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art interview

Papaya Films Stickers Series

The pleasure that we have at The New Current is the opportunity to meet creative people who put such incredible passion and love into the work they create. Award-winning artists and Master Printmaker Ewa Budka took the time to answer some of our questions about her work, history in art and her recent work for Papaya Films.  


Hi Ewa thanks for talking to tNC I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your artistic background and education?

Studying at the Department of Graphic Art & Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, was a wonderful time. I loved it. I really put all my time into studying and being around other artists. I had a huge respect to the possibility of learning directly from the Masters of Polish Poster Movement, Masters of Polish Book Design, Master Painters- the best teachers Poland has to offer. 

During my studies, I was awarded the Art Scholarship to continue my personal research on a rarely practiced Japanese technique called Mokulito at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in MKE.  The time in Milwaukee was very special. I learned new ways how to artistically express myself, how to talk about my art.


It was a time where I could focus only on me and on my printmaking research to finalize it. That time was special because that’s the first time when I started teaching, giving lectures, workshops of my research results. That’s where I created my own printmaking technique Budkalito. I recommend Art Schools. They give you a very magical experience of shaping and mastering your art personality and skills with big Masters.

Did you always know you wanted to become a Master Printmaker?

Actually...No, I haven't. But I guess it wasn't a total surprise. I was raised in a house of Artists. My Father Jozef Budka ( is a printmaker - Professor of Lithography at the Academy of Fine Art in Katowice, my Mother Aleksandra ( is a printmaker doing etchings, my older sister Kasia ( is a graphic designer and a printmaker too. 

Growing up in a house full of art, printmaking, drawing and painting material, where creativity was cherished really played a huge part in whom I become. When I started my studies I thought of myself more as a book designer or illustrator than a printmaker. That's because since I was a little girl I was drawing a lot of illustrations creating handmade books. I loved drawing stories about dogs, mouses, and people. My sister would design clothes for my characters, and I was coming up with the stories.

I learned how to draw people from my Dad and his lectures about Italian Renesanse. I still have those notebooks with my 8 years old faze of "Italian profiles" characters. Later on, I got introduced by my Mom to German Expressionist and their prints. I thought they were fabulous and I realized that I can cut lino or wood, then print black and get a similar result to my drawings. But till I have started my research on Mokulito I haven't found my fav printmaking technique. 


"I recommend Art schools. They give you a very magical experience of shaping and Mastering your Art personality and skills with big Masters."

What was it about Printmaking that interested you as an artist?

I have to say it. Printmaking feels to me like home. Doesn't matter where I currently am in the world, the minute I walk into the printmaking studio, I smell it and I feel home. I find printmaking very calming and balancing. When I print all the senses are in one place. I find calm, balance and a place where I can freely express myself. I don’t think much I just do. I feel the smell, I hear the sound, I feel the paper I create my art.

Do you remember the first piece of work you completed?

The first piece...? Hmm...That had to be very very long time ago because as long as I remember I had a pen in my hand. My parents did a great job of storing all my art since I was 2 years old. When I am back home we often go through the cabinets, files, and closets full of my childhood book projects, posters, illustrations, sketchbooks.. it is an endless source of inspiration for my grown-up self. I admire the freedom of a colour and mark I used as a kid.

A lot of stories, words, animals, and people. I really loved drawing dogs and women. I have one drawing where I drew with a new blue ink pen  I think 400 of women, standing next to each other, piling like on a huge subway station, or pretending to be a human forest staring out off the paper. Each of them is different. 

I may have been 7 years old. I remember because my Dad gave me this pen for my first day at School.

Can you tell me a little bit about your recent work for Papaya Films, what was the inspiration behind these unique designs?

My designing takes a few parts. Inspiration, writing, sketching, scanning and then designing. Having a project to work on I am thinking about the design solutions 24h a day. I often ask clients for only a few words to give me so I can build my design on. When Kacper ordered the first part of the stickers he told me “do something about the cities Papaya is in”. That was enough. I started to create unique sets of symbols representing in my eyes London, Warsaw, and New York City

I was lucky as I have had a chance to live in all of them. Spending time in each city, making notes, sketches and observations helped to develop my own symbolism, feelings about each city. London was very gray, and rainy for me. Touches of colour are Red from the buses and Yellow from the rain jackets. Warsaw had always an interesting power pulsating from the Wisla River and Syrenka story. New York City is a colourful, messy, laud, multi-culture place. 

I tried to express the differences and similarities of all of these places in Ewa Budka's eyes.

What inspires your work?

Everyday life, everyday emotions. People on the street, colors of the city, typography on walls, awnings, clothes, patterns on the shelves of the grocery store, fruits, lips, music, rhythm, black ink, words, art made by others. But I cannot mention that I was literally raised on a Polish Poster Movement and the power of the Metaphor. When I was a little girl my parent's friends would come to us for a dinner and dinner would evolve into art talk, drawing sketches of posters on a napkin, talking about color, composition and abstract metaphors.

The Polish School of Poster Movement is one of the examples of weapon, which artists choose to fight with their reality. The Polish School of Poster combined the aesthetics of painting and printing. It developed characteristic painterly gesture, linear quality, vibrant colors, a sense of individual personality, fantasy and most importantly undercover political meanings. It was a way Polish artists were fighting with the authorities. They tricked them with colorful pictures that seemed as nothing dangerous. Now I created prints, paintings, designs very much inspired by that. 

I try to create a certain aesthetic tension between the images, symbols, sometimes printed sometimes freely painted. I play with hand-lettered slogans, inventing my own metaphor as a hybrid of words and images.

Budka_making off Papaya stickers vol I.j

Is there a particular theme that your work follows?

I usually try to create a cohesive collection based on client needs or what a particular project needs. I think that there has to be always at least one thing tieing up all of your work together. It can be a line, a particular colour, brush stroke. In my art, I follow my heart but that directs as well as some rules. 

How much has your style and approach to your work changed since you started?

I feel like I am coming back to my roots. As I said  I have been drawing as long as I remember. Always picking up a black marker and a white paper. Sometimes I would steal my Dads colourful crayon pencils to mark some of the black and white stories with colour.

In Art School, I had to step out of everything I knew and learned through my life. I got into professor Leon Tarasewicz Painting Group and he told me if I want to start painting, I had to throw everything I know out of the window and start painting with hands the way I would do as a 3 years old. I remember at the beginning I wasn’t happy-it was challenging. This exercise took almost a whole year. Now I see how that was an amazing experience helping to rebuild my mark making, to get in touch with my own true self.

As your work is filled with so much emotion does it get hard for you to hand over your work once it's complete?

Some of my pieces have marked “Not for Sale” but most of my art is for sale. The one which is not for Sale are usually booked for an upcoming exhibition, or another plan I have with my work. I actually love sharing my artworks with the others.


There is this amazing pleasure when a client, collector or gallery contacts me writing: “This piece touched me... I love it, It spoke to me”. “It brights my day” “I smile when I look at it” “I like being around your marks”. It is the most rewarding feeling artist could get in my opinion.

What is the feeling you get as an artist when you see your work in a public space for the first time?

I have to be honest. It is an amazing feeling. I just had an opening at Christian Soriano store The Curated which is literally in front of MoMA. When I was walking on the street with my big paintings, I saw them in a different dimension, out of my studio and people were stopping, asking questions, doing photos. That dialog is very crucial to me. Then when the paintings and prints hanged on Christian Siriano's walls... It felt like magic. I created the paintings not knowing what would happen to them. I was just painting so much my Brooklyn studio. 


Christian contacted me with the genius concept of his space curated by him. The pieces are for sale but we both agreed that they just fit there perfectly like I just magically knew when they would hang.


Showing, hanging, sharing my art it is very important. Without this- without the audience art doesn’t exist.


Who are some of your inspirations?

I am very inspired by a moving image, music, and word. I am obsessed with a Cinema. If I spend a day without music I feel like I missed something very important. Reading and writing have a huge impact on me. A printed word in a book or magazine with a fresh smell of an ink in the bookstore is like a drug to me.

I can spend hours looking through the press, touching book covers and literally mind eating every letter. Almodovar is one of my favourite movie directors. He touches me with his emotional abstract stories, strong colours, and powerful Woman/Man figures. When I am in my studio music is always in my ears. I have a huge collection of playlist named by emotion, poem, or an important moment I had created it for.

That brings me back to the roots of emotion and I can start expressing and exploring it with my paints.

What three words would best describe your work?


For an up and coming artist is there any advice you could offer them?

I would say: “always be honest with your mark making and don’t pretend someone else”. It takes time to figure out your own expression and world. But it is worth it. This is the only way to become successful.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your work?

I want my art to move people. To create a spark of emotion. At least stop for a second in their daily routine. I would like them to feel and see something when they see my art. When it touches them, moves them, I know I achieved what I wanted.

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