When I was younger I drew everywhere! In books, notebooks, chairs, tables, walls, bags, clothes... Everything was in my doodles. I created a mural in my room when I was teenager. My parents had to use five layers of paint to cover it all!
Karolina Pawlowska is a self-taught artist who relocated with her partner to the island four years ago. Originally from Warsaw in Poland, Karolina felt trapped by what she saw as the rat race of modern corporate life.
I saw frustrated people surrounded by fears and insecurities. They didn’t have a clue what they wanted from their lives and didn’t have time for their families and friends. I want them to stop for a moment and to cheer them up. I want to say "Hey, believe in yourself, be yourself. Don't be scared to live to the fullest and follow your dreams. Be happy". It's something that is both simple and difficult at the same time nowadays.
Determined not to subscribe to that lifestyle, Karolina decided to make a bold choice to follow her partner’s family to the Isle of Man. This was huge decision for Karolina but one that brought about a new opportunity for her art.
I just couldn't imagine life without my best friend and soulmate so after not thinking too much I decided to leave everything that I had: family, friends, favourite places and school to begin a new amazing story. Since then some of the most awesome things have happened!
Since relocating to the island, Karolina has been driven by her passion for art but initially struggled with a lack of self-belief. From submitting her pieces in the Castletown Art Trail in 2017 to showcasing her work at exhibitions and fairs, Karolina slowly began to build confidence in herself. After a long and insightful talk with her partner, Karolina started to believe more in her abilities.
He gave me so much advice and said so many powerful words. I changed my way of thinking about myself and my passion. He is this person who truly believes in me, who supports me with all his heart. During the art festival he took few days off to take care of our son and our home so I could fully focus on the mural. Isn't that amazing?
Most recently, Karolina received Arts Council funding to create a large wall mural in Castletown. Karolina presented her idea to the commissioners who instantly loved it and it was painted on the Civic Centre facing inward onto Barracks Square. The wall mural was painted over the May Bank holiday weekend as part of the Arts Festival 2018 and the public were invited to watch it being painted live.
During the festival a lot of people stopped by to see how I work. I remember when one couple said they watched from the very beginning of my project and said it's nice to see the progress. I'm so happy it interests people. The process isn’t fast, not like a "spectacular show" but instead it’s about slowly building what I have in my mind.
The design of a Manx loaghtan sheep was suggested to her by her father-in-law and instantly knew was the perfect choice.
I really wanted to give back something straight from my heart and do something that was important to the island. The loaghtan was ideal for my splashy style, and something I could put my thoughts and emotions into. I thought it would be so awesome to express myself with this Manx theme.
During the festival, visitors could watch and speak to Karolina during the process. There has been a real appetite for seeing ‘behind the scenes’ in recent years as it is a fascinating insight into how things are produced and many artists are beginning to share this aspect with their audiences more and more.
People gave me so many comments! I had so many interesting chats and I met so many lovely people during the festival. Later on when I shared few posts people have been commenting how my mural brightens up the place, how they smile when passing by and how they love the new art in Castletown. I saw people of all ages from kids to the elderly reacting to my project. Lots of people came back to me after my live painting. I'm so glad people enjoy it!
Karolina describes painting as like being in a bubble where she feels lost in her own art. Though she was amidst plenty of buzz, Karolina stated that the noises and distractions around her were just part of the background whilst she was painting.
Over the weekend I heard the music playing, the motorbike show and the noise from the May Day celebrations but it was like the volume for those were all turned down in my head. For me, time felt like it had stopped as I was painting. I hope people feel the same as what I feel during painting!
For Karolina, street art has always fascinated her. To do one herself has been one of her biggest dreams. (Aside from the one on the wall of her childhood room), this has been Karolina’s first public wall mural and an opportunity that she still can’t quite believe has happened.
I've always loved to watch other artists and how they create their amazing work. I enjoy seeing how they grow and succeed. I never thought I could be doing this as well! I was so touched by the response to it. I came back home in tears! It has been a really big thing for me to be a part of the island that I love so much and call home. I love how the island cares about local things, how people are proud to be here and how they can flourish. I can't imagine being anywhere else.
You can see Karolina’s mural permanently on the Castletown Town Hall building in Barracks Square. Currently two big canvases are in Castletown Civic Centre untill 25th May as a part of Art Festival and Karolina’s watercolor paintings are in the Castle Apartments. Some of her older artworks are displayed in The Shake Lounge in Douglas and some paintings from The Manx Miniatures exhibition are in the Isle Gallery shop in St Johns. More information about Karolina can be found on the Manx Art Directory and Creative Network pages.