Michał Klimczak: Apocalyptic artworks and sci-fi stories
Michał Klimczak is a graphic designer from Poland. He creates incredible illustrations by mixing graphics and photomanipulation techniques to design his apocalyptic stories.
In spite of unrealistic landscapes created by Michał, nameless heroes of his visual stories seem to share a message with their viewers. Here's our conversation with Michał where he shares what inspires him, mentions exciting projects he created and participated in, as well as tells why apocalypse remains so topical for him.
— How long are you creating visual arts? How did your visual and graphic designer story begin?
— I'm doing art since 2007. I used to draw much more, but at some point, I felt that my opportunities became limited. Computer graphics and photomontage opened to me a new way to bring to life ideas which I couldn't implement before. Actually, I can't really say, when my design adventure has started, it just came up :-)
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
— Could you please tell about your style. How did you come to it? You're using photomanipulation in most of the works, right? Did you apply this concept from the beginning of your artistic path?
— I find it difficult to define my style (if it exists at all). From the very beginning, it was photomanipulation. I was experimenting, searching for technical means. I learned everything myself. I make no secret of the fact that current format of my works is strongly influenced by Zdzisław Beksiński and Michał Karcz. Actually, Michał Karcz's works led me to the style I'm working in now. I try to make my graphics look the most realistic in an unrealistic convention.
— As I understood for some works you use photographs taken by you. Could you please tell about photography and its place in your creative process? What are other sources of photos you use?
— I'm certainly the worst photographer in the world (laughs). Photography is an essential component of my artwork. One image can consist of several different photos as I can't always get the desired picture I need for the overall concept of work. To a large extent, I use stock materials and photos from the general access. But, of course, there are several works created basеd on my photos.
— Works you create are realistic, and at the same time, they look like a fantasy. Where do the scenes and landscapes you produce come from?
— They come from my head: some are planned, some are appearing spontaneously during work. I try to create stories that could be told. I like to encourage the viewer to create his or her own stories out of my artworks.
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
— I assume you might be interested in sci-fi literature and movies? If so, could you please share which sci-fi authors, book or films did inspire you?
— That's right and literature, but most of all, of course, comics. The series “Hans/Yans”, created by André-Paul Duchâteau and Polish caricaturists, the “Thorgal” series, the trilogy “Szninkiel” (“Schninkel”) by Jean Van Hamme, as well as “Sláine” by Pat Mills. One of my favorite illustrators Simon Bisley was involved in creating of “Sláine”.
— Continuing to talk about your works. What are the most urgent or essential topics you are sharing with your viewers? Why is apocalypse the keynote of most of them?
— It's true, in most of my works the apocalypse is the keynote. In fact, we live in real danger of a global catastrophe. So this subject is hugely important for me. I think that my works can be considered as some warning, but, of course, any interpretation is possible.
— Maybe you'd like to share a bit more about one or two your projects which are most interesting or valuable to you?
— I go all out for an individual approach to each project, as all of them are important and unique for me. Do I have a work that is special to me? Perhaps, it's work with a Norwegian musician Sverre Knut Johansen. During all the time while I was creating artwork, Sverre's music was accompanying me. Together we felt the atmosphere of the whole artwork concept. The project was designed in one breath without any single amendments.
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
— What about collaborations? Have you created any projects in partnership with photographers or other designers, and what projects they were?
— I prefer not to collaborate. In fact, I teamed up only once. It was a collaboration with the Pakistani photographer Baber Afzal. In 2013, together we created a graphic series “Sands Of Time” and several solo projects. In 2014 our project “FORGIVENESS I” won second prize in the International Photography Contest in the "Architecture" category.
— You're also designing CD covers. What kind of music inspires you and correlates with your art?
— I don't limit myself to one music genre: I like both heavy music and more atmospheric and calm. Of course, the peaceful music fits art process better. Ambient and soundtracks from the movies are an ideal match for my works. My customers create such music, as well as heavier and more rigid aesthetics.
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
Михал Климчак, Michał Klimczak
© Michał Klimczak / facebook.com/klimczakshume
— What upcoming projects are you planning to launch, create or collaborate in?
— At the moment I have no specific plans. Recently I became a daddy for the second time: I have a beautiful daughter and a wonderful son. I guess I need a rest stop and a brief respite, as now my primary focus is my family plans. Taking this opportunity, I'd like to thank my beloved wife for her understanding and patience.
Check out more about Michał and his projects on his Behance and Facebook pages.
By Tania Horda, Iulia Soloviova
2017