Aga Giecko Studio Tour
Hi Aga! Can you tell us how your collaboration with Lazy Oaf came about?
I’ve always loved Lazy Oaf since I was a kid back in Poland. Then when I began studying here and saw the competition for Lazy Oaf’s ‘Take A Break' exhibition I thought you know what, I’m going to take a chance and enter and that was it…. I got into the exhibition!
Afterwards I got an email from Gemma asking me to come to the studio, and I thought it could be to buy a painting or maybe even design a poster, I never thought this would happen. When we talked Gemma said she really liked my work and asked if I'd like to work on a collection with them, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s a dream come true and a job that really doesn’t feel like a job.
How did you start to generate the ideas & characters for our ‘Grow Your Own’ collection?
I went on eBay and bought lots of books on vegetables and gardening. Then trawled the charity shops and found ‘The Munch Bunch’, an amazing 80’s children’s book about vegetables. I looked through everything and did as much research as possible watching every gardening video I could find on Youtube, then just started drawing..
What’s your favourite thing you designed in the range?
I love the jumper I'm wearing (Wallflower High Neck Sweatshirt)
How did you get into illustration and turn it into a career?
I enjoy reading history books and wanted to study law in Poland as I was kind of afraid of going abroad. But then a friend of mine applied to study in London and suggested I do the same to just see what happens. I always liked to draw but thought there was no way I’d be able to make a living from it as my illustrations are quite silly so I thought no one would employ me.
He really encouraged me to try and make it as an illustrator in the UK, so I applied at the last-minute thinking I’d always regret it if I didn’t try, I got in and 4 years later I’m still here. I’m slowly trying to make illustration my career, it’s quite difficult with it all being freelance at the moment so I still have a day job, but it’s going way better than I expected.
If you weren’t pursuing illustration what would you be doing?
I would have probably studied law, but I didn’t actually want to be a lawyer, I just wanted to study it. Maybe something else with art. I really like art direction; I always wanted to have a magazine for illustrators, so maybe I’d be working on that.
How would you describe your illustration style?
I like to say it’s funny and cheeky. It’s also very wobbly and wonky because my hands are really shaky. People tell me I have really nice lines as it’s so wonky, but really, it’s just my hand.
What are the key parts of your creative process?
I love doing research, to me it’s the most important part. When I’m working on a project, I’ll spend a week or more just going to exhibitions, searching book shops, looking online and researching everything I can about it. I love charity shops as well; I think if you have good research to begin with you can complete a project so much faster.
What are the key themes you find yourself coming back to over & over again in your work?
I do bananas a lot! That was my degree project; I had no idea what I wanted to do and everyone else had amazing subjects and themes for their work. Then I did a small project about the fact that 50% of a banana's DNA is the same as humans and I just drew people as bananas, turned out people really liked it. Oh, and I also like to draw bums on things.
Who or what would you say are your biggest influences?
I feel like it changes every day. I love Stefan Marks for just drawing with a Sharpie; that inspired me. I used to draw with a pencil but my lines being wonky, it never looked that good. Then I discovered him and I thought, I can just draw with a Sharpie pen. I love a lot of Polish artists from the 60’s. Henryk Tomaszewski is my favourite artist ever. And I love Matisse, I love Picasso.
What would be your dream project?
This (working with Lazy Oaf on Grow Your Own) is my dream project for now! I really, really want to travel to Japan & South Korea next year. Maybe to do an art residency there. That’s my next dream. I sell lots of my stuff and get a lot of good feedback from Japan. I love the culture too, it inspires me.
What’s the best thing about your studio?
I like the windows. And I like the fact that I share the studio with my boyfriend. He’s a DJ, he does some radio shows. And I love music. I love that I can just sit here and draw and he can just do his stuff and we can be together.
Where are your favourite places to go in London for inspiration?
I love the Tate Modern & Tate Britain. The National Gallery also. I love the British Museum as well. I just go to museums. Saatchi Gallery is also really nice.
What is your favourite thing about living in London?
I love how you can meet people from all around the world and you can actually be yourself and not worry about it. I was brought up in Eastern Poland and people really care what other people think about them. Whereas here no one cares and you can just do whatever you want and look however you want and no one will say anything. It’s amazing. And you have inspirations from all over the world, which didn’t have back home. It’s nice to be open to everything.