ETHEREAL ALLURE

Olga Wieszczyk's intensely corporeal, borderline body-horror, and uncomfortably seductive illustrations feel like your eyes have been spellbound not to look away… or blink. In the interview, Olga shared with us her childhood fascination with the occult, dark Catholic themes, sombre Slavic folk tales and myths – and, clearly, manga.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started as an illustrator and comics artist?

It’s a bit tricky to pinpoint exactly when I started drawing as I’ve loved it since my early childhood. Anime played a significant role in fueling this passion, especially through shows like “Candy Candy” and “Sailor Moon” during the time I was in preschool. My first attempts at manga drawing began around the age of 7. As I progressed, I opted for art in middle school and university, initially drawn to animation as a potential life path. However, the intricate process proved to be too challenging for me. In the end, I found my true calling in the first thing I ever enjoyed – drawing comics.

Your illustrations have a dark and symbolic vibe. What inspires you to create in this particular style?

I’ve been drawn to dark and mysterious themes for as long as I can remember, so creating stories and illustrations with this tone feels the most natural. In my childhood, I was fascinated by the occult, dark folklore, and Slavic mythology. I avidly sought books with these themes, and my grandparents shared stories about pagan creatures – tales I once believed to be entirely real. As an imaginative child, I roamed the forests and riversides, envisioning ancient times and mythical beings like rusałki and południce. I even crafted my own clay runes and spell bags, convinced they’d bring me good fortune. Though that vivid childhood world has faded with adulthood, I draw inspiration from those memories when creating.

Manga is an influence in your work. How has it shaped your artistic approach, and are there specific manga artists who inspire you?

Manga played a pivotal role in shaping my visual language and has been a source of inspiration since my earliest days of drawing. Growing up in a small Polish town in the ’90s, in a pre-internet era, discovering anything with manga pictures felt like a treasure hunt. I was obsessed with collecting every piece of manga content I could find, from scraps and paper clippings featuring manga characters to hunting down dodgy bootleg CDs with low-res anime and manga. Reflecting on those efforts seems quite foreign now in our accessible digital age, but I believe those endeavours laid the foundation for my visual language. Among manga artists, my greatest inspirations include Kentaro Miura, Suehiro Maruo, and Daisuke Igarashi – their work motivates me to continually improve my craft.

Your work often features angels, demons, and various symbols. Could you share the significance of these themes in your art?

Christian art is a significant source of inspiration for me. Despite being raised in a Christian family, I identify as an atheist. However, Catholic visual art has consistently left a profound impression on me, particularly darker-themed Christian works. When embarking on road trips, whether within Poland or abroad, my first destinations are often the oldest churches, catacombs, and graveyards. I eagerly capture photographs and jot down notes, immersing myself in the historical and artistic richness. Additionally, I have a penchant for collecting kitschy devotional items, such as glowing-in-the-dark plastic saint figurines and aluminum votive items.

How do you approach incorporating symbolism into your illustrations? Is there a specific message or emotion you aim to convey through your art?

I view my work as a visual language, a product of all the experiences and influences that shape who I am. Each piece contains fragments of my personal symbolism, serving as a means to communicate and connect with others. It’s like opening a window to a hidden reality within me, where all my influences blend into a strange, melancholic, fantastical realm. I’m inviting others to take a peek into this unique world that exists only in my mind. Often, I illustrate my own dreams, drawing directly from that source in its purest form.

Are there any upcoming projects or themes you’re excited to explore in your future illustrations?

I am in the early stages of developing a comic story with thematic exploration centred around artificial intelligence and the potential displacement of artists by advancing technology. Additionally, I will probably be attending some comic conventions in Poland or abroad throughout the upcoming year to present and sell my merchandise, prints, and self-published works. I also plan to reintegrate analogue techniques, specifically aquafort, into my artistic process – my favourite art technique from my university years.

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Bio

Olga Wieszczyk is a Polish author and artist born in 1991. Olga graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Kraków and is currently working as a comics artist and illustrator. She draws her inspiration mainly from folklore, dark stories and mythology.

Credits

Designer / Olga Wieszczyk

https://www.instagram.com/olgawieszczyk/

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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