16 Moments of Ania Swiatlowska

17 May 2018 text Violeta Ivanova
In short, she's a graphic designer whose work is mostly focused in culture and whose clients range from gigantic brands to Polish institutions. Otherwise she's a Doctor of Fine Arts at Complutense University of Madrid, resident artist at the School of Visual Arts in New York, lecturer at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw, where she runs a graphic design seminar, and, since 2013, an art director at the Museum of Warsaw.

Her first job there was to drag the place into the 21st century by developing and implementing a fresh new visual identity system. On 26 May Ania will take part in the Typofest in Plovdiv to talk about the process. That's how we stumbled upon her and why we wanted to say "Hello". To which she responds by teaching us a new word (ambidextrous anyone?), adding an awesome new r'n'b artist to our sensual playlist and forcing us to extend the usual 7 Moments in this rubric to 16 - because her answers are that good.

The moment as a kid when you thought you’d become a…
My first dream job when I was a kid was kitchen help in a hospital. I observed these ladies while visiting my father in the hospital where he worked as a doctor, and I thought that managing meals was the most powerful position one could imagine. As a teenager, of course I thought I would become a pop star. Then finally I realised I just basically loved to draw. That’s how it all began.

The moment you finally found your artistic style
I don’t recall finding my artistic style. I’m still searching! I am definitely tempted by everything that is geometrical, simple, clean, with sophisticated detail. I love great typography in graphic design.

The moment you discovered letters are also a form of art
I remember that moment very well. I was 6 years old and I watched my grandfather doing calligraphy. It was pretty amazing because he was ambidextrous and could do it with an amazing precision with both hands at the same time.

The moment that pushed you towards feminism
I guess my whole life was a big push towards feminism. Growing up in Poland puts you through lots of situations when you realise that gender matters and being born a woman is not the winning card. I remember myself as a kid being very sensitive to all kinds of injustice, inequality, discrimination, especially related to gender. Later, during my studies, I had very strong feminist tones in my artwork, even though I wasn’t so aware of this yet. It was more or less 8 years ago when I finally got to the point when I could consciously connect the dots.

The moment you look at a favourite artist’s work
Happily, I am over comparing myself to other artists, or other people in general. When I see a really stunning piece of art or design I usually think and say either “Wow”, “Oh” or “Damn you!”. I do not have a specific idol. I admire lots of artists, such as Katarzyna Kobro, Ewa Partum, Cy Twombly or Ana Mandieta.

The moment you became part of the Warsaw Museum
“Oh God! What is this place?” – seriously. That was the first time I had anything to do with a public, historical museum and I was deeply shocked with all the procedures, the work style, the people. The museum I entered 5 years ago doesn’t exist anymore. It has changed and modernized a lot since then. The best part of working there is the creative freedom, interesting culture-related projects, doing something I really believe in and the people. I work with an awesome team!

The moment you enter a different museum
I definitely have the “professional distortion”, I like to take a closer look to see how things are technologically made, I analyse the visual communication and way-finding in museums. The one that lately impressed me a lot was Rijskmuseum in Amsterdam. It is truly a piece of art.

The most recent moment when you stepped outside of your comfort zone
Going back to painting after almost 10 years’ break.

The moment you buy a piece of art for your home
I like clean walls, I don’t hang much stuff. The last artwork I got was an exchange for a logo design. It’s an abstract oil painting made by my client's father (who was an autodidact) in late 80’s. I truly and deeply love it.

The moment you fell in love with the grey colour
It definitely wasn’t love at first sight. Being raised in the socialist era when everything was literally grey, I didn’t really enjoy anything that was anywhere close to it. It was years later when I fully appreciated this beautiful, multidimensional colour.

The moment nothing goes right and you really need a break
I sleep. Yes, I’m THAT boring.

The moment you failed so hard, it was actually funny
Trying to get my hair straightened. And speaking of art, I would have to say that painting is an area where I mostly fail, yet can’t quit.

The moment of your life you’re most proud of so far
Making the most unreasonable decision to study art.

The future moment you’d love to flash forward to

The moment that gives you wings
Listening to Sabrina Claudio.

The moment that helps keep your feet on the ground
Being with my cats. They just don’t care about any of the stuff that makes me stressed.

Typofest will take place between 21 and 29 May in Sofia and Plovdiv
Program and tickets on typofest.bg


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