Ola Niepsuj is a Warsaw based, ambitious and enterprising young graphic designer and illustrator. Her visual trademark style is a result of combining handmade graphics; ink, cut&paste and pencil typography and illustrative elements with digital design. The cut&paste techniques enables her to create rich textures and multi-layered pieces, with a light tongue-in-cheek attitude.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and describe what you do?
My name is Ola Niepsuj and I am a Warsaw based graphic designer and illustrator. I studied at the Academies of Fine Arts in Poland and Portugal. I design posters, visual identities and infographics, while my illustrated comments have found their way into numerous Polish and international magazines, books, textbooks and children’s publications.
How would you describe your style, what inspires you?
I work with pencil, ink, paint, spraypaint and collage. I copy old papers, books, magazines, postcards, lettraset by Xerox, often magnify some parts. I’m usually searching for interesting patterns and lopsided lettering. I work mainly analogue, only slightly correct and clean things up in Photoshop.
In my drawings, I search for humor and ambiguity. I like extreme deformations, but always funny and never scary, for instance an extremely tall person; surprising juxtapositions, a squirrel on a bike. I am also keen on inventions of the past, unknown species, books of records, folk, kids and primitive art (for its sincerity and straightforwardness).
I like to imagine how graphic designers worked before the computer era. I look up to the masters of Polish poster design and illustration, like Jan Młodożeniec, Henryk Tomaszewski, Wojciech Zamecznik, Wiktor Górka, Andrzej Krajewski, Józef Wilkoń or Bohdan Butenko.
On which project are you currently working? Is there any project you are particularly proud of?
I am currently working on various projects – from Christmas postcard designs and illustrations for a Japanese magazine to a frontend layout for a fashion multibrand and an illustrated alphabet for a children’s book. I am proud of any project that puts a smile on somebody’s face.
What role does paper play in your work?
Paper plays a big role in my artistic process. I am very careful about the paper I am using. I love how colored papers age once exposed to sunlight for a long time.
There is a tradition of great illustrators coming from Poland. Why is that?
Well, thank you! The generation of illustrators that is on the market now grew up on amazingly designed book from the ‘60, ‘70 and ‘80. I cannot speak for all, but it strongly influenced my style and perception. The books on this side of the Iron Curtain were unprecedented, invulnerable to design fads. Illustrators were also amazing craftsmen. The poor print – unexpected colors and misalignments – increased the level of uniqueness and sincerity.
Your illustrations have been published in renowned magazines in Poland and abroad. Which magazines do you personally like to read?
I divide magazines into two categories – the ones I read, which are in my case political and social magazines, and the ones I look at, that are, what I call „hipster magazines”.
Do you collect anything?
Yes, I do! I am a widely renowned collector of trash. I love going to the flea markets, picking up leaflets in bars and I love to snoop around other people’s book-cases. To my friends’ disappointment I also keep on collecting things from the streets, like lost pens, shopping lists or wallet photographs. The upside is that sometimes I keep finding lost bills and coins, too.
Paying off the debt
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love going to the swimming pool! My guilty pleasure? Watching impossibly crazy, creative and stupid youtube movies. The ones with kittens and doggies too, unfortunately.
You are taking part in many exhibitions. Where can our readers see your work next?
I am planning on a big solo exhibition in Warsaw – the date and place are to be set soon. So dear readers, please keep in touch with my facebook page.
Plans, hopes and dreams for the future?
I would love to wok more internationally. My biggest dream is to draw a cover for The New Yorker. Or to design a series of post office stamps – before the postal service dies totally.