Stunning series of posters from Hel are an absolute must-sea
As Poland’s seaside resorts ready themselves for the return of tourism, a reminder of what awaits can be had courtesy of series of stunning posters prepared by Ewelina Gąska over the past couple of years
Capturing the essence of the Polish summer, and defined by their vibrant colours and striking style, the posters were created in two batches titled Gąska Na Helu Volume 1 and Volume 2, with both portraying the beauty and kitsch intrigues and temptations of Poland’s coastal beaches.
Referencing the first series, Gąska says she chose a minimalist look to “present a contemporary view of the Baltic’s absurdities and charms,” whilst also paying homage to the numerous aspects still “anchored in the 1990s”.
“These memories,” she adds, “are suspended somewhere between the sprinkles on a seaside waffle and a crisp afternoon cruising the Bay of Puck”.
Certainly, the scenes depicted will be familiar to all of those that have ventured north at the height of summer: in one, hundreds of colourful windbreakers clutter every square inch of a beach; in another, seagulls line the handrails of a pier whilst another struts down the middle adorned with tourist essentials such as flip flops and novelty gifts.
Neither is a cult favourite overlooked, that being the image of bus number 666 running to Hel.
Though the series gently pokes fun at the retro kitsch that is emblematic of these resorts, Gąska is adamant that her appreciation of the region is completely authentic.
“The first time I visited the Hel Peninsula it was love at first sight,” she tells TFN, “and I decided to express these emotions in a way that was graphic – hence the series.”
Returning each year, that the coastline has entranced the Warsaw-based graphic artist cannot be disputed.
“Every year I feel that same sense of joy on arrival,” she says. “Simply put, I find the Baltic Coast amazing, and it is for its unique atmosphere that I keep coming back.”
This atmosphere is creatively captured in her posters, with the second volume expanding on the themes in the first to present equally cheerful scenes featuring a sunbathing corn-on-the-cob; young surfers chilling about around a camper van; as well as a shoal of herrings frolicking in the waters dressed in sailors caps and stripey shirts the likes of which are so commonly found on sale in these parts.
Using strong, intense colours, and always adding abstract shapes and multiple patterns, Gąska’s work has proved a firm hit among critics and buyers alike, with her Hel series also since successfully developed into a series of postcards.
“People have responded to the idea, the message and the fact that they are so colourful and vivid,” she continues. “The reaction has been very positive and in truth I kind of expected that.”
Striking a chord with the public for their humorous but also tender depiction of coastal life, the series reveal a Poland that is instantly recognizable to millions of people. “The idea and execution are vital when it comes to making a good poster,” she says, “but it also needs to be original as well.”
Having produced graphic and illustrative works and campaigns for numerous household titles, events and brands, Gąska’s output is exactly that. Simultaneously, she has also joined the ranks of Poland’s rich line of acclaimed poster artists.
Acknowledged the world over, Poland has long been seen as one the international leaders when it comes to this form of art. “The Polish school of poster has a very long and interesting history,” says Gąska, “and I think there’s so many great artists we’ve had whose works have proved timeless.”
Likewise, though, Gąska’s own work has that serene dreamy sense of timelessness. Soaking in the vision of her joyful scenes, it isn’t just past memories of summer that come flickering to mind, but also thoughts of the months up ahead.
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