Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Interview- Sylwia Bomba


Hailing from the artistic city of Florance, Italy, Sylwia Bomba is a young and talented artist. She has been involved in several projects at Pixar and Disney in the past years. She was also a drawing and painting instructor at AnimSchool where she taught students how to draw and paint digitally. Recently we got a chance to interview her about her art and any advice she had for artists around the world.

Sylwia, tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming an artist.


First of all, I would like to thank you for having me! It's a pleasure.
I have been drawing since I was a kid and I never stopped. I've always loved being surrounded by my papers and pencils. I still remember the day when I told my parents about my dream: I was about 5-6 years old. They didn't take my decision seriously but I was a very stubborn kid and I kept insisting. My dad saw my determination and decided to support me with all his heart. Shortly after that, he became my first drawing teacher - the most meticulous, diligent and patient one.  I've learned from him that being satisfied with our work while having a big ego kills our ambition and turns it into blind pride.  He wanted me to push myself in my work asking me to work harder all the time. This is how my adventure with art began. I would be sketching after school, at school, on holidays, on summer breaks...I was growing up with a pencil in my hand.
At the age of 15, I moved to Italy and started studying in Italian High School. Being in a country with such long history of art inspired me even more. I wanted to learn everything about art but it was hard in the beginning: I had to learn a totally new language. It was a struggle to find myself an accepted place after being a stranger in the society. But I was determined that even if I had to lose many things in my life - I would do so because, for me, my passion for arts defines my whole life. So I kept going on.
The most important thing we all need to remember is to never lose our faith. There will always be something to complain about, there will always be someone who won't like what we do - but we need to pursue it as hard as we can! Dealing with setbacks and failures, using them as a learning opportunity to push ourselves more, learn more and discover more is the only way to move forward and be successful.

Looking at your portfolio I cannot help but feel the emotions you are able to pour in each of your paintings. The portraits are full of personalities and emotions. How are you able to do that? How do you make portraits seem relatable in this age of photography and selfies?


Thank you very much! I like drawing and painting portraits because through portraits I can show my deep emotions without using any words. When I moved to Italy at the age of 15 – I was not familiar with the Italian language and was finding it hard to communicate with people. Art helped me then to express myself. I started observing the world around me with more attention and accuracy. I observed that when we stop using words - we see things differently; we notice with great intensity just how majestic our world truly is. Tones and colors change immediately: we pay attention to any little expression we see, so much so that we can almost feel it on our skin. The same thing happens when we watch silent movies. They have their own taste and charm which we don’t see in modern movies.
Time has changed but people can't change that much. We still are emotional beings and we feed our curiosity with interesting stories. We love to see what someone is doing, what he is eating and how he is changing his life. People in the past used paintings as an instrument to tell us their stories. A good painting should tell you a story or arouse emotions in your heart and bring life to your memories. In fact, Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

What I enjoy the most when I view your portfolio and your blog is the variety of media you employ to paint your paintings. There are oil paintings on canvases and then digital paintings as well. How do you manage to work with both media?  


How do I manage to work with both media?  I enjoy it! The more techniques we try, the more flexible we will be in digital Arts. Through computer we imitate coal brushes, oils, canvases - why shouldn't we just learn how they work in real life - to improve the use of a digital imitation of them?

What’s the best and worst aspect of both media and do you miss ctrl+z when you paint on canvas?


Of course, I miss my ctrl+z on canvas! Maybe that's why I find the oil painting more challenging. You need to focus on your colors. You can't just pick them up. You also can't just make a selection of an arm and move it. But using computers, you can't feel the unique smell of the turpentine, you can't touch the canvas and feel how soft is the brush. Computers save your time but take from you the satisfaction of touching your art piece. Moreover, using traditional media - you always have one original painting. You can sell many copies of your art - but you still have that original.
A video posted by Sylwia Bomba (@sylwior) on


I am always impressed by the lighting and colors of your art pieces. It is a very difficult thing to do. We at AnimSchool also offer a 3D lighting course. What advice would you like to give to the students of that class which would help them get a better sense of lighting and colors in their work as well.


A painting demo by Sylwia in AnimSchool class 
Thank you very much! The greatest teacher is "observation". The more time you spend observing the world around you, the more you see. Studying photography is also a good method to understand the composition and the lighting of a scene. Traveling everywhere with your camera is very helpful. It's good to create your own folder with your inspiring pictures of different lighting and then using them into your scenes. You can also choose a landscape you want to photograph - but before taking a photo think about the lighting. Which emotion does it evoke? Representing one landscape in different lights during a day helps us to understand how many stories we can tell through the lighting.

You taught an art class before at AnimSchool. How was that experience?


It was and still is an unforgettable experience. Art isn't about getting the right answer but is also about getting the right question. The questions taught me more than you can even imagine. I've learned a lot from AnimSchool students, their questions taught me to look beyond books and seek more information. I love teaching but I love it more when students interact with me during the class and show me their work and express their different views. It's an extremely inspiring part of teaching.
 I've seen so many AnimSchool graduates achieving great successes on their career path, working for big studios. It's an honor to be a drawing instructor for AnimSchool and meet so many great people. I'm thankful for it!

I see that you have also animated few shots. In your experience, how does knowing fine arts helped you in animation?



I'm not proud of this short animation - it was my first 3D exercise Animation I've done.  But thank you for mentioning about it. While learning Fine Arts you need to feel the flow of the pose, you need to understand deeply the anatomy and how it works. You learn the mechanics of the muscles and most importantly your aesthetic eye perceives the world differently. Our perception expands horizons of our vision and allows us to put a higher meaning and value into our work. The more styles we learn, the more biographies we read, the faster we find our own style and vision.

Malcolm Animation - Sylwia Bomba from Wanderer Bomba on Vimeo.

If you have to advise someone who is just starting in the field of painting, what would your advice be? What is the most important principle/rule that they have to nail before moving ahead?


Many people give up quickly because they can't see the results of their hard work or they compare themselves to others or more experienced artists. In the process of working on your dreams, you are going to incur a lot of failure and hardships. It's necessary to take control of your fear, be aware of your value and focus on your dream. If you will work hard, all mistakes and failures will be just investments into your progress.
Follow your idols, read biographies of old masters, learn different styles and techniques. Sometimes to understand our purpose better, we need to study other people’s life. First steps are always the most difficult but remember all of them lead you toward your future success.
The humility of an artist has a meaningful value. Nowadays is very rare to meet young and humble artists. Being humble doesn't mean thinking you are bad at drawing. It means you know your value; you know who you are but you are always ready to learn more from others.


Thank you, Sylwia for the interview.


Sylwia's blog's link: http://wandererbomba.blogspot.com/

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