Kasia Breska is a Polish artist, in a wider sense: a muralist, workshop leader, designer…I got in
touch with Kasia as I got to know her work from Łódź artistic scene. She currently works and lives
in Todmorden, Calderdale Valley.
I was really curious about her background. The process that led her to work in Łódź and West
Yorkshire was a long and complex one. She graduated from Toruń University in Poland where she
studied Environmental Science, then from Bradford School of Art where she studied Fine Art.
She is a member of East Street Art in Leeds, and in the past she took part in projects like Favela
Academy, working with Haas&Hahn in Willemstad, capital city of Curaçao!
Through her involvement in projects like City Less Grey in Leeds, and Festival of Four Cultures in
Poland, where she painted ‘Totems of Łódź’, I noticed her work ethics and eclectic approach. She
is an artist who always discovers and renews her ideas and concepts. Gifted by an overflowing
talent, her works have something of a magnetism.
What do you think about the social role of Art in daily life? Which are the values that you
want to transmit?
This is a very big question and answering it quickly or shortly will always give a very general
answer. In my opinion, within the social role of art we can distinguish two elements: the process
and the final result, the artwork. Both have a vital influence on our daily life, from being a child to
Creative process is a complex set of thoughts, long time spent researching, making mistakes and
bouncing off them, taking a new path. It is a process thanks to which we learn how to learn. It is
important during our entire life, it allows us to explore and experiment, to learn about ourselves, to
make our own choices. All that happens during the creative process can, and is transferred to our
In terms of the finished piece, its role is incredibly diverse. It can inspire, document, tell a story,
provoke, challenge our preconceptions, release all sort of feelings and thoughts. It is a powerful
medium, especially when used on a large scale.
In terms of murals, their sheer size makes an impact on the site they are located, they become its part, they shift the dynamics, from perception of quality of light, surface, basic elements of the space to change of our routine and behaviour.
Above all, art is a language, it is there for everyone to learn it, to use it to make a mark, to say
something powerful. I do believe we should learn this language as our core one and cultivate it through our life, keep it as a base for further development.
In your works there is dualism with the logic part, made of formulas, maths, lines, shapes
and proportions and the creative instinct. In which way do
you believe they are joining?
I can see why it is perceived as a dualism. My artwork is a result of a complex creative process
where a lot of it is derived from my perception of a given space and how much effort I put into
understanding its ‘dimensions’.
I think a bit like an architect, I never see my artwork as a singular piece executed on a surface of a building, wall. I design a creative concept: a visual idea that bears certain values, like site sensitive approach, considering surrounding architecture, space, its people.
Finally, the building I paint on is of massive importance, it’s like taking part in an intimate
life of an object; I research its direct environment, its condition, I take care of its surface first, I am
considerate for its elements, style.
All those elements meet the other dimensions of the space: history and culture. Only after having all these three elements researched, I will start to combine the information into a visual representation. Therefore, you will see carefully measured elements, as if I am building something, the intensity of colour which refers to people, their senses, and my wish to awaken them.
There is also a lot to combine in terms of the composition, I work with symbols, map typology, shapes, fractures of memory, all of it builds the final image: site specific artwork, story, map and a new architectural element, all of it, in one piece.
My artwork has a wholesome quality, with all the elements bonded, melted, interwoven, constantly balancing each other out.
Could you tell me few words about your own, favourite piece of work? What was the
intention? Why is it your favourite?
This is actually a very difficult question as I have never thought about it. However, there is one
small piece of art I would probably grab if my house was on fire! It’s a collage piece where I used
coloured pencils, paper envelope and a bit unusual method of spilling water found in the space
over the paper surface.
The work is about a moment, a tiny time-space element when I stopped to have a closer look at the pattern formed on a piece of ice, over a tiny paddle, in between masses of a frozen mud. For me, it is such a gentle, quiet work, representation of a beautiful moment of observing, being aware of the space I was walking within.
I think it describes gentleness and caring for my own surroundings. It also signifies the beginning into my passion for geometry and simple lines.
Your favourite artist/painter/work of art from the past and the contemporary one?
My absolute favourite piece of art is Marina’s Abramovich’s Artist is Present, which is actually a
performance piece. It is the most selfless, ego-less, inclusive and considerate, wonderfully human
piece of art, a true masterpiece. The artist created a time-space with values like openness,
compassion, trust, being so intense, it overwhelms.
Other contemporaries will include a lot of mural artists working within the outdoor space and
architecture: Eltono, Ekta, Mattia Lullini, 108, Jeroen Erosie, Nuria Mora and dozens more. From
the more fine art scene I adore Anthony Gormley, David Hockney, Carmen Herrera.
My past influences will be led by Ellsworth Kelly and Russian suprematism, then looking into
opposing constructivism and László Moholy-Nagy school. Agnes Martin, Victor Pasmore, Sol
Lewitt for the abstract compositions, Chagall, VanGogh , Klee and Rothko for colours, Joan Miró
for the composition, colours and diversity of materials. I could probably go on and on and would
find an artist from each epoch that I like.
What do you think about Polish art movement? Is there any bigger opportunity working
I can’t possibly talk about all of the Polish art movements as I certainly don’t feel my knowledge
encompasses it. I can definitely make a small statement about the mural, public art. There are
artists there that have a talent and passion that results in pieces that are known internationally.
There are mural festivals, events, grants, programmes, schools and individual initiatives.
But what is more important here is how we perceive the mural art, how artists can work together with
architects, urban planners, universities, local civic powers. Murals are executed in public spaces, and public space is more than just a wall. It is a part of a certain habitat, that has a set of dynamics and its own way of being.
Łódź has been an absolute gem in terms of perceiving complexity of it, thanks to people
and organisations like Urban Forms, local academicians, architects, private founders etc. From
other cities, Gdansk and Katowice are making a strong statement, partly due to a specific
architecture (industrial, multi flat high tower blocks) but mostly to people who perceive a value in
urban art and how it can join specifics of the city.
Polish mural scene is in its vibrant development and it is crucial, especially now, to curate it
wisely, to build high awareness about our own living environment.
Opportunities are there, and as usual, it’s greatly up to how much money is put forward for the
projects. In those terms in will vary from city to city or rather from council to council. Some places,
like Łódź, make an incredible effort to allow art to be an everyday experience for its citizens, some
do not understand its importance and focus their efforts somewhere else.