For the past six months York based artist Zosia Olenska, 26, has been working hard towards her upcoming debut exhibition Salle des departs at City Screen picturehouse bar and cafe.
The title of the exhibition is derived from the French term for mortuary, quite literally meaning ‘hall of departure’ and explores the themes of mourning and loss.
Although Zosia says she has always been artistic she never took it that seriously, choosing instead to study medieval history at the University of York.
After completing her degree, Zosia decided not to pursue academia any further and instead follow in the footsteps of her parents, who were both professional artists and toymakers for Disney.
Despite having had no formal artistic training Zosia has already had a number of success stories under her belt.
She has produced the artwork for Chris Helme’s latest album, designed York’s newest rock bar, The Blind Swine’s cocktail menu and has already sold a number of prints at the Bison Coffee House in Heslington Road.
Zosia explained why she chose what some may think a depressing theme. She said: “What I wanted to do was create an impression or a mood because I feel that art should be a kind of escapism. I tried to think about how to represent loss in a different way.”
Particularly prevalent in her drawings are intricate and detailed images of the anatomy, exposed skeletons are juxtaposed with creatures from nature.
She said: “I have a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, which I use as inspiration so a lot of my prints have parallels to anatomical drawings but then I completely twist them and turn them on its head.”
Zosia said she has to get a solid mental picture of a piece before she can start working on it and is often inspired from real life events.
She said the image of her piece with the birds falling out of the sky had been stuck in her mind a long time. She said: “that one was inspired by a news story I heard where diseased birds were falling out of the sky somewhere in America after their livers had exploded.”
For Zosia, this exhibit is her first chance to display her collection in an alternative gallery space.
She said: “I didn’t want it to be too pretentious, which is why City Screen is a great choice for my first solo exhibition. The thing I would most like to achieve is for people to be interested at what they see rather than just glancing up and ignoring the world around them.”
Her work will be on display and available to buy at City Screen Picturehouse from 25th August – 25th September, prices range from £10 – £40.