We first started following Alicja Wołkowska (IG @justbecausepanda) when we came across her beautiful work with alcohol inks. The way she controls and moves the inks, creating overlapping and intricate designs is stunning. And that's just the beginning!
If you follow her work, you'll see a wide range of art forms and techniques that demonstrate her command of different mediums and her incredible talent. From beautiful inks to resin and fluid art and more! It's hard to imagine how she could be so good at so many different things!
In this interview, Alicja tells us about how she began, her process of experimentation and her commitment to just keep going. We hope you enjoy learning more about this amazing Master!
You have an interesting story! Tell our audience how you got into art?
It’s so hard to say what got me into art because it feels like I’ve been creating stuff for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid, I didn’t have fancy art supplies because I grew up in a tiny village in Poland, and let’s just say it was a REALLY long time ago, haha! So, I used whatever I could lay my hands on. I made little figurines out of chalk, I doodled with any pens I could find, and one of my early memories is drawing on rocks and selling them. Believe it or not, I actually sold a few!
As I grew up, I got interested in digital art and started making 3D scenes and photo montages. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but I really enjoyed it. After I finished university (I thought about becoming a graphic designer but ended up as a software engineer because it felt more challenging, and I love a good challenge), I moved to the UK. That’s where I embarked on my adventure of crafting cosplay costumes and sculpting figurines out of pretty much anything I could find, like bits of cloth or even blue tac. I also discovered these amazing art stores where I spent hundreds of pounds on materials I didn’t even know how to use, but I was determined to use them. It was a blast creating, experimenting, and trying out new things.
When I returned to Poland a few years ago, I stumbled upon fluid art on YouTube, and I thought, “OMG, this is it! I want to create colorful, beautiful, flowy things!” I started experimenting with all sorts of art and non-art materials, thinking about how to use things that weren’t necessarily meant for art. With pour painting, I also got into working with resin and alcohol inks, and those have become my main areas of focus. I still dabble in various mediums like watercolors, gypsum, texture paste, thermoplastic, and more, but I don’t often share those creations because, well, I don’t think I’m that great with them, haha!
But that’s not the point; I’m having fun creating, and that’s always been my main goal. During the day, I work as a digital developer, but art is my big passion outside of work. I have loads of interests and love leading a diverse lifestyle, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll become a full-time artist. I also host art workshops in Krakow, which is an incredible opportunity for me to connect with other creative folks and have fun doing what I love so much. Whatever I earn from my art, I pour right back into it.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is a constant companion of mine, and it can strike from just about anywhere. Sometimes, I may appear lost in thought, but in reality, I’m painting in my mind, conjuring up new ideas. These imaginative sessions are sparked by the simplest of things, like a flower I saw on my way home, a music video, or even a random piece of fabric I stumbled upon. Much of my artwork takes shape first in my thoughts before it finds its way onto the canvas.
Of course, fellow artists are another big source of inspiration. Social media is a treasure trove of talent, and I’m continually inspired by the vast community of artists sharing their work online. I must also give a shout-out to the incredible art community on Instagram, a community that is so supportive and encouraging!
What is your favorite part of the process?
Without a doubt, I find great joy in experimenting with various art supplies and techniques. But above all, the act of creating itself. It’s like a meditation, a form of art therapy that calms me down and helps me deal with busy, daily life.
What is your least favorite part of the process?
Well, it’s mainly a never-ending struggle of not having enough space, and cleaning... oh boy, the cleaning haha! Fluid art can get really messy, and cleaning up after it takes a long time. I also don’t like wasting art materials, so I keep a lot of supplies around and try to use them again later. That’s why I always seem to be running out of space. My workspace is pretty packed (hence the lack of space). I’ve got albums full of acrylic skins, bottles with paint mixtures that I’ve sealed up to keep them from drying out, and a bunch of containers from products that I’ve cleaned and kept for future use. I even save yogurt cups and coffee cups to use as containers for paints.
Do you have a favorite piece of art that you have created? What made it special?
That’s a tough question, as I find it nearly impossible to single out just one piece as the most special to me. However, if I were to pick one, it would be a resin painting I created. I used a silicone mold to craft an adorable bear and then built an entire scene using resin and vibrant pigments. I personally cut out the base and small elements from plywood, and I absolutely adore the final result. Creating art that’s both colorful and cute brings much joy to my heart and brings my inner child out! Of course, every piece I create with a specific loved one in mind holds a special place in my heart, but in truth, a whopping 86% of my creations find a special spot in there. The remaining 14% might initially seem like “failed” pieces, but I never discard them. Instead, I either enhance or modify them, knowing that one day they’ll also hold a unique place of significance.
What advice would you give to new or up and coming artists?
Don’t give up if things don’t initially go your way. Make sure to experiment with art and have fun doing so! And never allow anyone to diminish your work’s significance or discourage you from your creative journey. Embrace your unique self and let your brilliance shine through in everything you do!
Where can people find you?
And, of course, don’t forget to peruse my Etsy shop, where you can not only purchase my artwork but also find a selection of art supplies at https://justbecausepanda.etsy.com/
. Your support and interest are greatly appreciated!