1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hi! My name is Samuel Markiewicz, and I’m a guy living in Lille, France with his wife and daughter. You can call me Sam. I’ve worked in the digital field since 2009, and I have occupied various positions ranging from a web designer to a front-end developer. During these years, I have produced illustrations regularly.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I don’t think that I really have a proper aesthetic. I have coherent and redundant elements, like simple shapes, vivid colors and a quest for dynamism, but I don’t consider it a singular aesthetic. Plus, I love to try new things and inject them along the way.
You know, I have a philosophy inherited from the Provensen, which consists of exploring various styles to answer a wider range of problems. They once said: “We tried to work with the material. You couldn’t do something from the Bible in the same style you’d do an animal book.” This is my aesthetic 🙂
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I’m working a lot digitally. It’s really practical and I can test a lot of mediums via brushes. If I want to test something with charcoals or oil paint, I don’t have to buy them, I can test that right on the bat. As I’m not very patient, this is a blessing. Also, I don’t have a very big office and can’t stock a lot of things, so, my iPad is the best place to stock my stuff 🙂
4. What is your artistic process like?
It may change with the project, but mostly, the biggest part happens in my head. I create the pictures in my head before going to the paper, which means that, when I really sketch something, I’ve already produced a lot of sketches mentally. I let that happen, like a background task ^^
When I have something that really clicks, I produce a rough to see if it translates well on paper, then roughly put some colors and work my way to a finished version. Which could be very fast… or very painful sometimes.
I also do research, and I use Paper (the app) for that. Even my sketchbooks are digital now ^^
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I draw inspiration from a lot of people and situations. Music has a huge influence. Books, concepts, feelings, even food. I also grab some gimmicks here and there, some details in others’ work, that I digest and introduce in my own work (read carefully here: this is not stealing. Stealing in the sense of a strict copy makes you an asshole, stealing elements, understanding why and how it was done this way, and trying to use that in a clever way, makes you better. More on that in the wonderful book: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon)
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
For me, it’s not really art. It’s stories. I love stories, I need stories. I like art that tells stories. It may be books, movies, paintings, whatever you want, but I love when it tells me something.
I love that because stories, real or not, define the way I approach the world. They help me to understand things, to nuance some of my thoughts. They help me to grow sometimes, and sometimes to escape. I also like to tell them too 🙂
7. Where did you study?
I studied in the Superior School of Art of Cambrai, which was a tiny school in the north of France. However, I had the best time of my life there, and it defined me a lot as an « artist ». I was surrounded by talented, sometimes strange, people and teachers that pushed me to explore beyond my limited sight. I had to read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, and I had to understand them to produce my own work. Culturally, it was some wonderful years, and I wouldn’t be here today without them. In a sense, if you are a student in art school, the best advice I can give you is to consume a lot of music/books/movies/photos/etc… Many students work a lot to produce something that is technically astonishing (which is not a bad thing per se), but absolutely empty of purpose. Personally, I don’t give a fuck about a hyper-realistic painting, I have an iPhone to take pictures, but I can laugh or cry to a kid’s drawing because it has a story behind.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
To be honest, I’ve never known what to answer to this kind of question. I’m a day to day kind of guy, and, by my own standard and experience, long terms plans don’t go as expected (for better or worse)… So I just hope that I’ll still be able to produce stuff. I’m just curious of the form that it will take.
9. What about in ten?
Since I was not really able to answer the previous question, this one is even tougher 🙂 BUT… Let’s say, as a kind of challenge, that I’ll probably try to work on a documentary. Filming was a huge part of my graduation year, and I love documentaries, and I love telling stories. By the time, I would slowly go to my 50’s, so, it would be like going back to my roots. Like closing the loop.
It’s a nice challenge. It’s stimulating 🙂
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want to tell stories. As I told you later, I have always been interested in stories. That’s why I don’t want to restrain myself to a specific medium, I guess. After all, I just made a vow to make a documentary during the next 10 years 🙂 But yes, definitely, I make art because I want to share/tell stories.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Hmmm. I would say ramen, but I also love my polish grandma’s food, and well… I’m a big fan of food, so… Basically, everything is my favorite food! I love to eat 🙂
12. Favourite book?
I’ll make you a top 5 + a bonus:)
– The Fight by Norman Mailer
– The One Thing by Gary Keller
– Propos sur le bonheur by Alain
– Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield
– City of Glass by Paul Auster
– The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir by James A Reeves
13. Favourite genre of music?
Boards of Canada, Monster Magnet, Type O Negative, Chet Baker, Oneohtrix Point Never, Com Truise, Marconi Union, Stars of the Lid… If you dig around these bands, you have a good starting map of my musical tastes.
14. What are your hobbies?
I’m a kind of monk 🙂 So, my free time is split between reading, walking, cooking, sometimes playing video games and my family life. Most would say that I have a pretty boring life, and by some extents, I consider myself a pretty boring person ^^ But I inject some craziness and fantasy in my work, that’s how I find a balance.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A cook, I think. Or a monk retired somewhere in Crete.