Debate continues about who might ultimately eat whom. Meanwhile, the contemporary gallery system, technology aside, marginalizes the social media art realm, in particular, as a kind of minor league, but most of those so-called 'minors' could care less. ''I'm not a professional artist,'' Zawiązalec unabashedly declares. ''My clients are normal people. People can easily find me (on social media) and write directly to me like to a normal person, even a friend. So when I publish my artwork on fan pages I have thousands of views.'' Traffic talk; trackable numbers in the form of views, shares, likes and comments. ''My first shield had over 150,000 views on my Facebook page,'' he proudly informs us. Not every one of those 'views' represents another dollar in Zawiązalec's pocket, and one could counter that a well-promoted
exhibition of quality art at a prestigious venue might attract the same traffic, but not every artist
is chasing the same dream. ''For me, that counts, the number of people who can see my art,''
he explains. Regardless, the numbers have translated into a burgeoning business for
Zawiązalec, with customers from Europe, North America, China, Russia and Australia.
Few customers are from his homeland, but luckily social media knows few borders.
Interest and demand in Zawiązalec's shields is tied to the popularity of the television
series Vikings, so imagery depicted on the shields centers around Norse mythology and
iconography; gods such as Odin, viking long boats, trolls, et al. The artist tailors content
to suit his customers' interests, but those interests also happen to be his own. ''My clients
are often people with hobbies like mine; reenactment, fantasy and so on.'' Zawiązalec is
acquainted with his subject matter well enough so that he seldom needs reference
material, stating ''With hand on my heart I can say that all of my works are from my head ''.
That mental library of images is fed by his interest in books. He maintains a ''physical ''
library as well, but that collection serves more intellectual than referential needs.
Zawiązalec's ballpoint usage is born out of his love of comic books. He cites European fantasy comic books as a particular influence, and he emulated them by creating comics of his own in ballpoint. Again he uses the term ''amateurish'' to describe his own work, but we'll ignore it in this case; he was ten at that time. Those and other early ballpoint works were drawn on normal paper, but he also uses colored paper, leather and, most often now, wood, about which Zawiązalec says, ''When I discovered for the first time that I can create on wood, a real passion awoke in me''. He also tried out ''all that paint stuff, brushes and so on'' along the way but, ultimately, ballpoints suited him best. ''Right now I can't draw with anything else,'' he says of the pens — gel ink ballpoints produced by Rystor, a Polish company — adding that they are especially good for drawing on wood.
In the case of his shields, the woodwork is first crafted by Zawiązalec's father — under the artist's instruction — but the viking round shield format is optional; he also draws onto wood boards cut to various sizes. Preliminary sketches are drawn directly onto the wood in pencil, then out come the pens and
markers. All drawing is done
freehand. Use of gel inks means
that his drawings are heavy on
linework — mostly in black, with
only occasional touches of red.
Halftones appearing in his
artwork are achieved by either
PENNAME by O. Lebron posted December 10, 2018
Norse Pole・Dariusz Zawiązalec Katowice, Poland
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
Since 2014・Volume 6
Left : The cover of Zawiązalec's Black Forest Forge Art Book (2014),
A4 size 21 x 29.7cm (8.3 x 11.7'').
Right : Cthulhu Bride (2012) & detail ; Gel ballpoint pens and markers on colored paper, 50 x 70cm (20 x 27.5''), inspired by H. P. Lovecraft novels.
Look for Black Forest Forge on social media for more art & information.
All artwork © Dariusz Zawiązalec.
July 2013, Gel ballpoint
pens and markers on leather,
60 x 60cm (24 x 24'').
very fine hatching, pencil work, or Zawiązalec's use of ''almost-finished'' felt pens. ''They can give very thin, weak lines, perfect for shading,'' says the artist.
For ballpoint art enthusiasts who share his viking spirit, Zawiązalec has got the book for you: his own. Published in 2014, Black Forest Forge Art Book fulfilled the artist's ''big dream'' to publish his own book.
''I spent all my cash on that book with no idea if anybody will ever buy it. Four years later I only have few books left. And dreams of the next book!'' Ballpoint and mixed-media artwork created between 2011 and 2014 comprise the 40-page book. In the brochure-like presentation Zawiązalec explains, in English, his materials and motivations・
''Every one of my drawings is a lesson and a step forward on being a better and better artist.''