How did you first get involved in art?
[This is] my "English version of happening." After all, English is my fourth language.
Unfortunately, I do not have "Movie Screenplay Friendly" story about my first involvement in art. As a young man, I went wherever beautiful girls were present; so, Acting Class, run by amazing teacher Kristina Hencz was my first choice. We quickly find out that I simply.... suck. Dustin Hoffman do[es] not have to worry. I took a pick [on] the other side of this same building and painting & drawing class occurred [to me] as not a bad choice. I found [a] few great friends and that... I can use my imagination with the connection of colors and forms. I can paint and draw! Hooray!
Then things went quickly forward. I won state Art History Olympic and qualif[ied] to the National Final. Not bad! There I was introduced to the high quality National Collection and [a] bunch of incredible, smart people. The entire establishment of art professors worked with us for quite a long time; then,[we had] terrifying, week-long exams [for] the great Strzeminski Art Academy - where 320 young dreamers fought for seventeen available spots. Seven years later, I went to the mainstream with Masters Degree of Lithography, Painting and Graphic Design [from the Academy]. We were lucky to be under [the] jurisdiction of many brilliant minds; Composition, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, and Typography were run by the Professors and PhDs of world caliber. It took us another 15 to 20 years to fully understand what they tried to tell us.... I am still learning.
I strongly believe that all arts are connected; as such, when one possess[es a] foundation of Art, [they] may try different fields. I worked as set designer in Musical Theater and Motion Pictures. I wrote and directed two stage play dramas. [I also wrote] quite a few short stories and poems. Yes, Imagination is a Great Friend I love to spend long hours with.
How did you end up immigrating to America from Poland?
For [a] long time, I was a big-time sailor. That is the way I enter[ed the] US almost thirty years ago. This great country of yours was on my way to Australia. I stop[ped] for few weeks and... here I am. I raced downhill skis [until] two years ago... I did that very intensely for twenty years. Twelve years ago, I come back to the sport I use to do when I was a teenager: cycling. I still race with the youngsters on the track in Pro/1/2 field. Two years ago, I took national runner-up title in Point Race in South Carolina's Giordana Velodrome, during Masters Track Nationals.
Where & from whom do you draw inspiration?
Inspirations are everywhere and all the time. The world around us is full of obligatory stereotypes, I will always question those. [The] majority do[es] not possess [the] recipe for rightness. Usually, out of fear, greed, lack of imagination etc., [most are] just blowing a populist horn. History proves always and always again that minorities - sometimes just single minds - were and are RIGHT. Since many do not take us (artists) seriously, we may talk strange, funny, or different.
On composition-color-quality of form, I am walking on my knee [in] front of Caravaggio, Jean Baptiste Tiepolo, [and] Frans Hals. I admire Van Dongen so much for bravery [in] color and I take my hat off [to] Alphonse Mucha for drawings and scale of his work.
What is your connection with the Foundry Art Centre? How did you discover it?
My connection with Foundry is very young. I found out - I do not remember where - the message about Tell Me A Story. Since I have so many "theatrical attempts" in my works, I drifted immediately [toward] St. Louis. Then I found out this wonderful gallery of yours and learned about [the] magnitude of your action... I am in love.
Both your award-winning triptych "Forgotten By Noah" and your artwork "Don Quixote of the 21st Century" address humanity's desire for noble pursuits or the pursuit of being better. Why does this common theme capture your attention as an artist?
I feel so fortunate to live the life I have. I do not own hotels, golf courses or airplanes, but I own so many great memories. I do have quite [a] wide perspective on life. I am ashamed of our kind so often. At the same time, I know that I am not strong enough to act at the level I know I should. I am one level below and I keep pointing [to] my findings; ignorance to other human being needs, arrogant application of our "better" findings, inability to resign from from selfish needs. Aristotle said, "... the biggest strength and power we, humans, possess is not to use one."
Voytek's abridged artist statement for "Forgotten By Noah":
I strongly believe the future of art is in multi-medium. Two easily accessible mediums; painting and sound, are now a focus of mine. A third element is that of the viewer. With these pieces, I am interested in starting a conversation with the public. The work is more than just pleasing, it is meant to interact with the viewer, the public, to be provocative and ask difficult questions about our everyday fears, about standing up for our beliefs, and about human nature and our constant desire, across cultures, to correct our imperfections, and perhaps the potential and unintended consequences of such actions.
What are you currently working on?
Recently, I am working on two series of paintings: USELESS MACHINES and DATES WITH POEM. The first one is an absurd - out of existing reality - creation of the machines which are good for... nothing. I think that I can shake hand with the Dada movement in this corner. But, "useless" now doesn't mean that, eventually, the world not may find the reason for [it.]
"Dates With Poem" will be connected to the poetry, where [a] poem will trigger continuation in pictograph. Mary Oliver will be my "First Date".
What do you enjoy doing aside from art?
I love to read. Bookstores are kind of museums, [and] beautiful words [are] like a vitamin. [I enjoy reading] Remarque, Mikhail Bulgakov, Saramago, Bohumil Hrabal, Marek Hlasko, Vonnegut... I believe in balance.
Why do you create art?
To connect with people on the deeper level, the [level] which will make them to ignite the conversation. Very often, I provide some form of theater-going with painting. I do not want them (my paintings) to serve [for] the decorative purpose only. There is so much to be fixed in this beautiful world around us. There are so many who can't and don't know how to ask for help. I consider myself lucky. After all, my life is full of dreams(still) [and] I try to contribute to the "better" as much as I can.
Article by Jillian Schoettle.