Epic might be one of the most misused words in the English language, but it’s certainly in its place when describing the works of artist Jakub Rozalski(34), hailing from Krakow, Poland. Inspired by classical paintings and modern techniques and armed with a healthy dose of imagination Jakub creates the most fantastic sceneries that even inspired a board game.
“The most important thing in my work is to always create a unique atmosphere via storytelling, showing everyday situations in an unusual environment.”
Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I warmly welcome all readers! I’m 34 years old and currently live and work in Krakow, Poland. I love hiking, scuba diving, good music, cinema… and art, of course! I’m also a huge fan of video games.
I’ve been painting and drawing ever since I can remember. Choosing artistic studies was the natural order of things. I have a fine art background and education. However, I learned most of my skills by studying my favorite artists (and their paintings) such as Shishkin, Chelmonski or Brandt.
I did my first steps as an artist on canvas and paper, long before I discovered digital design.
Your works have the feel of classic paintings, where do you get your technique from, and do you draw some inspiration from the ‘classical’ era?
I really enjoy classic and modern techniques. Currently I mostly work on my tablet because it saves a lot of time that I can spend with my loved ones. But every now and then I miss to paint on canvas and revert to traditional painting. For many years I have experimented with style and technique and at the moment I can say that this mix of impressionism and realism in my own way, suits me the best. Through my work I try to combine a classical painting style, modern design and interesting concepts.
For me, the most important thing in my work is to always create a unique atmosphere via storytelling, showing everyday situations in an unusual environment. I like the more subdued, discreet colors as well as the more static compositions. I’m not sure why, I’ve never thought about it. I just paint the way I feel and like it. It is probably a reflection of my own nature, what I like and what interests me. I like wild environments, open spaces, discreet and natural colors, winter, wild animals… werewolves :p. History and ancient beliefs are my great passion. They are a huge inspiration for me and have great influence on my work.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your combination of sci-fi, fantasy and the 20th century feel? (Is it the scythe game?)
Quite the contrary! The game is based on my work, and not vice versa. The company with which I work as an Art Director on the ‘Scythe’ game found my paintings on the internet and wrote to me a few months ago with the request to base a game on them and my 1920+ universe.
The whole “1920+ project” is based on historical events: the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 and the Polish-Soviet War (February 1919 – Marg 1921). By many historians, this battle is considered as one of the most important in our worlds history, since it has changed the fate of Europe and stopped the Red Revolution.
After WWI, the atmosphere in Europe was filled with revolutionary thoughts. Bolsheviks decided to take advantage of this situation and started to move forward to the west with a huge army. Poland was the first country that was able to show them resistance. Our own independence had only been restored two years before. No one hardly knows about about this while it is a very interesting historical period. This is also the last time a cavalry was used so significantly.
Of course, the whole 1920+ world is richer and continues to grow. The game will offer a choice of five different factions based on alternative versions of the European countries and the situation of the period.
You could have chosen to portrait the real scenery of that time. What made you decide to create a new universe with this conflict as a base?
The Polish-Bolshevik war is only a starting reference point for this project on the basis of which I created my own, alternative, universe. I think there is also some longing for the world and life closer to nature, which has been aggressively taken by technology and civilisation. Also, I want to show war from the perspective of regular people who might not b e so epic and bombastic. I grew up in a a small Polish village. I’ve worked and lived in big cities for many years now, but I really miss that peaceful life and climate.
Do you have a specific goal with your art?
This year will certainly be very important to me. As mentioned, a lot is going on, various exhibitions, propositions, perhaps a television series based on my 1920+ series and ‘Scythe’ game. However the most important for me, at this point, is the board game. I hope that it will be a great success and then my painting and the world I created, will land on the tables of the players from around the world. That would be something amazing.
Keep your fingers crossed. 🙂