|Monday, January 14, 2008|
You can take an artist out of his hometown, but you can’t always take the hometown out of the artist. "I was born in a little town in Poland called Zamosc," says Tomasz Misztal. "It’s an Italian Renaissance town: An Italian architect designed the architecture as a twin town to Padua, Italy. I just realized about 10 years ago how that little place explains the Renaissance tones in my art." Misztal, who studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland, enjoys working in many mediums. "I also loved studying drawing, painting, printmaking and pottery at the Academy," he says. "Now I jump from one genre to the other very comfortably."
The 50-year-old, who moved to Oregon three years ago, has always worked as an artist. "I taught for 10 years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, and I’ve always tried to be connected to art and I’ve always had a strong commitment to it," he says. Institutions in Europe, including the Vatican Museum, have his work in their collections. "The Solidarity movement offered two of my sculptures as gifts when John Paul II visited Poland," he says. "My two pieces were taken to the Vatican, which was a big privilege for me, because some of these offerings were taken to the Vatican and some of them were left behind in churches as gifts."
The Mozart sculpture with an oil painting background (above) is part of a series Misztal did of composers, including Beethoven, Bach and Rachmaninoff. "Very often, it’s not enough for me to bring up the likeness of the person," he says. "I try to somehow interpret it and make it more expressive and interesting than just a likeness of the person. Here, I sliced it, and it’s like looking into the head of the genius." The 15-inch by 12-inch combined sculpture and painting costs $2,000.
Contact multi-media artist Tomasz Misztal at 541-610-4617 or check out his website, tomaszmisztal.com. You can also see his work in the gallery at Shop People (416 S.E. Oak St., 503-546-2518) in Portland, where he has a studio.