Teresa Waclawik, who is primarily an artist but has also achieved success as a cartoonist and a stand-up comic, last visited New Zealand in 1988, where she worked alongside Maori carvers in Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty.
In addition to her three-month stay in New Zealand during the ’80s, Waclawik has also studied art history in Florence, Italy, stayed in Poland for over a year, and has travelled all over her home country of Canada.
She says these experiences have helped to inform her unique art perspective.
“Every artist has a style, and mine is very contemporary, as it doesn’t have an old world feel. I’m not doing realistic so much as I’m using realism, I’m adding my own spin to it.”
Waclawik’s work is not something that you can walk past and not take notice of. She describes it as “Bright, colourful, contemporary, whimsical, fun… I think that my work is very modern… if you see my work, you know that it’s my work.”
This talent was evident early in her life, before she realised later that this would take hold as her lifelong passion.
“I started when I was 12, and somewhere around 30, I did one painting and I said ‘that’s it’, and then I just carried on in that way.”
Art is a passion, she says, that needs to be maintained constantly.
“I can’t imagine not doing it. If I’m not doing it, underneath I’m not happy. I’m a creative being, so I have a need to express.”
She says she keeps creatively active, pushing the boundaries, as artists are wont to do.
“Artists are supposed to speak, and say, their realities, or what reflects everyone’s reality… maybe I’m saying things that other people can’t, you know…they don’t know how.”
Her special talents are not only a benefit to those who see it, but also to herself. In the past she has used art to get her through difficult periods in her life, most notably when she suffered a serious injury;
“I had a serious bike accident in 2003 and to recover eventually I did a painting of it, because I couldn’t lift my arm because I landed on my arm.
“So I would do an hour a day, and eventually I had a big painting and it was all about my accident, and when you look at it, you can feel the accident, you know what happened there.”
To see Teresa Waclawik’s work, visit Teresawaclawik.com or her YouTube page, The Face of Vancouver. - CL