Artist Interview: Anna Hryniewicz

April 25, 2019

Anna Hryniewicz - Studio Incubation Award
04 MAR – 20 APR 2019

Anna Hryniewicz is a Polish artist now living in Baldoyle. Her painting explores abstraction, form and colour and is strongly influenced by memories of childhood drawn from the natural world. Three recent series of works called 'Inner Child’s Play'; 'Parallel Worlds'; and 'Habitable Planets', all derive from childhood memories.

I remember my father told me that I should paint how I feel about the natural world rather than how I see it. So I started doing abstract landscapes where I could see the aura and atmosphere of my memory.

Anna is the recipient of the Draíocht Incubate Open Call for artists whose work is concerned with childhood. Her studio residency runs in tandem with MAKing Art: PAINTing (14 Mar – 18 May Ground Floor and First Floor Galleries) which focuses on contemporary painting and is especially aimed at children and young people. During her residency, Anna will initiate another in her ongoing series.

Anna graduated from Institute of Art Education in University of Czestochowa, Poland, where in 2004 she received Masters of Fine Arts in Painting and Teaching Art with distinction. She also holds a professional diploma in Piano Performance from Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2015/2016 she was shortlisted for the Winner Prize Award in RUA RED Winter Open Show in Dublin, and her works can be found in private collections in Ireland, the UK, Poland, USA, as well as in OPW state collection in Ireland. Since 2000 Anna was an author of numerous solo and group exhibitions, as well as part of curated shows in Ireland and Poland. In 2018 she was an Artist in Residence in Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat;  since 2018 she is a member of Visual Artists Ireland.

Draíocht’s Marketing Department caught up with Anna to find out more about her and her work!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from? How long have you been an artist and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career?

My name is Anna Hryniewicz and I create abstract paintings.
I always wanted to be an artist. I can’t imagine doing anything else. At first, I started playing piano when I was 5 years old. I was in a musical boarding school. But as a child, I was also interested in all art-related activities. Mostly drawing, collaging and painting, as it was accessible for me at home and school. I was sketching a lot in my copybooks, diaries, journals … constantly collaging pieces of colourful magazines. My father always gave me tones of paper, glue and colouring pencils. But most of my time, a few hours a day after school, I practiced piano and music subjects.

I studied classical piano up until I was in my early twenties and graduated with a repertoire that I could perform. For a while I continued on with my piano studies but I wasn’t entirely happy. I struggled because I had small hands. This physical limitation kept me trying to reach for chords too big for me. I loved music, but I had always had a love affair with Fine Arts. So, at that point of my life, I decided to prepare a portfolio for Art College. During that time I did a Graphic Design course and I worked in a multimedia company doing 3D animation. That helped me a lot to support myself financially and prepare my art portfolio, attending courses etc, but I knew being a graphic designer, constantly looking at the computer screen was not something I was happy with. Instead of being creative, to me it was more about fulfilling clients’ needs. My work had to please them, not me; I didn’t feel good about that. I worked hard on my portfolio … and … I did it! But at first I was not taken seriously in Art Academy, which was painful. It just looked strange to them - someone like me, educated in music with a distinction, after 17 years of practicing piano, suddenly wanting to be a fine artist? I tried again and again. Eventually, I studied Art Education and Painting in Częstochowa University for 5 years. I felt as if I had started flying, it was so liberating. I could finally explore and I knew it was the right moment in my life to thrive. I completed my MA in Art Education and Painting with distinction. Later, after my family moved to Dublin, I came back to my beloved piano and I gained a Diploma from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, in Piano Performance.

Q: When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up? Were there any clues in your childhood that you would follow an artistic path later?

I didn't feel particularly interested in working with numbers, or in an office. I felt there was something I wanted to express. I simply felt good in art.

As a child I enjoyed performing for others. When we had guests in our house, I would always sing, dance, show my drawings. I did things like that all the time. I would use every opportunity to express myself. I even remember when I was 3, I ran up onto the altar in the church during the sermon and started showing off my dance. I was quite shy among my peers though. Verbal communication was difficult for me. But when I drew portraits, faces, trees, animals, I immediately drew their attention. I think they remember me doing this constantly in my classes in school.

My Dad was always very encouraging, always gave me art supplies. He had a great sense of art and he played piano really well. Also my aunt and older brother were artsy and musical. So I had a good example to follow I guess. When I was little, my Dad brought me to the National Museum for an exhibition of Impressionists. I was enchanted by their paintings. I remember touches of thick paint, and this luminosity, and heavenly, celestial light. I even thought the work was literally painted WITH light, not with paint.

Anna Hryniewicz, Parallel world 29052017, 80x80cm, acrylic on canvas 2017

Q: Perhaps you also have a conventional day job to supplement your income as an artist?

I’m a piano teacher.  I occasionally do art workshops for children, adults, including people with mental and physical disabilities. In many ways, I think of my years playing the piano as foundational not just for my painting, but everything I have done since. Practicing a musical instrument is a demanding and extremely intimate act. It helps me now with everything that I do.

Q: When did you create your first painting and what was your subject matter?

My first painting experience was when I was 3 or 4 years old. My parents were in the kitchen, so I covered the furniture and walls in our living room with doodles. I had paper, but I needed something bigger to paint on. Wax crayons all over wallpaper couldn’t be removed easily, so they remained there for a long time before my parents could eventually renovate the room. But they never really gave out to me for this.

Anna Hryniewicz, Inner child's play 3, 40x40cm, acrylic on canvas, 2017

Q: Has your style changed over the years and what might have influenced this change if yes? And what other artists or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

Has my style changed over the years? I committed to abstraction at some point of my life. Maybe it will change, but I don’t think so. I really feel there is nothing else that could top this experience of being totally free from representation, free from object. For me there is nothing more important than COLOUR itself. Relationships between colours and shapes have always thrilled me, they would tell every story you can imagine. This is enough for me, I don’t need anything else. All things that happen on the surface of the canvas during the art process are enough.

When I was a student, I played a lot of atonal, contemporary music. Post-romantic, modernist and of later composers, using twelve-tone scale, which was abstract in a way. There was some structure and order to it, but not in a traditional way. The tonal style was different to what has been before, for example Olivier Messiaen’s, Karol Szymanowski’s compositions. Instead there was a dissonance, atonality, gesture, sometimes not easy for perception. This influenced me a lot, as I started to perceive sound and colour as a value itself.

In fine arts I first fell in love with impressionists, post-impressionists, too many to name. Paul Cezanne was my favourite hero at first. Then fauvists, colourists - Pierre Bonnard, Mattisse, Derain, of course. I spent hours in our National Museum in Wrocław looking at Polish colourists Olga Boznańska, Jan and Hanna Cybis, then Piotr Potworowski, Stefan Gierowski (contemporary abstract movement). I love work by William Scott, William Crozier, but also I admire American and European abstract expressionism, especially Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joann Mitchell, Antoni Tapies, and many more.

Q: Can you tell us what triggers you to start a new painting?

Basically I start every painting from totally random colors, lines, shapes. I need silence, so I don’t put on any music. I would often read poetry before I start. It really puts me in the right mode. Next, layers of colour are the response to the previous. After that I carefully decide in what direction the painting wants to go. Painting itself is a quick process, but it takes a long time to look at it and make decisions. I don’t have a plan. I think the best trigger is in ‘not knowing’ and being open to creation. If you can predict something it is not going to work that well. Sometimes, I pick small sketches or ‘accidental gestures’ that I consider interesting and I think ‘This has to go big’. I use them as a starting point, or literally paint them in larger scale. I would also manipulate some images, compositions or photographs on my computer first; then I paint (old habits of a graphic designer!).

Anna Hryniewicz, Parallel world 110418, acrylic on canvas, 20x20cm, 2018

Q: Can you tell us a little about the stories behind some of your paintings?

My paintings are mostly influenced by my childhood memories. ‘Exoplanet 2018’ (Habitable Planet) for example, is a universe-inspired work. This painting is evoking my vision of the world on another planet, it’s a kind of distant landscape which is beyond our reach. I can only imagine beautiful colors, lights and elements that govern that place.
I was inspired by my Dad’s storytelling about nature, the sky and planets. He didn’t know that he gave me the best lesson on abstract art I’ve ever had. He taught me to look at the sky as on the canvas, to look at the tree as a sculpture. Everything around seemed so colorful, so intense. I perceived it that way. As a child, I believed that if I painted it really well everyone will see and feel the beauty of the world around us. Now, as an adult, I paint for myself, my work is supposed to capture those memories and please me (and hopefully the viewer) with its colour and composition. I recently started a new series entitled ‘Parallel Worlds’, ‘Inner Child’s Play’ and ‘Habitable Planets’, and I am giving them numbers. This is how I imagine them. There is an endless amount of them in Space. Maybe we will reach them some day ...

Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like photography or sculpting for instance?

I tried many things in my life, and I enjoyed them, especially sculpting, songwriting, drama and many more. But there is not enough time for everything. I hope one day I will be able to sculpt, I loved sculpture in college. But you have to decide what is the most important for you, what you can do best. Life is short.

Q: What is the thing you most enjoy about your work?

In my work I enjoy my own freedom and the power of colour the most. This is something that keeps me alive. I work in complete silence, that way I can really listen to myself, find my own thoughts. Colour is strong enough and it will lead me forward throughout the painting. If the colour is not right, the work doesn’t fully resonate and has to be reworked. First and foremost, I seek colour, after that comes line, which is also important. It’s a gesture that reveals intention and feeling. It’s a little bit like personal handwriting. I love the fact that I do what I feel, I don’t have to do anything to fit in with anyone else’s taste. I do what I love. I follow my heart. The only criteria is if I like it or not, because I think if I’m happy with my work, there is a chance someone else may like it too. If I’m not happy with a painting, then it’s not a good work.

Anna Hryniewicz, Undiscovered Planet 09112018, 2018, acrylic on canvas 40x40cm

Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?

Motivation and inspiration come as I work. It’s not something that comes and goes, but more a matter of attitude and decision. If I have a bad day, I usually keep doing what I’m doing. It’s because I love it so much and it’s always so exciting to make new works and see them emerging. So I just continue unless I’m really sick. Other than that, I keep going. Of course, some days are better than others. It’s important to also have fun and rest and take good care of yourself.

Q: How have you handled the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your work etc? 

It was and still is, very hard. I came from Poland and moved to Ireland in 2007. Since then, we’ve had small children, so I started slowly getting back to art in 2012. I was in a foreign country, I knew literally no one, let alone artists and galleries. I made my own website, then set up a FB account, but for a few years, I was posting for no one. It was very difficult. Being a mother of 2, trying to also work part-time to make ends meet, spending a lot of money on art materials, no friends, family. Really very difficult, but I’m not one to give up! I just try to see opportunities and keep my eyes opened: submit my work to galleries, open calls, festivals, and expose on FB and Instagram. I’m not doing this all the time because my family is for me the most important thing in life and I want them to feel happy.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your residency in Draíocht’s Artist Studio? How valuable is this time for you and are you working towards anything in particular?

This Residency in Draíocht is such a gift for me. I saw the open call on FB just in the last moment before the deadline. I read the description and I thought it fitted me perfectly!! Years ago, when I used to live in Blanchardstown, I knew about this place and lovely galleries here in Draíocht. I saw exhibitions in the Ground Floor Gallery and always thought it would be fantastic to have my works here. It kind of was a dream. Now, I’ve got this residency and a possibility to exhibit in the forthcoming PLATFORM 2019 exhibition, in June. I am really thrilled. Working here is such a pleasure - the Studio is very big and spacious. I can concentrate on making large canvases, which wouldn’t be possible in my little home studio. The director of Draíocht, Emer McGowan and the Curator, Sharon Murphy are really great in what they do. Draíocht is so active in different art forms - theatre, workshops, dance and so much more - there is so much going on. I feel lucky to work in this community for a few weeks. I am planning to do a series of large canvases based on themes from my childhood memories and show some of them in PLATFORM 2019 in June, and I will definitely show all of them soon in my upcoming solo show.

Q: Do you have any advice you could give to an artist just starting out? 

If someone wants my advice I would say: do the best you can do; keep doing what you are doing and be persistent. Create work that pleases you, not others.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I will be doing the same thing and I hope my work will be getting better and better.

For further information see:

For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht / Tel: 01-809 8021 / e:

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Anna Hryniewicz,

Jackie Ryan Reviews the Exhibition Making Art: Painting

April 10, 2019

10 April 2019

A glowing review from Jackie Ryan Art ... thanks so much!

'Draíocht is a jewel in Fingal County Council’s crown, one of two flagship arts venues in the county ... The audience of Draíocht are indeed lucky to get to see these works together; a rare glimpse into the best of contemporary Irish painting ... It really shines here in Draíocht, as if it was destined to be viewed here, among the youngest population in Europe.' ...
Read the full review here ...


MAKing Art: PAINTing
THU 14 MAR - SAT 18 MAY 2019 Ground & First Floor Galleries

Paintings by Susan Connolly, Bridget Flannery, Geraldine O'Neill & Liz Rackard
Ground Floor Gallery
Paintings from the Collection of The Arts Council
First Floor Gallery

Curated by Sharon Murphy

Draiocht's Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission is Free.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts,

Platform 2019 - Artist Seeks Photographers

April 7, 2019

Ashling Smith is Draíocht’s Inaugural (2018) Creative Digital Media Graduate Award Winner, in association with the Technological University Dublin, Blanchardstown. The Creative Digital Media Graduate Award is open to the graduating students from the Creative Digital Media degree programme at TUD and is selected by Fiach MacConghail, CEO Digital Hub Development Agency. The Award includes a 6 week studio residency and a commission and solo exhibition, as part of PLATFORM 2019 at Draíocht.

For Ashling Smith's exhibition during PLATFORM 2019, she is looking for project participants who are photographers. For this commission, Smith will explore memories and reflections via the family's analogue film photo album.

This project explores the narratives of those who grew up before the digital world and have memories of photographs within their homes and around them. It looks into the lives of film photographers and photo enthusiasts who go to great lengths to get the perfect photograph and the meaning it has to them. It also looks into the many that would not have had as much access to a photograph of themselves as we do now. This project reflects on the true meaning behind a photograph and the purpose that many have forgotten.

Participants Ashling is looking for:

- Professional Photographers (Digital or Film)
- Film photographers with experience with Darkrooms
- Film photographers that have experience with street photography + Portraiture
- Photography enthusiasts who have stories about their favourite photographers
- Experimental Photographers

If you feel you fit the narrative of this project, please contact Ashling Smith directly at
Deadline: Friday 12 April 2019

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Visual Arts Opportunities, Ashling Smith,

OPEN CALL - Draíocht Incubate Studio Residency

December 21, 2018

Emerging/Early-Career Visual Artists
04 MARCH - 19 APRIL 2019
Draíocht’s Artists Studio

Draíocht continues its INCUBATE studio residency programme for emerging/early-career visual artists, who wish to have time and space to research, test new ideas, and develop new work.

This Open Call is for artists whose practice - in any medium - is focused on children/young people or the theme of childhood. The six-week residency at Draíocht’s Artist Studio will be offered to a single artist or a small collective between 04 March and 19 April 2019. 

The context for this residency is Draíocht’s commitment to the visual arts/visual culture through its Gallery, Studio and young people’s programme.
These sit within the frame of ‘A Space For The Arts’, Draíocht’s 2018-2022 Strategy.
A plan of the studio plan is available HERE.

If you wish to be considered please send the following information to: by 5pm Friday 25 January 2019.
A current CV (2 pages maximum). Expression of interest to include: artist statement; a clear indication of the focus of the studio residency; website and/or other links to your work and/or up to ten images of relevant work in jpeg format. Please send all in a single PDF. 

Recipient Announcement: 30.01.19

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Visual Arts Opportunities,

Des Kenny Reviews Carrier of Memories by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske

July 9, 2018

9 July 2018

Carrier of Memories is an installation work created by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske and is situated on the First Floor Gallery in Draíocht.

The large rectangular construction resembles storage crates utilised by shipping companies to transport household furniture from one country to another. The transported objects are the depositaries of memories from the past and will have fetish significance to help restore a sense of sanctuary in a new country. The wooden structure also resembles the prefabricated houses built currently to help solve the housing crises that are experienced by people in Ireland. The structure unveils layers of complex interpretation without imposing a singular viewpoint upon the gallery visitor. Two anonymous doors at opposite ends of the fabrication become points of arrival and departure for an interior space where time seems suspended, caught on a frozen threshold between memory and dreaming. The cocoon-like atmosphere is aided by the muffling of exterior sound with hanging grey blankets on the walls. The interior is uncluttered by furniture or heirlooms allowing the chamber to populate the visitors' imagination with discarded memories of their life experience of previous homes. Two speakers shroud the interior with a cacophony of sound that needs careful attention to interpret yet remains opaque affecting a mysterious atmosphere. Sounds of cars are interspersed with faint knocking on a door as if a visitor tried to gain attention with the householder but failed and drove away. The suppressed singing of the song” Tea for two, you for me” rises above chaotic clanging but stops suddenly when incessant knocking beats on a door. The door remains unanswered and the unknown caller slips away quietly into a trail of echoing indifference.

Myopic spy holes are inserted into the walls of the space, inviting the curious to view without detection the interior of the dwelling. Normally these eye ports are found on doors so the householder can quietly check out the caller waiting to gain entrance but the role is reversed and the visitor becomes a voyeur, hungrily gazing at the sinless lives of the occupants.

Outside a large video monitor is fixed to the wall and the artists Ella and Ulla act out roles of various homeowners, revealing aspects of private lives and tales of recalcitrant ghosts. Wearing a grey wig and old clothes Ella conveys a story of an old woman recalling a time when her third husband, humorously nicknamed Dynamite, was redecorating their new home. A previous owner had hung himself and appeared to the woman, requesting the house should remain undecorated. This aching appeal was ignored and the troubled spirit vanished once the decorations were completed. His shadowy afterlife was interwoven into the old fabric of the house and once removed he disappeared into the gloom of the forgotten. In another story, Ulla recalls as a child how a whole chicken disappeared mysteriously from the kitchen. Her mother believed her two young children had consumed the whole chicken but it was only later when the snows had melted and the bones of the chicken were discovered in the garden, that the mother surmised a cat had taken the chicken. The children were disbelieved and a bond of trust was broken for a time between parent and children. In another tale, Ulla recalls a young girl reminiscing about a dream where a large crane was about to destroy her house. She awoke suddenly, discovering she was sleepwalking and standing before an open window. The unconscious mind was trying to warn her of the danger as the open window would engulf and hurl her to a fatal destiny.

Home offers shelter primarily but also acts as a bridge between the psychical and the psychological realms where new memories are born and old ones haunt us.

Draiocht's Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission is Free.

Carrier of Memories by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske
Draíocht’s inaugural INCUBATE commission, curated by Sharon Murphy
First Floor Gallery​
FRI 22 JUN - SAT 13 OCT 2018​
Read more ... here ... 

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Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self-taught painter and since he began making art in 1986, he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates printmaking and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Ella Bertilsson, Ulla Juske,

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