Dariusz Klimczak’s passion is photography. For 25 years he has been capturing surreal images from behind his camera lens, then manipulating them digitally to evoke new feelings and inspiration within his viewers. From flying hippopotamuses to elegant elephants, Dariusz artworks are not bound to any particular artistic movement or theme; rather, universal symbolism and visual anecdotes distinguish his style. He prefers black and white photographs, but uses color when it’s needed to best express a certain mood within the piece. Poetic in nature, whether light or somber, and inviting in spirit, Dariusz’s artworks have been featured numerous times in magazines, on photography/digital art websites, and in exhibitions in both Poland and abroad.
1. When did you begin your artistic career? What were your first sources of inspiration?
I’ve been engaged in art for a long time. Since I finished high school art, all of my adult life has revolved around creation. Nature has always inspired me, especially trees, which until now are real obsession.
2. Do all of your artworks begin with photographs that you take yourself? What are the next steps in your creation process?
It seems obvious that when you care about artistic photography, all the elements used in the photomontage should be yours. Using someone else’s photos is going to cut corners and lead to a frivolous treatment of the final work.
3. A great number of your artworks are black and white. How does black and white photography tell your stories differently than colored images?
The first photographs were black and white. I have great respect for tradition, perhaps it came from here. I don’t avoid the color, but I noticed it often diverts attention from the merits of the artwork. The world is in color, so color deprivation in artwork immediately introduces us to a completely different, unreal reality, where the anecdote, history, meaning, and symbols count. Under the terms of black and white, photographs tell their stories differently than from those with color.
4. It’s not often that hippopotamuses are added to artworks…but there are quite a few in your photographs! What is it that you like about the hippopotamus that make it the center of many of your pieces?
In my current photomontages many elements of contemporary reality can be seen, that are not necessarily photogenic. Hippos are, and also constitute a wildcard symbol: in their burden problem and size. I like to compile it with something small, fragile or delicate. This contrast has always worked well and gives great scope for the imagination. I have a few more shots of hippos in a collection, which will certainly be used in my work in the future, perhaps even very soon :)
5. Stormy and dark clouds often fill the skies of your artworks, evoking a sense of anticipation, danger and mystery. Why do you choose these stormy skies over sunshine?
I think I have a dark imagination, seeing that I feel much better on the mysterious and dangerous side of life. Likewise, it’s the same with music – as I’m willing to listen to the dark rather than joyful. Exceptions are Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley. This does not mean that I am a sad man, which some viewers of my work may suspect.
6. To our knowledge there aren’t any deserts or giraffes in Poland…Do you often travel to capture foreign landscapes?
I travel a lot in Poland, mostly with my camera. Indeed, there are no deserts here, or giraffes, which doesn’t mean that they cannot be seen in my country. My private desert - a continued source of inspiration – is a place I found in Czołpino, near the Baltic Sea. I take pictures of giraffes at the zoo, which I sometimes visit with my daughter Nina.
7. If you could go any place in the world with your camera where would it be and why?
There are many more places in the world. Until then, I explore my own country and still find amazing scenery here. I have a lot of work, so I cannot afford to leave for longer trips. I have not yet reached the stage where I can set aside work for a month. And I guess it’ll never happen because I love what I do.