A new book here features six years of selected works from a Polish graffiti writer, muralist, and professor of art and painting at a secondary school in his hometown of Olsztyn, Poland. He reckons that his life is one of ‘Planned Freestyle,’ meaning that having structure imposed upon him is very helpful in focusing his creative mind. You may quickly appreciate this characterization if you know any artists.
The collection of selected works here by Bartek Swiatecki is as luminous and optically rewarding to the viewer as they are opaque to the mind and stirring to the heart. With prolific and gently evolving abstractions in movement, you can see an artist at work, at play, and at his personal best – topping his previous work. The grandson of another painter and professor (of philology), Miroslaw Swiatecki, and the nephew of a famous painter and animator, Marek Swiatecki, perhaps it was only a matter of time before this 90s graffiti writer moved into more formal practices on canvas and walls.
In an in-depth interview, Pener reveals his sometimes complex feelings about the label of street artist, almost as if it diminishes his abilities and craft.
“Almost all of my friends I paint with are graduates of art faculties at universities or academies; most of them are architects or graphic designers,” he says. “Each of us works hard, so I get angry sometimes when we are labeled street artists because it is a huge simplification.”
The sentiment rings true, although we have never had anything but respect for street artists, regardless of their formal training. We witness a struggle for definitions at nearly every juncture along this graffiti/street art/fine art/mural art/contemporary art continuum.
In the end, the work speaks for itself, as this book can attest.
Bartek Swiatecki / Pener. Selected Works 15 – 21. Printed in Poland © Bartek Swiatecki
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