It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…all the caffeine you’ve had, it’s making you see things.
Coffee is basically a superpower in a cup – it takes us from being morning zombies to turning us into the Flash. And Konrad – a.k.a Gambil – created a coffee-inspired design he literally painted with coffee that represents the spirit of everyone’s favorite drink.
We talked to Konrad about his coffee painting, painting with coffee, and his incredible painted urban environments. Check out the interview below! But first, go grab a cup of sweet, sweet caffeine.
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You’re a bit of a mystery – tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? Where are you from? What’s your favorite dessert?
My name is Konrad. I live in Krakow, Poland. I deal in paintings as well as work in graphic design. In my free time I love to play my electric guitar. What is my favourite dessert? Well, I love the sense of fulfillment I get after I have completed a painting at my studio. I can look at a finished piece and think “Nothing more needs to be added. Good job.”
Besides that, I love chocolate ice cream.
This is your first win and second print at Threadless, congratulations! How does it feel?
I had a feeling that I might win. Who should win other than the biggest fan of coffee in the world? Seriously though, this win was a big surprise for me because I saw a few other entries for the competition that I thought were better.
Speaking of being a coffee fan, big coffee drinker?
Definitely, I drink way too much. I’ve already drunk a sea of black coffee and there is probably more of such black seas ahead of me.
When I saw this challenge , I thought, “Man. This is your topic. You have to do something to celebrate your long-term relationship with coffee.”
Did you paint this design WITH coffee?
I made a coffee, strong as hell. I drank it and plunged the brush into it in turns, painting on paper. That is how this image was created.
This design, as well as your traditional pieces of art, have such a soft, watercolor look to them. What medium do you use?
If I want to get this effect, I use a very thinned traditional oil paints, water mixable oils, or acrylics. Of course, I use the watercolors when I paint on paper. Water! This is my main medium. I love to drink large amounts of pure water, use it to paint, and whenever I get a chance I swim. I am an Aquarius. Maybe this is the reason ;)
Do you do art for a living?
Not exactly. If we are talking about paintings that I have created, I only compose them when I have some particular idea. I cannot treat painting as a full-time job, but I cannot live without it either.
Your paintings are beautiful – how did you learn to achieve such a unique style?
I studied architecture, and urban themes are very close to me. However, I am a self-taught painter. I don’t like to think that I have a very unique style. I believe that this is just the beginning of my painting road and further artistic development, which I have a very great need.
What inspires you most about city scenery?
Definitely people! Otherwise what is a city for? To me it is primarily a record of the history of people. The people who created the city in the past, those who are creating in it in the present and those who will build in the future.
I’m not only talking about the physical buildings of a city, but also the atmosphere and character of a city that is a result of the people who live there.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Over the years, the works of many artistic revolutionaries have made a great impression on me. Revolutionaries such as Pablo Picasso, Kazimir Malevich and Jackson Pollock all had the courage to show the world something new yet controversial. I am inspired by many artists, but recently my attention has been especially drawn to the works of figurative painters such as: Peter Doig, Daniel Richter or Hernan Bas.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a little obsessed with your city paintings. Are they based on places you’ve been? What art style do you model your work after, if any?
Sure, you can link my work to a type of painting style, but I totally don’t think about it, and I don’t want to. My paintings are based partially on places I’ve been to, those that I have seen on photographs and movies or completely made up from my imagination. Inspiration lurks around every corner.
All images courtesy of Konrad’s Instagram and website. Check ’em out!