Artist profile: Why did you become an artist? Where did you study, etc? 

I didn’t choose to become an artist. I’ve always been a creative person, and I had to find ways to express it. Art didn’t have a central place in my family. I grew up on a dairy farm in Poland during the communist era. For me, creating art was a means of survival and a way of finding my identity.

Australian artist profile Aldona Kmiec Ballarat Melbourne
Photo by Josephine Elvis
What is the history of your career?

I always wanted to do something creative. I was a very stubborn child with head full of radical ideas for a child and later, a teenager of my age. I wanted to try everything. I felt that strong inner drive that the creative path was the one for me and resisted everything else (not without feelings of guilt). When I was four or five, my parents bought me a cheap plastic flute, and quickly regretted it as I learnt to play it and was annoying them all the time, but they saw I had an ear for music.

Then I think, when I was eight, they managed to buy me a 2nd hand Weltmeister 80 bass piano accordion from East Germany and enrolled me for lessons with a local church organist. I think they found a successful way to ignite my artistic ambition and, at the same time, keep me away from trouble and from going out with friends on Friday afternoons, as, conveniently, my music lessons were on Friday afternoons.

Artist Profile Balancing Act Polish pregnant woman portrait Aldona Kmiec
Balancing Act, 2015 © Aldona Kmiec

Then, when I was a young adult, I was able to buy a disposable Kodak camera and started my adventure with photography. I used this to photograph my friends at parties and document life around me. When I moved to the UK and few years later quit my corporate career job, I went to study photography at London Metropolitan University.

Artist profile: What medium/mediums do you work with?

As well as documentary and portrait photography, I do street paste-ups and site-specific installation art, responding to themes and stories around me.

How would you describe your art style?

Gentle, intimate and raw. Connecting?

What do you love about being an artist?

Artistically, my motivation has always been to explore my imagination and express my feelings, both positive and negative, explore thoughts and ideas to influence my artworks.

Commercially, to be good at what I do, to work ethically and to take great photos for my clients.

My main motivation for practising photography is that I’m cultivating a job that facilitates the kind of lifestyle I want to have. I want to learn as much as I can on how to be savvy as a business owner and to succeed in my field.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Aldona Kmiec prints on fabric In the process of healing Aldona Kmiec Foto Biennale Ballarat Convent
“In the process of healing” installation, 2017

There are so many moments in artist’s life when you doubt yourself. Whenever I get into that space, I remind myself of my beginnings and purpose. I ask myself a question: What is it that I love the most about my photography and the creative practice?

It comes down to this: I know that my work has an intrinsic value to me personally as, to me, it represents the freedom of expression and building a meaningful connections with others. So the purpose, meaning and the sustainability of my career are important to continue.

And if my clients or friends, and people who come to see exhibitions share the same or similar values, then we’re part of much bigger supportive community. And that’s what really matters in the end and where I draw my inspiration from.

What are some of your most popular works? Tell us a bit about some of your works and what you love about them. What’s your favourite and why?
Unicorns are real Ballarat artwork photographic print Aldona Kmiec Artist
Unicorns are Real, 2015

Unicorns are real, Café in Soler, Wimmera Nights and so many more.. in general photos that connect with my deep-seeded feelings of grief and/or trauma, also courage and resilience, depicting something surreal, dreamy but also deep connection to the earth and people around me.

What is your philosophy on art and life?

Art is a way of survival.

Artist profile: What are your professional dreams/goals?

My main motivation for practising photography is that I can connect and work with people on their creative ideas, which is a meaningful way to understand other human beings. I’m also cultivating a job that facilitates the kind of lifestyle I want to have. I want to learn as much as I can on how to be savvy as a business owner and to succeed in my field.

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