Henryk Ptasiewicz
  • 63, Male
  • Saint Louis, MO
  • United States
  • 63119
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Born Scunthorpe in the North of England, July 17 1955

My style is realistic, it came about because of the influence of the Surrealists. If you can paint the real world, then you have a chance to illustrate another one. I liked to paint things which only existed in my mind. I was an only child with a lot of imagination and was always building things, some just to look at. I made some really fun, elaborately structured, Italian styled aeroplanes, but never flew them because of the time I had invested in them they were more sculpture than practical. I also built other elaborate toys including the ultimate toy, a type of carousel. The stand was a one thousand piece three dimensional puzzle. The theme was land, sea and air. The air was a flying whale, I loved the idea of a leviathan that could float like a balloon, the land was a train with legs like a millipede and the sea was a Viking boat, sculpture if there ever was. All powered by one of those steam engines that ran on methelayted spirits. I also was amazed at Celtic and Viking Art and I did a lot of work based on the Book of Kells. I drew my ideas and then began to paint in a realistic way to make real things that I couldn't build. With this in mind I applied to and got into Saint Martins School of Art in London with the idea of being a fantasy illustrator, designing for books and films.

I found success and settled in the fibre-glass industry making children's play equipment, which I both designed, sculpted and built. One of the highlights was I got to design and built a prototype boat for Jerry Dammers of the Specials, founder of the Two Tone label, a thirties gangster car which was a boat, to be used on the canals around Coventry, England, going once again back to the theme of toys, which I paint on a regular basis. I also had a desire to put craftsmanship back into making these things, I'd always liked carousel horses and admired the hand-carvers of the late 19th early 20th centuries and that was the standard that I held myself up to.

In the early eighties I had the good fortune to meet Robert Lenkiewicz. I had painted a lot of portraits of people and pets, which were nice, but I saw what it meant to paint someone from life. It's more than a superficial photographic representation, and, especially when painted life-size,the painting has a distinct presence in the room, that and Robert's work ethic, painting passed the point of exhaustion, very in depth knowledge of the things you were working with, and the value of the ordinary person on the street, no eight syllable words, no elitism, became my pinnacle to reach for.

I came to America in 1999 and have worked as an Artist since, painting Corporate and private portraits, painting around the country in plein air events, organising parties, making the props for them, I also went back to sculpting, this time the figure, and overall turning my attention back to painting portraiture. I still do design work, which I've also liked a lot, and the design styles of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, still hold a soft spot in my heart. Occasionally I like to paint the figure reflected in a mirror, I like shop interiors, standing on the street looking at a display which was put together by a window dresser and lit perfectly, and then you notice the reflections, area's that aren't lit reflect back what's behind you, but in reverse, then there's corner windows where you can see beyond what's in the shop itself. Two windows at right angles to each other produce one object, three reflections.

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At 2:38pm on April 16, 2011, Colin M. Shaw said…
Good 2 see ya last nite, Henryk!
At 10:51pm on April 14, 2011, andrew brandmeyer said…
beautiful work henryk! i love the expressive marks and how you bring out the chromasity of colors in your works.
At 9:57pm on October 13, 2010, j.a. Smith art said…
Hi Henryk! Thanks for the link to this site. Nice work, I enjoyed looking through your paintings. No problem for me to have uploaded the photos from last Thursday's drawing Meetup, glad I could help. Take care. Judy (j.a.Smith Art)

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