Weronika Siwiec is an Amsterdam-based, Warsaw-born, self-confessed ‘creative’. With a background in architecture, graphic design and editing (she’s the co-creator of a feminist magazine), Weronika has found her forte with her unique illustrations of women. We stumbled across Weronika’s drawings on Instagram, where her playful characters pull faces, pose, huddle together or recline on their own. Always nude and drawn with her distinctive black paint line, Weronika has developed a style that puts the female body at the forefront (in the best possible way) and taps into the current mood of strong, simple and full-of-character line drawings.
Weronika shared her thoughts with us about why nudity is so important to her work, what it’s like to be an artist in the Amsterdam and her former life as a working architect…
“Drawing was one of my first ways of expression. And even though I had my first solo show in kindergarten, I left it for a while and picked it back up two years ago. Since then, I’ve been devoting a lot of time to finding my own tone of voice, both through style exploration and themes I illustrate.”
On the female body:
“Body is such a fascinating topic. I feel that in our society we are detached from our physicality, we are not taught to listen and trust it. We demand a lot from our bodies, neglect them, put them through discomfort, pain and exhaustion. In my personal research, both in illustration and movement, I try to give the voice back to the body, I believe in its wisdom and intuition.
A friend recently told me that women, in order to explore their feminine side, have to first experience their “masculine” energy: fast, strong, more aggressive. Personally I am in this moment of letting myself soften. Femininity for me is powerful but sensitive, it has a strong presence but is gentle and compassionate. I try to portray this image in my drawings.”
“Our society sees female nudity almost only in a sexual way, bringing it down to an object of men’s desire. For me the naked body is a symbol of vulnerability and honesty, of letting go of social roles and constraints. It has this beautiful primitive power of making all humans equal. I love the view of naked people in nature, on a beach or swimming in the lake. It’s pure freedom.”
On life in Amsterdam:
“I love the pace of life in Amsterdam. There is so much happening, yet there is no rapidity and noise that’s typical in other capitals. Life here is slower and gives opportunities to be more present. It gave me a possibility to look more inwards and be more focused on my real passions. Also, Amsterdam often has the most beautiful sky and light - I find it very inspiring.
When I do want to unwind, movement is my favourite form of relaxation: through yoga, dancing or circus arts. I have also recently started meditating regularly and I recommend it to everyone with a busy mind.”
On being an architect:
“I have a background as an architect, but I have never been passionate about it until I came across the natural building movement. I find building from earth, clay, straw, stone and wood poetic and human. Building out of natural local materials is a slower process, but it’s a much more personal way of creating a real home. Three years ago I conducted a project of a collective construction of a tiny house. Together with 100 people we built a beautiful small house in the Polish mountains, fully out of local natural materials. The process of building something physical together is an amazing experience.”
All images: Weronika Siwiec