All artwork © Dariusz Zawiązalec
The shields, the art adorning them, and Zawiązalec's choice of studio name evoke impressions of an artist living a hermetic existence deep in a remote, thickly forested valley. Promotional photography staged in such environs to show off his shields
further such impressions: kindred spirits, even customers, bejeweled in fine 'goth retro steampunk ' fashion pose
with the shields. All part of the fun at the 'Forge'. But
Zawiązalec is decidedly urban, based in one of Poland's
largest cities: Katowice. ''This region was a coal field,
a large industrial agglomeration. The city is slowly
becoming a modern, high tech center, but still lacks green spaces, unfortunately.'' Although he says there's plenty
to do in Katowice, Zawiązalec is working toward a future corresponding more to thickly forested valleys than to art
scenes or youth culture; ''Some ducks, goats, bees and
lots of dogs and cats'' make up that list. While Zawiązalec
is not quite a 'hermit ', he does describe himself as an
introvert. ''I don't like to work with people. Definitely a quiet
guy who loves to have peace of mind,'' he admits. The
'humble guy from Poland ' — as per his twitch.tv website
profile — considers himself ''not a very interesting person,''
but the artwork says otherwise. So do the costumes
appearing in those photo sessions, which Zawiązalec made himself but modestly describes to us as ''amateurish''.
The Bride shield Sept. 2018
80cm Ø (31.5'' Ø)
Gel ballpoint pens,
PENNAME by O. Lebron posted December 10, 2018
Norse Pole・Dariusz Zawiązalec Katowice, Poland
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
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Since 2014・Volume 6
Aside from requisite grade school art classes, Zawiązalec has no formal art
education, and his time at university instead culminated with a degree in political
science. ''I studied to become a office worker in local city hall. I had a few months
apprenticeship but that was all, after I finished my studies I never worked in that
profession.'' For over a decade now, it's been all about the art, earning his living
using wood, leather, metal hardware and ballpoint pens. ''I've always loved to draw
and I'm doing it ever since I remember. It's my greatest passion and reason to live.
I don't think you need to have art education to make art. Sometimes it can even
block your creativity. True art comes from the heart and passion, not educated
skills. Of course I don't think that art education is all bad, but I put passion over
The thirtysomething artist says he participated in a number of group exhibitions
when he was younger, even held some shows of his own, but currently has little
interest in dealing with galleries. ''I really don't like 'professional artist' world, I don't fit
there,'' he professes. For Zawiązalec and the like-minded multitudes who have both
the passion for their art and that same disinterest in the formal art world, along came
the internet and its quicker fix: social media. Zawiązalec is the perfect example of an
artist making full use of the democratizing technology to forge a quintessentially 21st
century social media art career, and he's completely unapologetic about it.
''In a time of Facebook, there is no point to even have a
separate website. A lot of people, not only artists, can see your work. Facebook literally eats the rest of internet.''
Mother shield Oct. 2018
80cm Ø (31.5'' Ø)
Gel ballpoint pen,
Wood, leather, metal hardware and perhaps some animal bone or fur accoutrements. The makings of a fine Viking shield.
And if that shield came from the Black Forest Forge? Add ballpoint pens to the supply list. Black Forest Forge is the studio, and fledgling 'brand ', of Dariusz Zawiązalec, whose output often incorporates all-of-the-above materials, and shields are one form the Polish artist's ballpoint pen works appear. ''There is no 'forging' of metal to make swords or weapons, either as a job or as art,'' the artist clarifies. "I just thought 'Black Forest Forge' was a cool, dark name. My art is connected with pagan mythology, history and fantasy, so thats why the name sounds good to me.'' Nonetheless, for those planning a siege, taking one of these shields into battle just might ensure a swift victory: the finely inked mythological scenes decorating them provide a perfect distraction for overthrowing adversaries.
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