This month you will see two very distinctive styles in Dominika Warchol Hann’s exhibit at Motion Gallery. On one hand, you will find paintings of mechanical anatomy, with skulls and ribs, and on the other hand, renditions of curvy classical cars, full of colour and personality.
Three main topics stand out in Dominika’s creative process: watchmaking, anatomy, and vehicles. They are not all that different from one another, and when considering this, you can find yourself imagining a style of art that is distinctive in the cyberpunk genre. These interests also gives us an understanding into Dominika’s creative processes.
Expressing her love for mechanical objects, she is known for taking things apart, from plumbing to keyboards, only to put everything back together again, thereby honing her watch repairing skills, which makes sense when you consider that she is a problem solver in her day-time career. This influence can be seen in illustrated shapes of clockwork mechanisms.
A fascination with skulls and ribs are strongly linked to her parents, who work in the medical field. Dominika tells us she grew up with anatomy books, antique pharmacy bottles, and very small sculptures of teeth. These lent to Grey’s Anatomy style sketches, with labelled descriptions intertwined with illustrations of flowers, branches and faces, wrapped around the skulls and ribs.
Her more recent paintings of cars, are the result of falling in love with the colour pallet presented in a blue GMC truck, parked by a red shed. One of her biggest influences for this is, unsurprisingly, the neighbourhood she lives in, Inglewood – with its strong sense of community and unique classic cars. She explains,“Cars are embedded with such personality and provide many opportunities for personification, which I strive to capture in my work.”
Travelling is another big factor in Dominika’s life, since she enjoys visiting museums. Many images she captures are translations of her experiences, such as her recent trip to Japan, which opened up an interest in modernist art, using bright colours, clean anime-style lines, and origami.
Having experimented with a variety of mediums, Dominika considers herself a mixed medium artist. She first began her art ventures with image transfers of her popular skulls series, but admits this technique is rough on her fingers, which caused her to lose some fingerprints. These days she has taken to silk-screening, and immensely enjoys this process. She often adds layers upon layers to her original print, which in some cases starts out as a Photoshopped digital image, adding a base colour with a palette knife, and then embellishing each piece with watercolour, or acrylic ink markers for clean lines.
When creating, she is inspired by the moment and prefers not to plan ahead. For as long as she enjoys painting, she will continue making art. She enjoys the meditative serene sense she gets from making art, but will often flip over from painting classic cars to painting skulls.
Born in Poland, her family moved to Edmonton in 1990, and she moved to Calgary with her husband three years ago. For as long as she can remember, Dominika wanted to be an artist. In fact, she never thought of herself as anything other than an artist. She recalls the first image she drew with crayons was a flea. At the age of ten, she started going door-to-door selling her art to neighbours, which were mostly sketches drawn on regular printer paper.
Her art style tends to gravitate towards surrealist and modernist movements, blending elements of each. Inspired by Salvadore Dali, and the Group of Seven, Dominika also finds inspiration from her friends, and admires Andy Warhol’s skills as a creative, avid producer of arts, and his unique business sense. She tells us, “Overall, when viewing my work, I hope you find yourself imbuing the cars and the skulls with a personality of their own. Whether they represent dreams, journeys, thoughts or people.”
You can find Dominika’s art at the annual Edmonton Artwalk, which she has taken part in for the last ten years running, and you can also find more of her art on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DominikaWarcholArtist
Written by Sandra Montgomery
Edited by Renee Laferriere