illustration & stories

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illustration, designer

state of occupation prints

  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Digital and Ink Illustration
  • Visual Design

This is a part of a larger body of work that has been exhibited from August – October 2013 as a peer-review, solo exhibition at Southern Connecticut State University Lyman Art Gallery, New Haven CT as well as "The Biennial Faculty Exhibition", Invitational Artist Exhibition McDonough Museum of Art in Youngstown, OH. through February 2012, in July – August 2011 in "Summer Stock", a peer-reviewed, invitational exhibition with three artists total at 1078 Gallery in Chico, CA., and a portion of the works were one exhibit from May –June 2010 as "Stories are Important", a juried solo exhibition at the Kendal Gallery, Iowa City, IA. You can view the website that houses the prints and animations.

My experiences as a first generation American from Polish immigrants and refugees is central to the dreamlike themes and textured stories I create. To tell my stories, I draw from years of graphic design background and a lifetime steeped in the rich, historical narratives I grew up with as a child. The most central stories are about life in a war torn region. The subject presents a challenge when trying to touch people on an emotional level. For decades, news and art have sought to present ever rising images and stories of horror to evoke the desired emotion about war from an increasingly desensitized audience. I have opted, instead, to strive for strong narrative and imagery meant to evoke compassion and empathy instead of horror or revulsion.

My family's history and experiences from Poland under Nazi occupation during WWII, as well as stories from the Soviet occupation after the war are strong undercurrents in this work. They deeply affect who I am and my view of the world. Their tales of immigrating to America during the Eisenhower Administration "Pinko" scare and their personal struggles contrast sharply with my life of comfort. Yet their memories are somehow infused with mine and mix with how I view the world.

My personal history and family stories reinforce for me a feeling that I am complicit as an oppressor, as the nation I call home occupies other world regions with my tax dollars, and perhaps too quiet protest, even while my ancestors‘ memories and a century of oppression under cruel regimes lives on through me. These conflicting feelings and historical connections emerge in the form of rich, textured stories, relayed in print, interactive design, and animation.

This body of work bloomed from my M.F.A. thesis at the University of Iowa