With a passion for art from a very young age, Oliwia Biela has always found a way to express herself through her paintings. She feels the impulse to put all her positive feelings on canvas without thinking, to just express her emotions in the moment. She continues to paint spontaneous and emotion-filled abstract paintings using a variety of materials and techniques, choosing whatever method works best with her mood at the time.
Outside of her artwork, Oliwia loves ballet, jazz music, and traveling. She is interested in learning all that she can about the world and loves all that is alive.
What sparks the inspiration for your artwork?
I get my inspiration from my attitude. My artwork is an expression of how I think, or rather, how I feel. I paint without thinking and express a pure, childlike side of myself. My paintings are actually like a mirror, and in them you see me.
I never plan what or how I want to paint. My artworks are a piece of me. You see all my feelings and emotions in the paintings.
Was there any particular instance in your life that brought on your love of art from such a young age?
Actually, I think that I was just born that way. I started to paint abstract art when I had my first experience of true love. The feeling was so intense that I needed a filter, so I put the love on canvas. One of the very first paintings I made was for him.
Has your childhood had any profound influence on your art?
My background does influence my artwork a lot. I think I was blessed with my childhood. I got so much love and still get it from my family members, and that makes me feel very strong and brave. They taught me to give without expecting something in return and that forgiveness is a strength. If someone asked me what I thought the most beautiful place in the world was, my answer would be this: On the couch at my grandparents’ house. They love and accept me as I am. That is why I am open-minded and authentic.
You mentioned that your culture was too strict to paint abstract art years ago. Can you elaborate further on why this is? What changed?
New York made me very strong and brave. I had the idea a long time ago to make collages with nudes of myself, but I was not brave enough to do it in Germany. New York is judgement-free and that gave me the chance to develop and grow as an artist. I feel that I can really be myself here without having to tell people why. I don’t have to defend who I am. We are who we are and people in New York may or may not like it, but they still respect you and don’t judge. I don’t think I lost my culture here because my family and friends love me as I am. It was rather the uncertainty I had that I lost in New York City.
What about German culture made you not want to practice art the way you do in New York?
I think New York is a place where you can develop as an individual if you are strong enough for the city. It can be so easy but also very hard. I think in general Europe is much different and not so open-minded because there are different cultures in every country. New York is a mix of all different cultures and everyone is accepted. You need to conform yourself in Europe if you don’t want to be an outsider, but you can be yourself in New York. The people don’t care and don’t judge. Sometimes I miss the Polish, German, or Spanish culture, but I still love New York.
You have said that you only paint when you are emotionally happy, otherwise you cannot convey your positive attitude towards life. Have you ever thought about painting when you are not in a good mood and seeing how your art changes?
I have thought about painting when I’m in a bad mood, but I don’t want to manifest anger or sadness. I would not like to look at it or give it to other people.
Have you considered exploring other mediums?
I am considering working with other mediums but I don’t know exactly what they will be yet! So, stay tuned!
You studied social economics and psychology in school. Do you think those subjects affect your artwork today?
I am really interested in psychology because it makes me understand myself and others. I have an idea of another artist’s soul when I see his or her work. You can get an idea of the viewer’s attitude by what they like or dislike in art. If you understand why someone is acting a specific way, it makes things easier for you. You know why people get angry or upset by things that you yourself would never get upset by.
Could you explain your technique? You previously mentioned that you use a variety of tools, including spatulas, sponges, brushes, and even your body.
It is difficult to describe my technique because I never know how it will end up when I start to paint. If I work with my hands I use sponges, cotton, or whatever else I feel like using in that moment. If I’m painting with my body, I’m mostly nude and I put the color on a particular part of my body and press it on the canvas. Sometimes the colors stay for days on my body because they are pretty difficult to remove without using toxic chemicals. Music plays a very important role while I’m painting. I mostly listen to classical music like Pavarotti, but also rock, house, and other genres.
When I paint abstract art, it is like I’m in a trance. I hear the music and I feel free.
Your new series of works include nude images of your own body. What inspired you to start working with collage and particularly using images of yourself?
I use my paints to explain myself and use my body to paint, so I really liked the idea of putting more of myself into the pieces. The photo shoot for the pictures was done by a great German photographer and painter named Roland Peters, who is a good friend of mine. He took the photographs to paint me later, but I found a second use for them.
What do you want your viewers to get from your pieces?
I want to show the viewer that, in my opinion, the most important thing is to be authentic to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t act like someone who you are not. We are all looking for something in life, but actually, everyone is truly looking for themselves. Follow your first impulse, your intuition, your heart, or whatever you want to call it. Don’t hurt anyone and understand that everything belongs together.
When we find that, we stop looking and begin to be happy.
I am thankful for all that has happened in my life, and also the painful experiences through which I learned more about myself and could develop mentally. This is my philosophy and I try to express it in my paintings. Because of my strong connection between mind, body, and heart, I do use them while I am working on my paintings. I use my body to put pressure on the canvas, my mind to prepare the canvas and other equipment, and my heart to let myself create. Life is beautiful and it gives so many opportunities, especially for those of us living in a rich country. Love yourself, give love and you will receive it back double.
Collecting art is a highly involving and emotional experience. The artist’s process and intention are some of the factors that make one fall in love with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ creative methods and fascinating techniques in the Center Stage and Artist Techniques categories.