Age: August 1983
Born: I was born in Brodnica but grew up in Gdynia, a port city on the Baltic coast in Poland.
How long have you lived in Vancouver? My family moved to the Port Coquitlam area in 1993 when I was 10 years old. I have lived in the city of Vancouver for eight years.
Occupations: Art has been a big part of my life; my high school art portfolio secured me a place at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Unable to afford the fees, I decided to study art and humanities at Simon Fraser University. Through my university years I worked a series of administrative positions in downtown Vancouver. After graduating I became a self-employed artist. For a while I worked as an artisanal plasterer using a hawk and trowel and creating decorative plaster and glaze finishes. I then started subcontracting for Gorman Studios, where I learned reverse painting on glass. My work as an artist consists of commissions ranging from landscapes, mixed media abstracts on canvas to gilded plaster. At the moment I am doing at lot of verre églomisé, which is a process where the backside of glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf. What particularly excites me is using materials that are not traditionally used such as glittery makeup shadows and acrylic mediums.
Passions and Interests: Art is my main passion. I strive to create art that has not been made before where the substance is stimulating conceptually as well as visually. I enjoy costuming and sewing. I have a weakness for black boots, especially platform boots. I also enjoy baking, cooking and domestic things when they are a choice not a chore. Bike rides clear my head and I always notice new things. One of my summer traditions is to go to a secret spot on the Sunshine Coast and build elaborate forts from driftwood and live in them on and off through the summer. I use my sense of imagination every day and one of my goals is to never lose my sense of curiousity.
What do people know you for? I am visually associated with my black garb and my black boots, known for being an artist and as Pazuzu’s mom. Pazuzu is a very unique cat that is well known to residents and businesses around the Main Street and 2nd Avenue area of Vancouver. Pazuzu roams the streets day and night making lots of friends.
Thoughts on Vancouver? It’s home more than any other place in the world; I particularly like the sense of community in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood where I live. There are lots of artists here taking the time to be creative. I love the seawall where I can cycle around the city and I really like Wreck Beach.
What makes Vancouver unique in Canada, and in the world? The fact we have mountains, water and a climate that allows for many outdoor activities. Vancouver seems a pretty liberal city compared to other major Canadian cities.
For the portrait of Noemi, I was inspired by her stories of roaming and exploring, whether it was the forests of Poland with its dark historical folklore, or BC’s Sunshine Coast. In contrast to Noemi’s daily urban life I thought the magnificent vista of Vancouver from the outlook on Cypress Mountain would be perfect. We decided to photograph at dawn as the sun rose, as Noemi often stays up all night working. Noemi dressed in one of her black outfits coupled with a pair of outstanding platform black boots from her collection.
Conversation & Portrait July 2014, Vancouver