Outside GeoCities: SFF Art
An interview with
Slawek Wojtowicz (1988)

...I'm trying to recreate a place where artists can easily find art created by others and draw inspiration...

Q: Slawek Wojtowicz has a science-fiction and fantasy art site at http://www.slawcio.com/artsf.html.

What inspired you to devote a web site to sci-fi and fantasy art?

A: Years ago, when I still lived in Poland, I was a member of the most fun SF club that ever existed - GKF (or SF Club of Gdansk). We had lots of artists attending weekly meetings - and people were bringing their new art to show off. That was such a great encouragement to paint! This is what I'm trying to recreate on the Net - a place where artists can easily find art created by others and draw inspiration from there to create new masterpieces...

Q: Where do you live now? And what was it like in Poland?

A: I live in Princeton, NJ and I'm about to move closer to the NYC (Metuchen, NJ). Poland is a much nicer place to live now - it wasn't so much fun when communists were in power. I can tell you though, that sometimes I miss the excitement of underground science-fiction clubs (it was illegal for a while to meet and we had to get permission from the government to publish each issue of our zine...) - there was so much creativity and camraderie there...

Q: Have you been inside any castles?

A: Quite a few! In fact, the largest medieval castle in Europe, former capital of Teutonic Knights (Malbork or Marienburg) was only half an hour drive away from my home town... http://www.poland.net/castles/, http://www.poland.net/polandtravel/cities/malbork.html

Q: Are there any artists' whose work you particularly enjoy and follow?

A: Quite a few! If you asked for my top three favorites, I'd mention Jim Burns, Donato Giancola and Michael Whelan...

Q: What is it about those artists that you like?

A: I love the vibrance of their visions and attention to detail...

Q: Do you sometimes buy books based on the cover?

A: Sometimes... I like reading though, and my SF friends usually recommend the good stuff to me. I'm currently totally in awe of David Brin's Uplift series. My other great love is Asimov's Foundation - I even started a web site devoted to Foundation-related art .

Q: Would you buy a book you didn't intend to read by an author you disliked if the cover was particularly eye-catching?

A: It didn't happen yet, but it may...

Q: How much time do you think you devote to maintaining your artists' directory?

A: According to my wife Lisa, way too much!

Q: You're an artist yourself, aren't you? What kind of art do you do, and why?

A: I'd classify my art as a mix of surreal art and hard SF. Check it out for yourself: here. I'm not really into fantasy - dragons, castles and princesses - probably because these things seem to be so ordinary... Remember, I grew up in a city (Gdansk) which celebrated millennium in 1997... I have heard stories about dragons and witches since childhood. And on top of that, Poland has probably more castles and palaces than any other country in Europe (few hundreds years ago, when Poland was the largest country in Europe, it was called the Wall of Europe, since it was the eastern-most part of the continent and most of the invaders had to face Poles first).

Q: What's your favorite medium to work in?

A: Acrylics! I love the colors and their speed of drying. The second favorite medium is my computer... I'm not so happy about the colors here, but the speed!

Q: What software do you use for graphics?

A: Bryce 3D, Poser 3, Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro...

Q: What type of art do you like the most?

A: Hard SF and surreal - just like the stuff I do.

Q: Is hard SF your favorite reading material, too?

A: Most certainly!

Q: How would you define hard SF?

A: Literature and art dealing with the future and depending on science, not magic and sorcery, to deliver its message...

Q: Are there any particular artists whom you try to emulate?

A: Not really, but people tell me that some of my images look Dali-like.

Q: Besides being an artist, you're also a writer (and fellow interviewer!). Tell us a little about your writings and interviews.

A: I haven't been writing much recently (that is I haven't been writing fiction -- I still manage to publish a couple of medical articles a year), mostly because of time constraints. You can see some of my older essays and stories on my web site: http://www.slawcio.com/proza.html.

You will find there couple of interviews as well - with Asimov and LeGuin. I hope that I will have more time to write in the future - and there are certainly quite a few people I'd love to interview...

Q: Are you primarily in the medical field?

A: I'm a physician (medical oncologist), so my answer must be "yes"...

Q: What does a medical oncologist do?

A: Mostly treats cancer patients. I'm currently designing cancer trials for new types of drugs...

Q: Who would you like to interview the most?

A: David Brin and Freeman Dyson...

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