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One of the first, Gosia F.

Monday morning has begun with a lovely chat between me and Gosia Foremna. Gosia is our first interviewed Das Packhaus member who's been here from the very beginning. Our little chat was a mixture of topics such as working in Das Packhaus, being a mummy, creating art and a mixture of random anecdotes that happened in our life. Her role models are mostly strong, independent women with a great passion for art and feelings. After the interview, I must say I would describe her as one of her role models - truly strong lady with great passion for her work and independents. I enjoyed her company and her open mind, creativity, which is seen from her work and from the way she looks at things, the world. 
"Painting have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul" - Vincent Van Gogh 

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P: As "one of the first" who has been here from the very beginning, what are some of the major developments you have seen in Das Packhaus over time?

G: For me, it's hard to say. The last two years my private life has changed dramatically, so I don't really have time to "focus on Das Packhaus". I work only 4 times a week and I immediately go straight to my office to work. (I have a little daughter so I don't have much time to participate in different events.) If I have those 5 hours per day, I just want to focus on my work.

P: What do you like the most or what is your favourite thing about Das Packhaus? 

G: I like the people, the atmosphere is really nice. Today, on my way to work, I noticed a free space/office on the ground floor and I started to think about what it would be like to have my own studio. But then I thought that I really like the fact that I can meet the people at Das Packhaus. It’s motivating to see the people who are single-minded, young entrepreneurs who pursue their own goals. That makes the space more alive. This is the thing I really like about Das Packhaus. And getting a space is not that complicated compared to renting your own studio. 

P: True! People are truly interested in working, having a space in Das Packhaus. We do have a long waiting list for new users... We're big, but at the same so small. But that's what makes up unique :)

P: How would you describe Das Packhaus, with few words? 

G: Space for those who want to take control of their own life. 

P: Did you change space office since you came here or are you at the same office from the beginning? 

G: Yes, actually at first I was in a shared office and later I moved to my own office. I really enjoy being on my own. I can decide when I want to see other people, and I can close my door when I need to focus on my work.

P: What does coworking, sharing knowledge, new way of working means to you? Did you perhaps have a chance to get to know some interesting people?

G: Yes, for sure. I met a lot of people from different fields, such as photographers, designers... With my neighbours I speak a lot, we share a kitchen so we chat a lot about different things. 
But a lot of people went away and new members came, so basically a lot of people are here that I still haven't met yet.
 

P: When did you start with painting, doing art?

G: It's not so easy to say when I started. Actually, I never stopped to paint. It’s a different thing if we spoke about art. I couldn’t say when I started to make art exactly. Most of the kids like to paint and then when they become adults, they start to think they can’t paint. Most people paint only at school and then they end the adventure with colours and pens. When I was young I liked to paint. Since I was 13, we didn’t have any art classes at school, so I went to art- and youth-centre, where I visited an art class. I went there a few times a week. I think it was the most helpful thing to continue my artistic study. It was really inspiring, because I was with all these people which had the same interest as I did. We were there by our own choice and we had a lot of fun! We talked a lot about art, drawing, boyfriends and all those teenage problems we had at that time. Only one boy did participate in this class. Female groups have their own dynamic, which I enjoyed very much!

P: What does “being creative” means to you? Perhaps it's a bit cheesy question, but still :)

G: At first I think, that this is a very good question. Being creative means to me that we try to think about things, situations and problems in different ways than we used to do. During the time we learn how to manage our life, we acquire different techniques and approaches so we don’t get hurt. And then we use these methods automatically. At this point, when we discard all of our “it-has-to-be-that-way”, creativity begins. I think that creativity starts with creating solutions which possibly surprise ourselves. This way you can see other important points you didn't see until now. Put simply: to break through old/own patterns.
It's not about having an idea what picture I want to paint, but to make a picture that is exciting. If I’m not sure why something doesn’t work out, I try solutions that seem weird to me. Something that I wouldn’t have thought to make, like to take a huge brush even when, at the beginning, I wanted to paint a subtle picture. You also have to know how to react to things that are happening afterwards, which also requires being creative.

P: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

G: I did many different things, including working in a kitchen, at a school, and I was also selling jewellery.

P: How did you like this job, or dislike?

G: It was interesting, I worked with different people. I learned different things that everybody needs in adult life. It was pretty exciting to obtain relevant life-experience. But I didn’t do it for fun, I had to earn my livelihood

P: What do you like and dislike about your work?

G: I like to connect with other people, and I love to paint. I don’t like it when other responsibilities and activities, such as updating the homepage or making photographs of my works, require too much attention

P: Could you tell me something more about your self-portraits that you painted last year? By the way, they are just beautiful! I would call it the pure masterpiece! You had an exhibition here at Das Packhaus. Where did the idea come from?

G: I came back to work two months after I got a baby girl and I was totally disconnected with my artistic work. I just started to paint and created a few spontaneous works on paper. I picked up the earlier subject of portraits and painted my face again. It was important to me to concentrate on myself. These works are an attempt to experience myself as an artist. I have little interest in physiognomy and I didn’t want to paint myself recognisable. My focus was on the various shapes which a face can acquire. I was interested in the exploration of self-observation.

P: What is your dream project? or was it already achieved?

G: It's not that easy to say because I am really satisfied with all my pieces and process of my work. Currently, I am working on completely different pieces, so basically I find the artistic process always exciting. Now I'm really into water colouring.

P: What role does an artist have in society?

G: It’s a good question. And I think there are many possible answers. I would say in art it’s evidently that opposites can exist at once. Actually like in life anyway. But this is not so easy to accept because humans need to feel secure. The fact that nothing is either black or white and that everything is changing all the time may give a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. 
Maybe artists should try to get this point across to the society. I mean that we should accept it and try to live with that, without pretending everything is either good or bad.

P: How has your style changed over the years?

G: This is really hard to say. Just to define style is not easy. Through different materials which I use, my works look differently (oil, watercolours, paper, canvas, etc.). But just because right now I am working on something completely different doesn't mean I changed my style. It depends on many factors. I paint different things, sometimes items, other times people. I have different questions that I am trying to answer on different paintings. 

P: You're a mum of 19 months old daughter. Is it difficult to make a balance between work and family?

G: It's manageable, now she will go to kindergarten, so things will get a bit easier. It is hard, just because you're not that flexible anymore, but it is also truly beautiful. I don't have so much free time, but on the other hand, I learned to manage my time better :)
Now I understand why companies desire to hire mothers; it's because they think many things at once. They (we) see things. But it's also true that people are very different from each other... 

P: If you could give an advice to young artists, entrepreneurs, who are creating something new, what would it be?

G: Don’t give up, accept the present situation, don’t hold on to things which you can’t change and take responsibility for your own life.

P: If you could go back to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently? And what advice would you have given to yourself if you could only relay one piece of advice to your former self?

G: I wouldn't do anything differently. If I wouldn't do all those things, projects, decisions that I did, I wouldn't be here now. 

P: Tell me about a project you've completed that has made you the proudest?

G: I don’t know. I like every step that brought me here right now. Maybe if I had an exhibition at MOMA, I could say that this is what I’m most proud about. (laugh)

P: Do you have any role models or did you had some in past?

G: Yes, I actually still have! Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were the first painters I was in love with. I saw their pictures and I could feel their emotions. It was a really strong feeling! Later I read some books about them and their work and it proved to me that this fight which emanates from their paintings was real. They both had a really tough life. I often felt attracted to such complicated things J
The  
woman who was teaching me art at those workshops trough all those years was truly my role model. She was also a strong, independent woman, who doesn’t need a man on her side to make great things! 
Now I am a huge fan of Maria Lassnig, Francis Bacon, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun or Alice Neel.

You can find out more about Gosia and more of her artwork here: www.foremka.at

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Polona L.