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Influencers and their Inspirations

Claudia Kusznirczuk

It is the soul, talent and desire of the artist that drives the paint, impressions and images vital for the composition of art, still one cannot accomplish and become accomplished without learning and lending from past and contemporary artists.  Although my artistic style, theme and technique developed over time and mainly from within me; there are a number of artists, through their artistic influences and from my appeal for their works, that have touched, nurtured and assisted in my artistic growth. 


My style blends the impressionistic and expressionistic genres with utopic (positive imaginary) imagery composed in a way to allow numerous interpretations under an array of colours.   The surroundings and backgrounds are of equal importance to the principal images and storyline of the art.  The intention is to disperse the focus to the whole and not simply to one aspect in the painting.   Variance of mood and tone using bold or mild fonts of colour are strategically contemplated and cultivated in my works.  Although my art is original and unique, still there are influences and inspiration from favoured artists that provide some ideas to my technique and art. 

Edvard Munch


Butterfly Feelings, Claudia Kusznirczuk


The Scream, Edvard Munch (1893)

In my work titled ‘Butterfly Feelings’, I attempted to capture the internal quandaries that people feel and try to deal with through images of butterflies within all of us.  

It is through Edvard Munch’s portrayal of emotion in ‘The Scream’ that I take a lesson and try to create a similar emotional reaction. 


‘Butterfly Feelings’ may appear morbid and gloomy; it seeks to show the emotions that people often feel and that I felt while painting the image.  We all have uncertainty and anxiety in life, and issues to contend with, which makes this image relevant to all.  Although I may not have attained the desired extreme effect, however, it may be necessary to analyse and take some further pointers from Edvard Munch, who expertly provides direct context and imagery of anxiety and depression in his works. 

Edvard Munch is an expressionist artist and he appeals through the emotions that his art evokes in me.   Munch was against the progressive, which he perceived as radical, changes in spiritual and social values, whether religious, ethical, philosophical and aesthetic, that build up over the last century. His art emulated his sufferings and torments of his present society.

However, he proclaimed these predicaments and social environment to be influential in the content, context and meaning of his art.  He was against the institutions of art and art’s elite, which pushed him to create his own art, style and influences.

In studying the images and shouts in ‘The Scream’, Edvard Munch inspires me with his methodologies, ideas, quantification of mood and colours. Viewers feel certain despondent emotions sometimes unbearable, but at the same time full of mystery and an unbelievably powerful expression reverberating in his work.  His heart was open to the public and he was not afraid to show sensibility and daring.   He did not believe in social upheavals and festering notions of his present period in history. Nor did he welcome the huge changes and movements in the outlook of values and life, but in the past traditions that were regarded as primitive. 


He portrayed his works in a sad and dreary resolve having suffered from depression.  This depression greatly influenced his art, however I find a glimmer of hope and optimism in his realistic impression of images and figures.   He was a soul yearning to be released from inside as exemplified in the ‘The Scream’. 

“Munch created what we called a ‘spiritual climate’. Two, even three generations of artists have produced works under his influence and spiritual inspiration.”

Reference: J.P. Hodin, Edvard Munch

I look to Munch to teach me the ways to express heavy emotions and portrayal of depression (of which he suffered from).  My art needs to improve in further capturing the expression (emotions) of the subject, and like Munch, to push a stronger pulse of feelings onto my canvas and to the viewers.  


Henri Matisse


My recent work named ‘The Nymphs’ draws some influences from Henri Matisse’s technique, form and ideology.  Matisse is truly a major influence to my style and art through his subject selection and colour play within his works.  In a similar vein, my art seeks to visually attract by mixing subject and scenery through a pronounced colour scheme.  The motions and movements need to be sharper and better expressed in my work, this being one of the major takeaways for me from viewing the Matisse’s dance figures.



The Dance, Henri Matisse (1909)

The Nymphs, Claudia Kusznirczuk

He diligently experiments with colours and specifically with dance to create ‘The Dance’ which is a model for my work.  His use of striking colours in his works encourages me to use bright and bold colours in my artwork.  


Henri Matisse was one of the originators of Fauvist within the Modernism movement. Coming from the French word ‘fauve’ meaning ‘wild beast’ and refers to the disparaging remarks of critics indicating the art work appears to have been produced by wild beasts with its splash of colours and simulation of movement.  It is this wild beast notion that inspired Matisse to look into the primitive and basic human movement of dance, which is incorporated in my art. 

As quoted by Matisse:

“I simply try to put down colours that render my sensation.’ and further ‘the chief aim of colour should be to serve expression as well as possible.  I put down my colours without a preconceived plan”

His choice of naïve subjects and vibrant colours shows that he was unafraid to be daring in the composition of his works, thereby prodding me to further experiment and boldly push the evolution of colour in my art.   




Alastair Wright, Matisse and the subject of Modernism

Frida Kahlo

‘Prince Khalid’, Claudia Kusznirczuk, 20

‘Prince Khalid’, Claudia Kusznirczuk, 2018

From my perspective, Frida Kahlo is the most interesting and impressive female artist of the past century. Her paintings have impacted my work and despite her unfortunate life experiences and tragedies, she continued to persevere with something that she strongly believes - her art. 

“I’ve done my painting well…and they have a message of pain in them, but I think they’ll interest a few people. They’re not revolutionary, ­ so why do I keep on believing they’re combative?”

In my painting ‘Prince Khalid’, there is an unintentional glimmer of Frida Kahlo’s style, but with somewhat less emotion.  



Diego and I, Frida Kahlo (1949)

It is important for me to bring forward expression of emotion in art.  Her expressive style continues to influence new generations of female artists.  Her work remains unique, instantly recognizable and timeless.  She drew inspiration from her life experiences, most notably the accident which happened at a young age, which was highlighted by the frequent portrayal of herself in her work.  Her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera also shaped her work, as seen in ‘Diego and I’, 1949.   


Tate Publishing, edited by Emma Dexter and Tanya Barson, Frida Kahlo.

William Turner


William Turner was inspirational in his innovative and romantic approach to art. His works were characterised by a chromatic palette. He influenced my earlier seascapes artwork; one such example is my painting named ‘’Sea Tranquillity’’.  The painting is full of emotion and fragile sensibility exposing my eternal desire to be near the sea.  


Turner captures, through his pictorial language, all the moods of the sea from tranquillity to traumatising disasters.  He is a sea master in capturing the appropriate emotion of the sea accentuated with exact focused lighting.  Deficient in my art is the lighting that Turner brings forth from within his paintings. 

Sea Tranquility, Claudia Kusznirczuk

“Turner was recognised as an artistic genius the influential art critic John Ruskin describes him as the artist who could most ‘’stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature”

The Fighting Temeraire, William Turner

Remarkable for me is Turner ‘late work’, it is presumed that the artist produces the painting in self-willed isolation.  He was already old and it was the beginning of the Victorian reign, however, his ‘late work’ addressed the progressive contemporary audience.

“Turner’s last paintings transcended the era in which they were created and are the best understood as untimely, in the sense of anticipating what is to come. This assessment has had the consequence that any serious concern with the subjects and meanings of Turner’s pictures has been set aside to concentrate instead on those aspects of form and composition that seem to presage modern painting”




Amy Concannon, Brian Livesley, Sam Smiles and David Brown, ‘EY Exhibition: Late Turner’

Peter Doig


Queen of Roses, Claudia Kusznirczuk

The figure is contemplating his blurred image in the water whereas the expanse and distance of the territory or landscape surrounding him in this painting is a psychological one.  

Of the contemporary artist that greatly influenced my decision to attend UAL, Peter Doig is truly a master of the positioning of human figures in nature and landscape providing a glimpse of the realistic with hidden psychological overtones.  His works are a huge potential source of imagination in the expanse of nature and the human interaction, providing inspiration to be further explored and portrayed in my art.  


My artwork, ‘Queen of Roses’ shows a mirage of dancing cabaret figures swaying and moving in an exotic brilliant expanse of nature.   The figures can almost be lost in the majestic distance and vast landscape, yet the figures prevail and are carefree, detached from the real world, out of place and lost in their own world but are they just a figment of one’s imagination.  I try to appeal to the sense of isolation and see that there are psychological similarities in this work to Doig’s impressions.


​Doig drew inspiration and painted scenes from places that he visited in Europe and North America.  He seemed to be fascinated by subjects which are isolated in a realm of landscape as portrayed in numerous works showing soul-searching individual within the endless bound and expanse of nature.



100 years ago, Peter Doig (2008)

“We always keep coming back to a fictive idea of the figure because we register and calibrate the word in relation to human presence and absence.  And when there is no figure, we invariably imagine one, moving around in the buildings, hidden between the trees, out of sight in the bottom of an empty canoe floating on the lake, or we think of one who has just departed, and the lonely, empty atmosphere they’ve left behind when they’ve gone. We might even imagine ourselves to be the missing figure, the one we can’t find in the painting, us if we might project ourselves into this painted world, to disappear – in yet another instance of drawing.”

This clearly shows the imagination that Peter Doig has in the flow of his art.  Imaginary images are able to appear as the viewer scan of the painting.  Figures automatically appear in his painting or are superimposed through our mental translation and transposition of his works in our minds. 

Such as my work, ‘Queen of Roses’ poses a mirage of dancing cabaret figures swaying and moving in an exotic brilliant expanse of nature.   The figures can almost be lost in the majestic distance and vast landscape, yet the figures prevail and are carefree, detached from the real world, out of place and lost in their own world but are they just a figment of one’s imagination.




Adrian Searle, Kitty Scott and Catherine Grenier, Peter Doig

Jenny Saville


I believe that I lack the inner boldness and extreme visage of some of the contemporary artists.  I do not have the brutal inner push to be controversial or to offend in any way, but always seek to please with my art and to express good positive feelings.  Therefore, I look to Jenny Saville to provide inspiration to nudge me towards the other end of the artistic scale.


Jenny Saville’s work is extremely provocative and induces anything, but indifference. It may sometimes irritate, scandalize or it may attract some viewers. The large-scale canvases strike the eye entirely. In my opinion, she is arousing conflicting feelings, but can never be considered superficial. She has good knowledge of the human body, where it seems to look almost like a living landscape that presents its own story. 


Her work is complex full of raw images exposing violence and disgust.  The images are not appealing but show expressions of horror, which is quite the opposite of my pleasant depiction of figures.  The critical observation is that I need to create an impact work that will capture attention and almost horrify.  ‘Dark Reflections’ creates an air of mystery and does tell a number of stories, however it does not create any shocking effects.   


‘Dark Reflections’, Claudia Kusznirczuk, 2018


Self-portrait, Jenny Saville

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