Briefly describe the work you do.
I am a painter and I work mostly with oil medium. I spend long hours in the studio making big and small-scale paintings. I like to work on series, because that allows me to develop the subject and focus a bit more on something what challenge me.
My paintings explore the relation between daily life and human nature. I perceive humanity as a chocolate cake, where beneath the ‘iced’ surface lies those more intriguing and challenging mixtures, with fears and social pathology.
Through the application and process of painting, I cut a piece of that cake to explore the nature of these problems.
Simple yet powerful gestural strokes and mark making, search and re-investigate solutions to bring these hidden depths to the surface.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I was born in 1984 in Poland and since age 7 I was drawing and painting. I went to Private Fine Art Secondary School where I developed my skills in fine arts. After the school I was working in the movie studio for two-animation production. One of them was ‘Peter and the Wolf’, which got Oscar prize in 2007. After that, I knew that I want something more then working only for animation, so I decided to move to UK and dedicate myself for painting. After graduating from BA at Manchester Metropolitan University, I was selected for Catlin Guide 2012 for the most promising emerging artist in UK. I progressed onto the Masters program to develop my practice as a painter. The same year I graduated, I was selected for Saatchi New Sensation 2012 and won the prize for National Competition. The same year, I was also awarded with six months scholarship to Dresden Academy of Art in Germany. The next following years I was showing nationally and internationally. I had a solo exhibition in Spain, United Kingdom, and Colombia. Now, I am making a new body of work for my forthcoming solo exhibition in Los Angeles, USA. In 2013 I moved to United States, where I have my live and work.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
Anybody who is entering my studio can smell the oil paints and mediums. Studio is an important part of my daily practice. I come to studio in the morning and leave in the late evening. My studio is not in the complex with other studios, so often times I don’t see many people during the day. It is good for working, but at the same time I make breaks and go out for lunch to be between people. During my day I try to paint at least 8 hours. Rest of the time is administration things.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Since I remember I always wanted to be an artist. That thought was motivating me to make paintings and keep going with studio practice. That was the best opportunity I created in my live. I think that the best opportunities in our lives are those we create. Everything is about making right decision and even if they are not good, we still can learn a lot from that experience. It is always important to keep right goals and don’t forget to make them happen. I always say, keep your studio and your studio will keep you.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
It depends on many things. They are days that I have to prepare packages for paintings, which got sold, or boxes for exhibitions. It is a time consuming process and keep me away from the painting. Nowadays, I try to involve other people to help me in the studio with packing or administration things, but still I need to keep control on that to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Often times I respond to emails in the morning, but I am thinking to change that habit. I can give maximum focus for painting in the morning and evening hours. It is important to make a schedule for my day. It helps my goals. Basically, I make a little goals and big goals. Everyday I make a little to get better. Today my goal was to write about my practice and it is important for my painting too.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I graduated two years ago from my Masters program and since that time my work changed a lot. I challenge myself everyday and experiment a lot. Long hours in the studio helps me to make body of work I am satisfied. I always want to do better and think a lot how I can change or improve in my painting. Painting needs long hours of thinking and experimenting. I try to create limitless space, as Rothko did in his paintings. I don’t know where it will take me, but it’s good practice for something new. Now I’m trying to find my own vision of painting, to bring a new perspective to painting. This is a long process. We all copy and use the ideas of others and it’s not a bad thing. It is a process of learning, but right now I’m moving away from using images as sources.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I love Mark Rothko paintings. I have books with his biography and I come back to them many times. That would be it.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would be different kind of artist. Maybe sculptor.
Born in Poland in 1984, Bartosz Beda relocated himself to the UK in 2008 to study at the Manchester School of Art. After graduating with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2011, and selected for the 2012 Catlin Art Guide for most promising emerging artists in UK, he progressed onto the Masters programme at Manchester Metropolitan University to develop his practice as a painter. Beda has been short-listed for the Title Art Prize, the Door Prize, and The Saatchi New Sensations 2012, and won the esteemed Torwy Award for the Best of the North of England in 2012. In 2014, Beda was short-listed for Combat Art Prize, Italy, finalist for Williams Drawing Prize, Connecticut, US and won the second prize for Viewpoints 2014 at Aljira, Center for Contempoary Art, New Jersey, US. He was awarded for a six-month scholarship between Manchester Metropolitan University and Academy of fine Arts in Dresden, Germany, in 2012/13, where he developed the concepts of his work. Beda has been showing nationally and internationally. He has participated in many group shows in Poland, Germany, Spain, United States, United Kingdom, Colombia to name four: Schools of Art. Voll.3, Oktogon der HfBK Dresden, Germany, 2013; Petty Theft, Launch f18, New York, USA, 2013; Microarte. El tamano si importa, Galeria Liebre, Madrid, Spain, 2012; 9th National Exhibition at Axis Gallery, California, United States. He had his solo exhibitions in Poland, United Kindgom, Spain and Colombia and forthcoming in United States . His works are in private collections throughout Europe, United States, South Africa and Colombia.
Before relocating himself to England, Beda was involved with animation within the film making industry. He has worked in two movie productions, Ichthis by Marek Skrobecki (2005) and Peter and the Wolf by Suzieh Tempelton (2006), which received the Oscar Prize in 2007. This involvment has provoked his interest in moving images and ultimately images themselves. His interest in painting began from a young age, and he knew painting would be his profession. He is a very dedicated painter and for him painting is a medium where he can fully express his passion.
Beda’s work has been widely reviewed and referenced. He was interviewed for The Independend, A-N Magazine, Mastars at Axisweb, Arteon Art Magazine, Expose and featured in The Guardian, The Telegraph and many others. He was mentioned as a ‘one to watch’ at BBC Radio 4 in February 2013. He discribes himself as an artist who explores the idea of painting across the world and outside the local environment. He lives and works both in United States and United Kingdom.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.