Sports or art. This was the career choice Andrzej Urbanski contemplated when he was growing up in Poland and Germany. Ultimately, art won out but as this short film by Rowan Pybus shows, Urbanski is still flexing his athletic muscles.
He first came to South Africa in early 2012 on the invitation of Ricky Lee Gordon of the Woodstock Exchange gallery /A WORD OF ART to participate in a residency.
In the second week of the residency, Urbanski met artist Paul Senyol in front of a wall in Woodstock’s Cavendish Square on which he had been asked to paint a mural with Vancouver-based artist, Indigo. They began to collaborate on canvas and now both are represented by Salon91. Urbanski's next solo show opens at Salon91 on 18 March.
I have a big graffiti background. I never saw myself as a vandal. I thought of myself as an artist on a train.
"It’s my past but it’s important for my art because I explain myself through that. I always was interested in the Old Masters too and they have nothing to do with graffiti," he says, from the industrial space in Salt River where he now lives and works.
Most recently, Side Street Studios developer Elad Kirschenbaum asked Urbanski to paint a mural on the Arcade building on Albert Road in Woodstock (featured in the film). Urbanski used 52 colours. “Hopefully it’ll become a visual anchor for the neighbourhood,” he says.
“I can sit down and train myself to do figurative portraits again. But, why?”
See a preview of the work Andrzej Urbanski will be exhibiting at Salon91 in this Lookbook.