Freedom Film Festival Poster
The Freedom Film Festival is very lucky to be represented by one of the best of Eastern Europe's poster designers. Participating in this great tradition of heartfelt graphic design binds the idea of the festival to both the past and the future.
—Gary McVey, Executive Director, ACF
From a loft studio in his home on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, illustrator Wiktor Sadowski gestures toward the city center. He is describing the large poster kiosks that sprout from downtown sidewalks, adding random color to a gray city. "Ten years ago, things were different," he says. "The streets were an open-air gallery, a display of work by the best designers and illustrators."
It was Warsaw's kiosks that inspired him. "There was a lot of interesting art in museums and galleries but the public wasn't interested. Graphic art—posters for theater and films—this was art for the people. Poster makers were heroes in a way." At the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, Sadowski had the opportunity to study under one of these cultural "heroes," the venerated Henryk Tomaszewski. "During the final years of communism we had a surprising amount of creative freedom. The Polish government encouraged us to produce work that would attract international attention. It was like the Olympics. They wanted us to win medals... Our challenge, our game, was to win with the censors."
Sadowski has created posters throughout the United States, including for the New York City Opera, and illustrations for annual reports and publications such as Time, Glamour, the Washington Post and The New York Times. To meet tight deadlines, he often uses the Internet to transmit digital versions of his work directly to clients. "Right now I am interested in the Internet, not only because it is new, but because it is rough." He compares the bitmapped texture of the Internet to the imperfections of paint on a canvas. Despite his interest in computers, Sadowski remains committed to traditional methods to produce his work: "I like moving paint around on paper," he says. "It's like eating—it's something I have to do every day."
Excerpted from an article by Philip Krayna originally published in the Jan/Feb 1998 issue of Communication Arts magazine. Reprinted with permission. © 1998 Philip Krayna