Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bringing It All Back Home

I’m on a plane from Warsaw to Chicago…hovering somewere over the Atlantic ocean at the moment. My stay in Warsaw finished on such a positive note; our run through was a success, most designs for the show have been confirmed and warmly received by Mr. Wilson, and I was even lucky enough to enjoy a day of sight seeing before flying back.

Saturday night Katarzyna Figura, one of the actresses in the show, hosted a fun and relaxing party at the restaurant she owns in Warsaw. I’ve come to learn that Kasia is quite famous in Poland…one of the country’s biggest celebrities and most famous performers. She evidently made a name for herself in the 80s in a number of films, and has since found work on the stage as her career matures and continues. She’s wonderful and kind…exciting to have her in the cast.

After the party we moved on to dinner with roasted duck and baked apples, a Polish standard, then some vodka and dancing at a neighborhood club to follow. Being on the town with my new friends was great. And we all know how dancing can take a friendship from good to great in no time at all.

After sleeping the morning away, Sunday took me to the National Museum where we skimmed over the older historic works to spend the bulk of our time in the Wispianski galleries. An absolute key player in Polish art history, Wispianski’s paintings, drawings, and theatrical design is quite amazing. Art nouveau works of this sort have always excited me, and these are particularly charming and inspiring. The monograph I purchased at the museum is a wonderful catalog of his works, and this illustration of a chair design is particularly amazing. Modern technical drawings generally bore me – they’re spit out of a computer, afterall. These hand-done illustrations from the past are endlessly exciting, however. I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I first saw it in the gallery, and now I own a nice reproduction in my new book. I anticipate a series of new works of my own that will use this drawing and others of the sort as my primary source material. Its like a tailor’s diagram. Its like an entirely utilitarian tool that suddenly became art. Its like an abstract but spirited moment that accidentally became an articulately considered design for a chair. Its like a little piece of heaven.

Sunday continued with bits of shopping and searching for ways to fit everything into my suitcase. Per usual, I’m flying home with much more than I came with.

Saying goodbye to my fantastic new friends Paulina, Anya and Tomec was sad. This trip could have been a drag without them. Knowing that I’ll be seeing them again certainly made goodbyes easier, though. Neither Anya nor Paulina have been to the states yet, so I’ll be on a mission to find a reason for that to happen. Tomec is slated for another stint in NYC…either this summer or next year once he finishes school. He’s young, but his skill and charm are going to take him to very big and exciting places. Its rare to find people in the world with as much spirit and life in their eyes as these three. I’m so happy to know them.