Jacek Yerka

Jacek Yerka
Born 1952
Toruń, Poland
Nationality Polish
Education Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
Field Painting
Works View Complete Works

Jacek Yerka is a surrealist who paints nature and material things that we see every day and produces images of them in a surprising way. Expressing his own reality of the imagination has won Yerka prestigious awards and honors in his native Poland, as well as exposure across the world. His paintings encourage the mind to drift to another place, and to imagine the impossible. Since 1980, he has been painting exclusively, completing commissioned works, as well as cooperating with several art galleries in Warsaw.

Influences in Art

Jacek was born in Torun, Northern Poland, and both his mother and father were students of the local Fine Arts Academy. His earliest memories are of the smell of paints, which were a part of his childhood. His father was the source of imaginative ideas, and his mother made them work through artistic means. Yerka’s paternal grandmother was his source of play and awareness of nature, while his parents were busy creating his awareness of the artistic world.

Jacek was often preoccupied during his school-age years, and chose to immerse himself in his own little world, by sketching and sculpting. His social interactions often consisted of being bullied, and he would sketch these bully peers instead of interacting socially. In an attempt to choose a different path than his parents, Jacek was going to attend college to study astronomy or medicine initially, but before taking the entrance exams, he turned to painting.

Artistic Development

Jacek initially tried to develop contemporary painting styles from impressionism to abstraction. He found himself fascinated with colors, and therefore with artists such as Cezanne and Paul Klee. The fifteenth century artists and Dutch tablet paintings were also a great influence in his painting evolution. Artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Jan van Eyck were great inspirations to Yerka. Jacek attended the Faculty of Fine Arts at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, and found himself also interested in graphic design.

Yerka was able to create clear and interesting messages, and enjoyed success on local and international levels as a poster designer. In 1972, his first poster won a prize, and he created many more successful posters before graduation. In 1980, Yerka painted exclusively, and fulfilled many commissioned works of art. In 1996, he added pastels to his typically acrylic works. Also in the mid 1990’s, Yerka was approached to do a science fiction film “Strawberry Fields”, which he designed art for. In a way the film was a depiction of his life as an artist.

Style

Jacek Yerka draws on childhood memories and dreams for his subjects. The memories, places, and fragrances are displayed in pieces such as Between Heaven and Hell, A Hack at Dawn, Summer in the City, and Paradise in the Yard. Symbolic of his dreams are works such as New Age Manhattan, Metropolis, Strawberry Tree, Swimming Lesson, Cathedral, and Sonnet. Trips and visits to Polish countryside inns inspired the paintings Amok Harvest, Space Barn, Express Package, Full Bowl, and Jalousie.

Yerka typically begins his paintings with a graphite sketch, proceeding to a crayon drawing. Pastels are used before finally applying acrylic paints. His art is filled with vivid color, and is rich with imagination. The central figures in his art consist of trees, towns, houses, and water. Imagination is used to change the natural places of objects. Mountains may become waves, or rivers may run upwards. Yerka believes that nature is the determining force in human existence. His Flemish technique, sharply-focused acrylic application, and surreal placement of subjects make his style reminiscent of others, yet very unique as well.

Artistic Awards

Yerka’s art is exhibited and displayed in fine art museums in Poland, Germany, Monaco, France, and the United States. In 1995, Yerka was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist, and in 2008, an honorary plate by the city of Torun. With his father’s gift for unlimited imagination, Yerka is bound to keep viewers intrigued. He has named himself the Surrealist Cagliostro, yet his imagination is all his own, to continue to produce stimulating art.

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