Dorota Pankowska is a 22 year old artist living in Brampton, Ontario. I have followed her blog, Dori the Giant, for a very long time now, and though I follow the word of screeds of amazing artists, the way she plays on words and phrases in her concepts is what consistently makes me think that's genius!
Did you grow up in a creative environment?
Quite! Me and my sister would always draw and paint when we were little. My grandmother especially supported it, but then when it came to a career, my parents were always against a creative one and would turn down my ideas of wanting to become a photographer or something along those lines. In the end I ended up going to photo school after all.
How long have you been taking photographs for?
I’ve been taking photographs for almost five years. Ever since I found out that digital cameras were affordable, I begged my mom to buy me one for Christmas when I was 17. Although it was a cheap pink point-and-shoot, I thought it was the coolest thing and I started learning how to Photoshop my images soon after that.
How many hours in an average week would you spend working on your art?
On a good motivational week, sometimes I spend an entire day or two working on an art project. When it comes to concepts and ideas, the best ones are often unexpected ones, which are often the result of a hilarious conversation, or pointless daydreaming. I’d like to think my best ideas were unexpected.
Is art a full time role for you?
No, most of my art projects are just personal or for portfolio means, although I do get commissioned to do freelance projects, which isn’t a steady income. I’m hoping to become an art director in the future though!
What else are you involved with?
I recently graduated from photography school, so lately I’ve just been doing part-time work or freelance work. As for hobbies… I pretty much love doing anything creative, from photography to street art. I try not to take art seriously, which is why I blog about every weird idea I get – it’s not really about whether or not other people like it. Artists make art because they personally enjoy it.
Do you have any training in photography or art?
I have a photography diploma, but aside from that I don’t have any professional training in art. I often self-teach myself online, although I think that learning online is a lot harder than it sounds!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There hasn’t really been one big highlight of my career just yet, although all the little things do add up for me, such as: getting into a magazine, getting into a newspaper, getting published online, winning small awards, and being in galleries. I always tell myself that big things always start as little things, so I’m hoping to accomplish a lot in the future!
What role has the internet played in your career so far?
The internet is a huge part of my life! I hope I don’t sound too nerdy, but I use the internet on a daily basis. The main thing I love about the internet is connecting with people, whether they’re friends or strangers. Opportunities won’t find you as easily if you don’t exist anywhere on the internet – especially if you’re shyer in person, such as me. I use it to apply for jobs, and through it I’ve always been contacted by people about jobs! But aside from networking, the internet is a huge source of inspiration, entertainment, and knowledge for me. I’m really thankful that it exists, and that I have access to it.
What photographic equipment do you currently use?
I still use the same camera I had to purchase for college which is the Nikon D300s with the 18-200mm lens. It’s pretty good, although it doesn’t quite compare to all the new cameras being released each year nowadays!
What editing equipment/programmes do you currently use?
I love Photoshop. No matter how experienced I feel like I am in it, I always learn new things every year. It’s kind of like a tool that helps make your imagination real. I always picture a photograph or a graphic in my head, or sketch it out, and then I open Photoshop and try to make it come to life with its tools.
Where would you love to have your work shown?
I really like Applied Arts magazine, although I don’t feel like I’m good enough to submit to that just yet! Aside from that, I haven’t really made it a goal yet to get anywhere in particular. I think for a beginner like me, it’s always exciting to get my name or work anywhere really!
Do you have a favourite piece of all you’ve created?
Yes! I really like my pine apple because it just looks really great on a shelf. It’s definitely my favourite right now.
Have you experimented with any other forms of art?
Of course. I have experimented with many forms of art, although I’m usually limited to things I could afford. I always see amazing works of art online, such as sculptures and installations where I just think to myself “Wow, I would love to have access to that kind of medium!” although I like to tell myself that in the future I just may get the chance.
How would you describe your artistic style?
INCONSISTENT! I actually don’t feel like I have a particular style of work because I often use different mediums, but my true passion is definitely creative concepts and things that are unique and creative. I don’t like to copy ideas or create crafts that other people innovated. I try to see where my own original thoughts can take me, and I guess being original is the main style which I would like to portray.
How do you find models sometimes used in your work?
Almost every model I’ve used is somebody I knew/met in person or somebody that is a friend of a friend. I don’t photograph people on a regular basis because I try to focus on having a concept or a series going first. I’m not really big on taking portraits without any prior ideas.
Have you experienced nerves, particularly if you have done paid work?
Yes! I usually experience that if I get asked to do a job which I’m not sure if I could do in the best way – such as not having the best equipment or not knowing enough of graphic design. I think my best advice would be to just be yourself and be confident. There will always be people who like your work, and people who don’t. And don’t take work too seriously, either – especially freelance. If somebody is giving you a hard time, it just may not be worth the money.
What inspires you?
This may sound strange but my ex-classmates from college inspire me. Whenever I see them accomplish things, or produce amazing work, I feel like if they can get that far, then so can I. I also feel like they’re on a similar level as I am when it comes to the industry, which is good for trading advice and helping one another up the ladder. A few conceptual artists who inspire me greatly also include: Erik Johansson, Terry Border, Brock Davis, and Rob Woodcox.
Do you have an early piece you could share, to compare with your recent work?
Sure. This [above] is a photo I took when I was 17, using my pink point-and-shoot camera. I started photographing nature and insects and compositions, and that’s pretty much when I started falling in love with all of photography!
What are your goals for the next five years?
My real goal is to create some really great projects that would set me apart from other people. Aside from that, I’m looking into becoming an Art Director and I have a dream to travel to Poland for a while. Although I’ve found that my goals never happen the way that I plan.