Heritage artist gives new lease of life to abandoned countryside installations
Regarded as one of Poland’s greatest outdoor artists, Arkadiusz Andrejkow has underlined the extent of his versatility after his latest project found itself going viral.
Well-known for using unusual canvases to showcase his art, Andrejkow has previously courted the art press after his Silent Memorial project saw dozens of barns and other such rustic buildings in the Podkarpacie region transformed to feature giant pictures of everyday farming folk.
Even the sides of heavy goods vehicles have, in the past, been reimagined courtesy of his life-like images.
Also turning his hand to traditional wall murals – many of which have been dedicated to feature historic Polish characters such as military figures, former local mayors and, even, the globally-recognised pedagogue Janusz Korczak – less documented, at least until now, has been Andrejkow’s work directly in the fields of his native South East.
Adorning the decaying concrete installations so commonly found sitting unloved amid Poland’s rolling rural landscapes, a string of former water tanks, abandoned rollers and culvert pipes have been handed a new lease of life after being painted by Andrejkow.
While extraordinary in their own right, these gained a spectacular new face when Andrejkow utilised December’s cold snap to spray paint the snow that had obscured his “land art” whilst also creating entirely new works in the snow.
Featured to great acclaim on the internationally renowned Street Art Utopia platform, his efforts quickly won him a fresh wave of global admirers.
Describing the depths of winter as a “dead season” for art, it was, says Andrejkow, his desire to get out into the open and away from his studio that first motivated him to try this unique form of art.
Unwilling to wait for the thaw before painting outdoors again, Andrejkow first experimented with this idea ten-years ago. “I decided to create something on a ‘white sheet’, which in winter I found everywhere,” he explained.
December’s particularly heavy snowfall provided him with no shortage of such fresh, pristine canvases on which to perfect his art.
Speaking to TVP, Andrejkow said: “I think this [type of art] is very ephemeral because, by in large, it can only be seen by me. Generally speaking, by the time someone else finds where I have painted in the snow, the art will already either have melted or been covered up by another layer of snow.”
The fleeting nature of his art, however, has served only to make it even more cherished by his ever-expanding group of fans.
“I’m glad that the camera was invented,” he says, “as that allows me to at least publish the works online.”
Demanding a significant amount of application skill, his seasonal works have a gently haunting quality to them, featuring as they do weathered faces and piercing eyes gazing forth from the frozen winter landscape.
Preferring to paint the elderly in these compelling snow portraits, much can be read into the artist’s preferred subject. However, Andrejkow himself tells TFN that he prefers that the public interpret his works in their own way.
“I don’t impose my own theories on other people,” he says. “Those looking at art should understand it in whichever way they see fit and by using their own life experiences and external stimuli.”