Klub Kultury im. Heleny Modrzejewskiej
Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club

 

Spotkanie z Rafałem Olbińskim

13 marca 1999

Rafal Olbinski, swiatowej slawy grafik i malarz, mieszkajacy od 17 lat w Nowym Jorku, goscil w Los Angeles na zaproszenie Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Dzieki Leonardowi Konopelskiemu, ktory jest profesorem tej uczelni, czlonkowie klubu mieli okazje spotkac sie z artysta i poprzez przezrocza zapoznac sie z jego tworczoscia.

Wielu z nas oczywiscie zetknelo sie wczesniej z Olbinskim, kiedy uwage nasza przykula okladka w Time, Newsweeku, Der Spiegel lub New York Times , gdzie w oryginalny, pelen ekspresji sposob potrafil wyrazic aktualny problem lub mysl przewodniego artykulu. Niektorzy zapamietali jeszcze z Polski jego plakaty albo oryginalna szate graficzna czasopisma Jazz Forum. Olbinski jest absolwentem Wydzialu Architektury Politechniki Warszawskiej, ale juz podczas studiow zdobywal nagrody na otwartych konkursach plakatu. W 1982 roku wyemigrowal do Stanow Zjednoczonych i bardzo szybko dal sie poznac jako znakomity ilustrator i malarz, obdarzony niezwykla wyobraznia I doskonala technika malarska. Od 1985 roku wyklada w znanej School of Visual Arts w Nowym Jorku. Otrzymal ponad sto nagrod za swoje plakaty i obrazy, miedzy innymi prestizowa Prix Savignac 1994 w Paryzu. W 1995 roku jury przyznalo pierwsza nagrode jego plakatowi New York City Capital of the World. Milosnicy Opery w Nowym Jorku i Cincinnati zapamietaja jego plakaty reklamujace Carmen , Lucje z Lammermoor czy Siegfrieda, pelne poezji a czasem zaskakujacego, surrealistycznego humoru. Na spotkaniu, ktore odbylo sie w domu panstwa Pilatowiczow, nasz gosc niezwykle barwnie i dowcipnie opowiadal o swojej drodze zyciowej i artystycznej. Pokazal nam dziesiatki przezroczy przedstawiajace roznorodne prace ­ okladki czasopism, ilustracje do ksiazek, plakaty reklamowe i obrazy, ktore ogromnie sie spodobaly. Rozmowe z Olbinskim poprowadzil zasluzony czlonek klubu Leonard Konopelski, sam znakomity artysta, ktory w tym roku bedzie mial dwie wystawy w Europie ­ w Krakowie i w Strasbourgu.

tekst - Sekretarz Klubu
Members of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club enjoyed a real feast. Rafal Olbinski, the world-famous illustrator and painter, recipient of more than a hundred awards, agreed to meet with us at the hospitable Pilatowicz residence. Olbinski was visiting Los Angeles at the invitation of the Pasadena Art Center College of Design and its Professor, our Club Member, Leonard Konopelski. Leonard introduced our guest and skillfully guided the meeting and the presentation.

Olbinski conquered the audience completely. We had known about his achievements, most of us had seen his work, but we were not really prepared for his personality. His intellectual brilliance, acute sense of humor, and poetic perception of the world reflected in his work, surprisingly coincide with a no-nonsense, down-to-earth sense of reality. He knows his own value and standing but one could not find the slightest trace of conceit or vanity in his demeanor.

Olbinski showed us slides of his work, beginning with early posters created in Poland, years ago when Poland was the A world capital of poster, followed by the illustrations and posters that won him recognition, fame and numerous awards in the USA and worldwide, ending with his most recent illustrations and paintings. The story of his success, in his own words, is the story of hard work, a lot of hard work, talent, and good luck. A formula simple enough to be dull. Olbinski made it fascinating. We were in turn touched, fascinated or amused, contemplative, solemn or joyful. The world in his story looked different, revealed unusual possibilities and mysteries, very much like the world we were admiring on the screen.

Much has been written about Olbinski, experts have used all the learned terms and appropriate adjectives, but I believe they overlooked the obvious: He is a magician.

When the evening was ending some ladies commented on his good looks, many of us grasped the opportunity to purchase a sample of his work - a poster or a calendar - but all of us carried that heartwarming feelingts: Olbinski is one of us and we are proud of him!

/Andrzej Lowkis