The bright, colorfully, poppy, peculiar work of one artist is a fresh take on an old style. Designer, Roman Klonek creates his artwork with woodcut prints that pay homage to polish cartoons and history in the country’s propaganda style. He keeps to the traditional method and principles of the medium, but makes his own version of the end art. His woodcut posters are like stepping into a polish cartoon world, which the artist himself describes as a “bizarre balancing act between propaganda, folklore, and pop.”
Roman Klonek is a Polish designer currently working in Düsseldorf, Germany. I had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his process.
You have a very unique style. What influences your work?
“[My work] is a very big mixture of contemporary influences and cultural roots. I have a soft spot for East European cartoons because I grew up with them. My father had a big collection of Polish and Russian Super 8 cartoons. When Youtube came up some years ago I had a lot of déjà vu while watching all the “Bolek i Lolek” and “Nu pogodi” cartoons. I thought so many times… “Hey I know this…” It’s funny. For a long time I was not aware that I was influenced by the cartoons; It was mechanical. When I saw that my printings had an East European look, I liked it and started to even increase this effect by adding Russian or Polish type.”
Why do you choose to do woodcuts?
“I had a course in woodcut printing during my study and realized quite soon that I had found my medium. For me, it’s a good way to make a little more of a drawing.
It’s kind of makes something official. I especially like to have the effect of an old story. That’s likely because the medium is not a contemporary medium.
I also like that it’s unavoidable to have mistakes on the surface, and every print has it own little mistakes so I can say every single one is unique. It sounds paradoxical, but at the end of a printing process I have a couple of unique prints.”
How long have you been doing woodcut prints?
“For 13 years now.”
When you approach a new piece, what is your creative process?
“At first the intuitive, that means wild scribbling. Then the reflection: the working out on the computer. And at last, the execution, which means the graving and printing.”
What excites you most about what you do?
“The mixture of different work situations: Scribbling on the couch, composing on the computer, printing in the studio. Also, the independence. I do 100% what I want.”
Who or what inspires you as an artist?
“Really everyone and everything can be an influence. I think the most important thing is to set up situations for good receptivity of inspiration. The creative activity will follow.
Traveling is always good as well. Music of course is a great helper, and also films.”
For more information on Klonek, and to see more of his work here.