Artist of the Month - Kuba Świetlik
5 months ago
Portrait, Kuba Świetlik
- what was the first photography book you bought?
It was Deja Vu by Jean Baptiste Mondino. I had just started my journey with photography and back then it represented everything I wanted photography to be. It was slick, sexy, gay, super commercial yet transgressive and with a lot of pop culture idols being portrayed in it.
- what is your favourite colour?
All shades of blue.
- who are your photographic influences?
There are many of them. It’s always changing with time, just as much as your taste and interests are transforming. One of my favourite topics in photography has always been adolescence, so I’ve been admiring photographers who are able to depict the awkwardness and beauty of this life period. Tobias Zielony, Rineke Dijkstra, Danielle Levitt to name a few. I’m obsessed with Alasdair McLellan for the same reason, but also because his work has this very slight touch of gayness. It’s a nice mix of fashion photography and something very authentic. I think his casting is what makes him so special as well. And this part of creative process has always been crucial for me too. And then you have so many great queer photographers right now who are exploring sexuality and male body in such a beautiful way. Florian Hetz and Gerardo Vizmanos are my favourites. When it comes to portraying and lightning my great idol for a very long time is Nadav Kander.
- what is your favourite museum?
I think one of my favourites is Haus der Kunst in Munich. First of all because of the historical context and the strong statement that this gallery is. This is purely Nazi architecture and a place where Hitler presented a showcase of 'the greatest German art' in opposition to what was supposed to be 'degenerate art'. It’s like the middle finger pointed at any type of ideology that tries to limit freedom of expression. And I have seen some of the best exhibitions there over the years.
- if you could buy any photograph which would it be?
I would go for one of the first shoots Steven Klein did with David Beckham for Arena Hommes Plus or with Brad Pitt for W Magazine in the 2000s. Or something from 'Exercise at Home’ by Luke Smalley. I love the tension and playfulness of this series.
- your favourite holiday destination?
I don’t have a favourite place. I like exploring places that fulfil my fantasies about big cities like New York, LA, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and others. On the other hand I love exploring nature which can be just anywhere in the world. Recently I enjoyed Sicily a lot, but I also miss the Polish Baltic sea sometimes.
- if there is one living person you could photograph who would it be?
Honestly it’s very hard to answer this question. There are people whom I admire or I like the way they look, but I don’t think that I necessairly want to photograph them. It’s also hard to say if you haven’t seem them live. I feel way bigger satisfaction if I see someone random on the street or at a party and the way they look fascinates me. I want to then bring what I saw into the picture. And ask them to pose without giving an impression of being creepy.
- what is your guilty pleasure?
Excessively exploring a forgotten music genre called Eurodance on YouTube.
- what is your favourite city?
I go back to cities because I want to feel the vibe I particularly enjoyed about them. But this is changing so one time I feel I want to go back to the ones mentioned already, the other time it’s different. Once I go back, I feel satisfied for a bit. Until next time.
- which charities do you support?
The World gives me so much anxiety right now, I feel like I want to help a new one every month. But I’ve been supporting a few from Berlin that are engaged in helping people in the Ukraine. You also have crisises within crisises and there will always be people who are exposed to discrimination in how the help is being distributed. In this case for instance people of colour or queer people. It’s good to have that in mind. I’m lucky enough to be working for an institution that has been engaged a lot in helping victims of this war. There is also a forgotten but still existing crisis on Polish-Belarusan border where people from the Middle East, Africa and other places are being pushed by the Lukashenka regime through the border. They are not being accepted as refugees by the Polish government. At the same time Poland opened its borders to around 3 million people escaping Ukraine over the past months. Again the racist aspect of it is devastating. I have friends who went to the border and there are people and NGOs like Grupa Granica that are trying to help. I support them too.
See all artworks Kuba Świetlik here