday though. It's @zaborskaart.
Regan: And Zaborska, spell that for us?
Paulina: It's Z-a-b-o-r-s-k-a then art, a-r-t.
Regan: Awesome! Thank you, thank you, Paulina this has been fun!
Paulina: Yeah, thank you very much!