Robert Listoan is an Olsztyn painter, illustrator and graphic artist. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk and returned to the capital of Warmia and Mazury. As he assures, he feels his best here. We talked to him about his creativity, his limitations and his inspiration as well as the football environment he entered. It was he who gave Andrzej Biedrzycki’s wife a photo of the deceased football player. And in 2013, Wojciech Szczęsny bought his painting, currently the goalkeeper of Juventus.
What was the picture of Andrzej Biedrzycki (one of the legends of Stomil Olsztyn – editor’s note)?
I was never interested in football before. If you watch the matches, it was only for first place in the World Cup or for a cup. I knew there was Stomil, but I didn’t go to the games. Recently I met a group of friends who are passionate about football. They gave me the club atmosphere. At one of the meetings, they suggested that I paint a portrait of Pedrzeki. I agreed, because my drawing was for a good reason.
I couldn’t invite a mannequin, but I was based on the photos. The painting was donated to Mr. Andrzej’s wife during a match against GKS Tychy, in memory of his death. In addition, special T-shirts were created with his image, which fans still wear to this day. Stomil won, the party was a success.
You have completed the task. I say this because I prefer to draw pictures on my own, in which case someone asked me to do it. I think I did the right thing when I decided to take this step. I wanted to show that creators can also be involved in Stomil’s affairs. Support the club in some way.
So art and sport can go hand in hand.
Yes, of course. I don’t think there is any area that art can’t help.
This topic was very interesting. Fans received a new photo of the character they admire. It will remain in their memory. It’s always something new. They also see that artists don’t have to hang out in galleries, but go to stadiums. Gusto Holubek also attended the matches. Few people know this, but he loves sports.
You have shown yourself in a new environment – among football fans in Olsztyn. Is it a chance for more recognition?
Until then, in this case, I’m not looking forward. I didn’t want to count on the upgrade, but was pleased with the new environment. I like to make new friends, as well as in the world of sports.
Maybe I don’t like sports, but I started to get interested in football and to be honest, when I was in the match, the atmosphere on the field made a huge impression on me. It was worth it, it was a completely different experience than watching the meeting on TV.
You’ve had contacts with athletes before.
Yes, of course. In 2013, Wojtek Szczęsny (currently Juventus goalkeeper) saw my painting at the Fibaka Gallery in Warsaw and immediately decided to buy it. It was good fresh.
Where did your interest in art come from?
I’ve always wanted to draw since I was a kid. I attended art club lessons. Later I was in art school and then joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. I returned to Olsztyn. I love this city.
Today we have the Internet. You don’t have to be in another city to do something on a larger scale. Conditions are important. I feel better here.
Why work in Olsztyn, located on the fringes of Polish art, and not in, say, Warsaw or Krakow?
Warsaw scares me a little. I had exhibitions there too. I have been to Fibaka Fair for two years. I had vernissages in Norway or Sweden. But Olsztyn is working for me correctly. I feel better here. And I enjoy working here. My friends and acquaintances are here.
What inspires you?
I surround myself with things that inspire me. I work in the countryside and work in the city. I have a view of the old city from my studio. doing its job.
And the people?
I don’t want to mention it because it’s a secret. There are many of them. They are people who deal with various fields of creativity, from literature to music to art. I have masters. I prefer not to mention it, because someone might suggest it. Let the inspiration remain a secret.
Music is perhaps the biggest motivator. I work and even sleep with her. Apart from that, views, photos, people, meetings, conversations – all this is an inspiration. Even the non-positive parts of life are also a kind of inspiration.
Where do you get ideas for your creations?
I do not limit my work to images or abstractions only. I don’t set any limits. And if I come across any of them, I try to expand them for opportunities. I have always been interested in abstraction and portraiture. I will stay with this now. I don’t know what I’ll do in five years.
I’m glad you brought up the topic of borders. Once I had the opportunity to interview Waldemar Wojciechkovsky “The Demon of Kazimierz”, a famous watercolor painter. He said one thing that stuck in my memory – “Limitations are harmful to the artist.”
Yeah. When you limit your creativity, you are not an artist but a craftsman. This applies to people who set their limits or who rely on what is a best seller. Artists must be unpredictable.
In the age of the Internet, Facebook and Instagram, they all call themselves artists. It is good for people to create and not close.
Once upon a time, the artist was a man who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and exhibited his paintings in galleries. There was no other way to show myself. Today we can show ourselves on the Internet. There are a lot of people who promote painting, literature and music in this way. That’s great. I am also often inspired by them. These people, although they did not graduate from high school, also have talent and talent.
It is also an interesting topic. Now, in the age of media, all art practitioners consider themselves artists. But it really isn’t. Where are these limits?
It is difficult to define the word artist. A person who has to create something, having the character of creative creativity, has the right to call himself an artist. Feel it inside. Some people misuse this term. Today is an advertisement for your person. However, they cannot be prevented from doing so. It is their right.
On the other hand, I don’t think anyone will get the status of an artist after drawing two portraits. Nothing can be found so far from his works. Still not born yet. But if we see 20 or 30 paintings by a painter, we can already say something about him.
In contrast, it was very difficult for me to write that I am an artist. Perhaps because I am humble about this word, I have lived in this climate since I was a child and strive for perfection in what I do. But people call me that, so keep it that way. Creator’s word is better. He is someone who creates. He must create, otherwise he cannot live.
I prefer trying not to use the word artist. I would even say I am a painter. Then people ask me if the wall (Laughter).
Do you have such a situation?
Recently, riding the elevator to my studio, dressed in work clothes, I came across someone who was renovating apartments in this building. It looked similar to me, only my pants were more varied because they were covered in more colours. He asked me suspiciously, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” It was funny. I answered it under this and that. We didn’t go into details, but it was a fun experience.
What is Creative Painter’s Day?
Today’s mine is different from what it was two and five years ago. I try to fight for the freedom that allows me to use myself at work. I try to let go of boundaries because they prevent me from being creative. It’s not easy. We live in a society, we pay the bills, and we refuel with more expensive fuel. These are limitations, a reality we must live in. But we cannot take away this inner freedom. The mind must be free. I’m trying to water this freedom.
Do you avoid routine?
If I notice that something is too easy for me, I run away for more difficult things. I set the bar higher for myself. It’s like exercising in the gym. I train my brain and it allows me to constantly evolve. I am looking for new goals.
There are moments in creativity when works turn out well and the heart rejoices when they sell well. However, I think this is a trap because it locks us in the limits we’ve talked about. They are dangerous, so I prefer to venture more in this area. Even if you don’t know something, it’s always hand or head training.
When I go somewhere, I like to go out into the field or into the city without a GPS or a map. You can often come across as a surprise. We happen to miss our destination, it’s a ride for the sake of wandering. It’s the same in drawing. I don’t always reach my goal. I’m just wandering the drawing path. That’s cool too
A Creator who wants to achieve something must not look at what people expect, but follow the voice of the heart.
Yes, of course. To be real, you can’t fool yourself. That’s awful. It’s a prison for me. The same is true of exhilarating creativity. Once, when I was in college, a professor told us, “If you feel like you’re doing joyful creativity, you can finish it.”
It is a good thing that our assumptions prove correct. I also like surprises that surprise me. It is worth the risk. This is the basis. at any age.
Do you have any advice for young creatives?
They must be in tune with their hearts and heads. If they want to enter art, let them do so. There are always obstacles, someone will say – do not worry about them, it is not profitable. But if we lie to ourselves from the start, we won’t be able to do it later. We must do what the heart dictates, even the storm, because we will not be happy in life. This can be applied to any profession, be it a policeman, firefighter, or chimney sweep. I knew what I wanted to do from the start.
Thank you for the conversation.