Joanna Szachowska (Illustrator, Painter, Ceramist, Food Stylist, Clay Worker, Jewelry Maker and Mixed-media Artist)
When you meet Joanna Szachowska for the first time, you immediately feel a connection that you cannot specify and I even ask myself if we were related in another life. She spreads light and warmth and welcomes you as if you were a lost sibling who she has never met before but looked for her whole life. Joanna is a true creator and it is impossible to describe all the things she has done in her life because it would go beyond the scope of this format. She says on her website that ‘curiosity creates constant happiness’ and I guess this is what actually describes her approach to art and life itself.
She is an adventurer and has always been on a journey experimenting with new fields, seeking different ways to express her story. Born, raised and educated in Poland, where Joanna successfully worked as an illustrator and painter, she has only recently located herself and her family to California. She says when she arrived in the desert with just two suitcases three years ago, she immediately knew that this was the place she wanted to be in. For her whole life she had had the urge for a spacious, quiet place that would also offer a lot of sun. Although she had travelled the world before, she had not found anything that felt right for her. She had never considered America as a home and when she landed over here by accident, she found out that it was not by chance at all. Already at an early stage of her career, when she was still a teenager, she had drawn the desert. So, it was actually not she who found the desert but the desert found her long before she even knew about it.
It seems that there is a reason for everything that Joanna experiences and tries out but everything is characterized by her passion for different materials and forms. Like when she was a food stylist and decided to make her own ceramics to match the products she had to stage. When a friend of hers saw the creations in Warsaw, she said, ‘You are not from here. Your soul obviously originates from another place. Come and see me in California.’ Being the woman she is, Joanna got on a plane and when she arrived in L.A. on a sunny and mild January morning, she immediately felt grounded and at ease. Her friend took her to the desert, where they spend a couple of days contemplating, mediating and gazing at the stars. What seemed odd and bewildering in the beginning, turned into a life-changing experience for Joanna. A year later she came back, with her whole family and two suitcases. They started their life all over again, from scratch and without knowing anybody. Almost like orphans.
Joanna admits that in the beginning she was kind of afraid to leave her parents, her friends, and a certain kind of comfort zone behind but she did not know that she would be rewarded with so many extraordinary things and special people, her ‘real tribe’. It is fascinating that the space you have in the desert, is not only a topographical chance in terms of art, but also an incredible opportunity to develop your true self as an artist, a woman and a human being.
When I ask Joanna if she thinks that Landers is going to be the end of her journey, she laughs. She explains that moving from Warsaw to California was a big transition for her husband, who currently does not want to think about another change. When it comes to her, she is open to everything. Right now she is absolutely in love with the place and considers it her home, but she says that you always grow in your shell and then you mold. ‘Maybe I am another species in a few years and will need something completely different, like water or so. You never know what is going to happen.’ Also the fact that she is only an immigrant makes her humble and strong at the same time. She knows that after being through so many processes and checks, she can handle anything. She knows that life is not about securities and final solutions but there is the whole world to play and she is not afraid. I am dying to meet her again and explore more of her wisdom and her beautiful art. Another great thing about the desert: you can always stop by for coffee, a glass of wine or just some profound dialogues about life itself. For people over here do not just have a lot of space but also time – something rare nowadays.
Find out more about Joanna Szachowska at http://joannaszachowska.com/
The other portraits will be featured within the next weeks. Stay tuned!
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