I always like going back to Cracow. It’s vibrant, multicultural and has a strong creative vibe. The art scene here however is a bit of a contradiction. The city is famous for its fine art academy and numerous galleries however street art has very little relevance. Most artist want to create large legal pieces but getting permission from local councils is near to impossible. The authorities here are conservative and don’t accept any rationale regarding the need to allow street art to flourish.
Nawer is a local artist, designer and a curator. He likes smoking funny looking cigarettes with a refreshing blue flavour insert in the filter. He runs exhibitions at Baraka in Kazimierz district of Cracow. The latest one being SatOne called Fall Of Mankind. The shows change every 5 weeks except for summers. They want to be able to invite more international artists however money is always tight. Now, big brands which in UK would are well known for supporting the scene, in Poland don’t find enough incentive to get involved and I don’t even have to tell you how fucked up that is. When it comes to the local authorities, whenever a commission is concerned they focus on promoting stuff like city history themes rather than fresh new art itself. Political correctness is another think artists have to struggle with. But I guess that’s how avant-garde works – you have to find your own way to make people hear your voice.
I have also managed to find an artist who breaks the rules a bit. His name is Radim and is in charge of a series of strange looking characters on the walls of Cracow. ‘They are fairies’ he says. ‘Some of them look after the people of Cracow and some refer to male female relations’. In fact there are 12 of them at the moment and they all have a different role or task. The artist leaves for the viewer to decipher symbolism and metaphors of each work. What’s interesting is that the Radim managed to have an album of his street works printed as part of his university course. No questions asked. Unfortunately due to recent floods in this part of Poland some of his pieces have been badly damaged.
I though I’d mention couple more places that are worth checking out if you’re around. Rezerwat Winyli is a cool record store with some quality retro vinyls. Kult Tattoo – quality ink from the city of dragon. Go to Idea Fix for some fresh interior design, fashion and accessories 100% made in Poland.
Next time I’m going to cover a bit of Warsaw art scene and share my feelings on the highly anticipated Fool’s Gold Tour featuring Insa and Inkie.