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issue A

issue A

Jagoda Gieraltowska Editor in Chief & Creative Director — Mateusz Piekarski Graphic Designer — Zuzanna Ciszewska Writer & Editor —

Collaborators Kasia Bobula Karolina Wiercigroch Maria Swieciaszek Lukasz Wierzbowski Dorota Porebska Emily Cha Mina Son Laura Cammarata Paola Vivas

Contact Instagram @ohwell_magazine Facebook /ohwellmagazine

2014 OH WELL magazine All rights reserved. All materials in this magazine may not be reproduced, transmitted or distributed in any form without the written permission of OH WELL.






The ambitious selfie of Frida Kahlo

Art Stealer

An article about Mexican painter who influences modern generation.

An interview with Polish CSM graduate Piotr Krzymowski.



People are my eternal subject

Valek - ambition on the roll

Tadeusz Rolke in conversation with Zuzanna Ciszewska.

A profile about ambitious girl who started her own business.





How to be an artist

Sucha Barc

A photo essay inspired by a book Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon.

A feature about remarkable and remote place in Poland.



Procrastination Inspiration

No milk today

A fashion editorial about delaying tactics.

A photo essay on Polish milk bar in London.



A paper game


A fashion editorial themed with cardboards.

A feature about ridiculous flavour combinations.

mateusz piekarski Graphic Designer

Graphic designer with over 7 years experience in the UK and Europe. Currently working independently in a small studio in Whitechapel. His areas of expertise include art direction, visual identity and editorial design. Mateusz studied graphic design and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Living in Poland, France and now the UK has given him experience in a variety of different fields, with clients from art organisations to property developers. — Portfolio



r kasia bobula Photographer

Originally from Warsaw, Kasia has been living in London since 2003. She holds a degree in Fashion Design from Central Saint Martins, however her real passion is photography. Today, Kasia is a portrait and documentary photographer. Her pictures, usually taken by analogue camera, appeared in magazines such as: Apartamento, Elle UK, The Gentlewoman, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and Vogue UK. — Portfolio

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Zuzanna Ciszewska Writer

Zuzia is based in Warsaw, former anthropology student, now working for Polish fashion brand as a PR Specialist. She is curious about everything that goes with traveling, good vegetarian food, inspiring people and beautiful views. Her dream is to run a half marathon and a trip to Norway to see the Trolltunga cliff. —




karolina wiercigroch Photographer

Karolina is a freelance food stylist and photographer, currently based in Cambridge, UK. In her spare time, Karolina enjoys cooking as well as shoots and writes about new food crazes for the blog she shares with her Polish friends, Dine & Dash. She can’t imagine her life without long weekend breakfasts, culinary travels, bubbly cocktails and pumpkins. — Portfolio Blog

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Hello, it’s nice to meet you.

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Editor’s note I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I am sure how… The idea of making this magazine came to me one day after reading a doodled book recommended by one of my friends. “Doodled book?” you think… Well, it’s hard to believe but a smaller than A5 format publication written by Austin Kleon, (yes, I’m really going to say that), changed my life.

“Write a book you want to read” is one of ten principle tips to discover your artistic side emphasized in Steal Like an Artist. And so I did, but a magazine instead. Of course the beginning wasn’t easy and what is more important I had no clue about publishing. However, I knew that the content will be written with modern voice and have exceptional photography. It will be also a platform made by aspiring artists and writers who want to create and share their ideas on good quality paper and bring it (not only) to Polish press market. This magazine will be for those who still appreciate holding printed spreads instead of looking at screens. It will be biannual publication, which every six-month will be themed with an alphabetical character and will present conversations with ambitious people, photo essays, fashion editorials. OH WELL is dedicated to young people interested in creative studies who crave original inspiring stories. It is a magazine, which can be collectible and look good on a bookshelf. You can come back to it anytime you need a spark of inspiration. I believe that it is the magazine you want to read.

I am delighted to introduce you to the very first issue of OH WELL, the A issue. Within the pages of this inaugural edition, there are sections devoted to Art, Action, Ambition and Adventure. I hope that each of the spreads in this magazine will boost your critical and creative thinking. Enjoy the magazine as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. Jagoda Gieraltowska

A is for art art [ahrt] noun

1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. 2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.

the ambitious selfie

Frida of Kahlo Words Jagoda Gieraltowska Photos courtesy of Dorota Porebska

Art is probably one of the most difficult case studies to define. What is art to one person may not be to another. And when art really become an art? Why do people become artists? Is it the need of self-expression that drives their creativity? Although, exposing feelings through art is known since the earliest times, today the way people reveal their thoughts has changed significantly. What is more, people’s need to “express” themselves has given a birth to a new word in the Oxford Dictionary, the term selfie. What is a selfie? In short, it’s a self-portrait, but until now this expression was usually associated with actual art. Thanks to technology, it looks like suddenly everyone can become “an artist”. On Instagram, there are almost 200 millions (hash tagged) self-portraits. Of course, you don’t need to be an art expert to state that most of them have no point and have nothing to do with art. However, in history of modern art there was a personality whose self-portraits were considered a real phenomenon. Each of her 55 selfies tells a fascinating story of her life. Six decades after her death, Frida Kahlo still inspires and captivates women for their ambitious expressions.

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photo source:

She is probably one of the most recognizable female artists in the history. Frida’s greatest inspiration was undoubtedly her own life. Most of her work pieces are self-portraits, which unquestionably present her great talent and that she was able to express one subject in so many ways. “Frida shows her inner life in a very authentic manner. And I think there are very few artists that have painted so much of what they really felt. There’s a certain honesty, and that’s what people understand and feel.” says art historian Helga Prignitz-Poda.

As a child Frida had polio and in her early youth she was severely injured in a bus accident. A long list of operations and months in a full-cast never gave her back her full strength. Nonetheless, the long time she spent in bed suffering from pain shaped her creativity and passion for painting flourished. She once famously said: “I paint myself because I am often so alone, and because I am the subject I know best.” What is more, all the events that happened to her were also present in her self-portraits. There was no topic Frida was afraid to transfer to a canvas. Her work dealt with issues such as abortion, miscarriage, gender inequality and bisexuality. For Frida there was no taboo, she wanted to fight for women’s right and equality through her work.

What make this Mexican artist so special are not only her painting skills. Frida was not only an artist but also a political activist, feminist and style icon. It seems like breaking the boundaries was her life mission. Kahlo wasn’t scared of breaking cultural norms and even with her appearance she manifested her beliefs. Frida’s long hair, usually tied in knots and braids, was a symbol of femininity. However, her iconic unibrow and faint moustache, which she was known to darken, emphasized her inner masculinity. What is more, Frida’s self-expression could be seen through her clothes, which exposed even her political vision. Kahlo used to wear a traditional Mexican dress called Tehuana. The garment was defined as: “The dress that has been created by the people for the people. The Mexican woman that doesn’t wear it doesn’t belong to the people”. It was a symbol of matriarchal society and strong women’s voices in the community; however, governmental power was still owned by men. Frida was open with her views and she never hid that she was interested in both men and women. This dualism could be seen also in her appearance. In a period in her life, she cut her long hair and started to wear loose men suits. Some specialists argue that she wanted to express her independence and live by her rules. However, Prignitz-Poda states, “Frida always wanted to be both. She wanted to be a complete human being and not only the sweet wife, so this makes her look so strong.”

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Besides being the voice of the Mexican revolution and a boundary breaker, Frida was tightly connected with her roots and traditions. Not only her wardrobe but also her paintings were significantly influenced by Mexican culture. “Self portrait with Monkeys” (1943) is one of the many works where Kahlo painted the exotic flora and fauna and wears traditional Mexican garments. Moreover, Frida had a chance to live abroad in New York, San Francisco and Detroit, however she always remained skeptical about Mexico’s fast growing and industrial neighbour – the United States. For Kahlo, Mexico wasn’t only her homeland, but also a place where nature, traditions and art had great value.

Without doubt it is impressive how much can be said by a self-portrait. Frida’s charismatic selfies, presenting the original Mexican style with floral head wear, decorative dresses, and red lips, still captivate some fans to the point of making themselves in her image. Nevertheless, the self-expression shown by this Mexican painter not only presents the story of her life and how she looked, but also a deeper point: the political and cultural message. The limitation caused by her health condition, paradoxically, granted her the unique creativity and formed her talent.

Perhaps, Frida Kahlo had no idea that she was shaping gender empowerment. She would not be aware that sixty years after her death, her life would inspire and influence new generations. Certainly, she took the lead and as Elizabeth Rasking says “she showed the world that it’s ok to be proud to be a woman”.

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photo courtesy of Filip Cwik

People are my eternal subject Tadeusz Rolke in conversation with Zuzanna Ciszewska Translated by Maria Swieciaszek

I met this legendary Polish photographer, Tadeusz Rolke, on a sunny Monday morning in a cafe in Mokotow, Warsaw. A charming, elderly gentleman in a tweed jacket and sunglasses welcomed me with a honest smile. He is a reserved type of man, who prefers to ask questions rather than to answer them. However, he cheers up when I mention photography.

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Zuzanna Ciszewska: What is your first memory related to photography?

Who were the professional photographers back in the days?

Tadeusz Rolke: It’s very personal and it happened in Warsaw, during occupation. Lazienki park was closed for Poles but not the Agrykola street nearby. Actually, you could walk down Agrykola street to this little bridge, next to King Sobieski’s statue, where the Palace is. I spotted a young couple, teenagers, maybe 18 years old. The young man was taking pictures of his girlfriend. He had a very good camera – Voigtlander and I knew that because back then I have already been passionate about photography. I was really jealous, but I am not sure if I was jealous of his girlfriend, but definitely I envied his camera (laugh).

Unfortunately, I did not know anybody who could be characterized as a professional. Though, I used to go to photo labs quite often. I would left there my rolls and ask to make 6cmx9cm prints. One of these was located in Mazowiecka street, not so far from where I used to live. I do not believe I was a regular client, though – there was not enough time to make my face familiar to the owners – or maybe it was but I did not realized it back then? Not until the end of war, I visited this shop in Nowy Swiat street. I came back there two days later in order to collect my prints, and I remember the owner asking me whether those were my pictures. I confirmed and then he told me: “keep on taking pictures, because you are doing it well.” I guess that was my first meeting with a professional who appreciated my works. As it turned out later, he was my colleague from the Association of Polish Art Photographers. We were officially introduced to each other soon after that meeting in the shop.

What was your first camera? It was very bad… I could not afford anything better. It was Kodak Babybox – technically very similar to those devices popular in the 70s. I mean, it resembled Idoten camera – a fully automatized camera, with autofocus and auto exposure. My camera also did everything automatically, but it was not perfect. Have you always thought that you will become a photographer? I believe it clarified sometime in 1943. In 1944 it’s been decided, so I had to be around 15 years old back then. Everything connected with image fascinated me: albums, painting, newspapers and photo editorials. Just like cinema and movies. Germans screened their chronicles and I enjoyed watching them. Everything visual was captivating.

Tadeusz Rolke was born in 1929, in Warsaw. His war-related story could constitute a substantial material for another, fulllength interview. During the occupation of Warsaw, as a 10-year old boy, he was a member of Gray Ranks (the underground paramilitary Polish Scouting Association). After the Warsaw Uprising, he was taken to the labour camp in Germany. He finally came back and started to attend courses at History of Art faculty, Lublin University. Not so long after, he was accused of being a part of an anti-communist organization and he was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment. He started taking pictures in the 50s and it is also when he started to work with magazines, such as Przekroj, Stolica or Polska.

How was the job of a photographer perceived by the society back then? Photographers were generally the people who owned shops. A photographer took photos of First Communion, family and passport pictures. But during the war, a certain technical novelty came to Warsaw – photo booths. My colleagues and I really enjoyed them. We could just seat there, put coins into the machine and wait for photos to come out. Just like from Polaroid cameras.

How did you learn to take pictures then? Well, at some point I decided to attend classes at house of hand craft. It conducted courses in various fields – either you wanted to be a butcher or a metalsmith, you could go there and subscribe. I chose the course in photography and attended it for some time. I was 25 back then and I learned comprehensively. In a rather short amount of time, I obtained all the necessary, basic knowledge – mainly concerning the technical and laboratory issues, linked with photography. Are things such as composition and aesthetics of the photo even teachable? No, I believe it’s something you cannot learn. I do not want to sound conceitedly, but in my opinion it is more a matter of talent.

One of the periods in Tadeusz Rolke’s photography starts in the 60s. Thanks to the cooperation with various editorial offices, he has the opportunity to be engaged in different, independent projects. His role is to document the night life in the city: Saturday night binges, sleazy bars, drunk tanks or people walking in the streets. At the same time he covers news stories, such as Charles de Gaulle visit to Warsaw or documents bank holidays and Polish United Worker’s Party sessions. On the other hand, close relations with some Polish artists resulted in the beautiful and original portrays. As he summarized it in the interview for Przekroj: “Fortunately, I was never classified to only one type of photography.” Broad interests and the joy of mixing styles of photography influence the way Tadeusz Rolke documents every-day life in his pictures. “I was always half-way there: on one hand I was a true craftsman and on the other hand, I was an unfinished art historian. That was my field of interest: lyrical abstraction, action painting – all the things which came from the States. Later, it was also the constructivists: form Malewicz to Mondrian. My interests were for sure a bit wider that those of a guy who just “got to work” he said.

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photo source Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

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photos source Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

You are a truly versatile photographer. Which of the fields are your favourite? It was quite early when I stopped being just a news photographer. I threw myself into fashion and editorial photos, which are tremendously engaging. When you are doing reportage, you come across a particular situation and you actually have no effect on it. You just do it and that’s it, the party is over and you simply collect the effect of your work – better or worse. In the end, you have no power whatsoever to change it. In arranged photographs, editorials, we start with our own idea. Next, there comes the confrontation of the idea with the reality: is it going to work? Is this model appropriate? Props? Lights? It’s remarkably engaging. Many things to plan and organise.

What is the most appealing in being a photographer? The joy of taking pictures. The whole process is fascinating, the fact that it is not an obligation but a simple joy. And what makes a photo a good one? The content. The relation between the message and the form. Just look at the pictures from World Press Photo. The awarded photo is better from the others because it has fulfilled certain requirements of harmony. The amount of information is balanced with the form and the picture is not overloaded. The main advantage of some pictures is actually the economy of messages – that there is not too many of them. It can be just a picture of still nature or of a landscape. Very often, less is more.

photos source, 2. Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

Recalling his most active years, in an interview for Przekroj magazine, from 2009, Tadeusz Rolke mentioned that he always had this need of doing something that he used to call “unnecessary photography”. “I am going on holidays with my girlfriend. We travel to Masuria district. She is taking her clothes off and I take pictures of her. Because why not? I am on a festival in Greece, I have some spare time. Sunset, beautiful light coming through the window. I move the bottle of wine and put the shirt on the hanger - and that is mine still life. Through the lens of my camera, I study the surrounding reality. Little pleasures. Thanks to this, I always

have something to do, something to enjoy. Photography is the art of registering. There is no need for some elaborated moves. Simple solutions are always the best.” Photographs taken by chance constitute a record of photographer’s active social life, in the 60s. Parties, journeys, concerts, festivals, countryside get-a-ways. When admiring Rolke’s works, suddenly Tadeusz the observer becomes Tadeusz the participant of the events presented in the composition. The causality of the moment registered in the shot of the camera, seemingly effortless and not on purpose, becomes the strongest argument of the photographer.

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Towards the end of the 50s, Tadeusz Rolke began a regular collaboration with Barbara Hoff, fashion designer, who he met back in the University days. The effects of their co-work were published in weekly magazine Przekroj, which was influencing the fashion taste of a few generations of Polish women in Polish People’s Republic. The fashion matter in times of communism is also discussed in a documentary titled “Political Dress”. The film presents icons of Polish fashion history sharing their opinions on fashion philosophy of those times. Among many, in the documentary appears Tadeusz Rolke, Barbara Hoff, a legendary Polish designer, and Barbara Hulanicki a fashion illustrator and founder of Biba fashion house.

How did the fashion photo shoot look like back in the days? It was very simple. With Barbara Hoff we performed a photo shoot with a team of three people only, that is Barbara, model and me. Therefore, it was more of a social activity and the photo shoot was a joyful experience. Generally, we used to look for some interiors or neutral background; we always used natural light since there was no professional equipment. We always tried to get the best results with the conditions we had to work in. Today, thanks to the simplicity, we admire the power and uniqueness of those photos.

With Barbara, we did fashion photo shoots for Przekroj magazine, therefore the authorities did not comment on fashion editorials. Barbara for sure had a lot of autonomy in the editorial office. Marian Eile, founder and former editor-in-chief of Przekroj, trusted her taste and gave her the freedom of mind. It was her column and we filled it with our photographs.

„Rolke’s photographs stand out for their extremely individual structure. He is more interested in the world of aesthetics, though occasionally he concentrates on the surrounding reality. Perhaps, it is the result of the unfinished studies on history of art faculty? Anyway, this aesthetic tone dominates, even in the photographs presenting true ugliness”, comments Boguslaw Deptula, historian, art critic and art dealer.

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photos source Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

Did the authorities try to influence somehow the way fashion catalogues were issued?

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photo courtesy of Beata Zawrzel

A is for action action |ˈakʃ(ə)n| noun 1 [ mass noun ] the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim. 2 a thing done; an act 3 the way in which something works or moves.

How to be an artist by Jagoda Gieraltowska

Photos courtesy of ナ「kasz Wierzbowski

The ultimate guide to reveal your creative spirit. Here are the tips which you will not hear from your family, friends or in the art school. Today we want to share with you the guidelines that we learned from the book "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. So please, read, remember and stay inspired.

Wonder at something. If everybody is wondering about apples, go wonder about oranges.

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See the difference to make a difference.

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Start copying. You don't want to look like your hero, you want to see like your hero.

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Be curious.

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Do not worry about doing research. Just search. But leave home, brain gets comfortable in everyday surroundings. Travel makes the world look new, and then our brain works harder.

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Fake it, till you make it.

Finally, share your work with others.

in PRO spi CRAS ra TINA TT II O ON N Photos Paola Vivas Styling Jagoda Gieraltowska

When it comes to being productive, many would say that the key to success is to stay focused and don’t put your work off until it’s done. Maybe for some people it works. However, there is also different perspective which for creatives is way more convincing – procrastination. Small side projects not only take your mind away from the work that’s needs to be done, but also bring new inspirations and ideas. Maira Kalman, artist, once said: “Avoiding work is the way to focus your mind”, and we completely agree with her.

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Ana is wearing sporty clothes mixed with cosy knitwear. The grey mohair sweater is by Zara and the neon yellow workout set is by Roxy. The look is completed with Saucony’s violet trainers with neon yellow laces.

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Creatives need time to sit and just dream or to share their thoughts with others. In both pictures, Ana wears a cropped long sleeve by American Apparel and the mohair pencil skirt by Zara. — 45 —

Go back to books you always wanted to read. Productive procrastination is when you can learn new things, which can help you finish your own projects. Ana is wearing unisex denim shearling jacket and cable sweater by American Apparel. The polka dot mesh panties are by Miss Crofton.

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Messing around and wondering is crucial, so just take a break. On this page, Ana is pictured wearing a crisp white dress by Sabinna and a mustard jumper by Zara. Wool fedora hat by French Connection and CAT’s burgundy boots complete the look. On the right she wears the peach chiffon lingerie set by Miss Crofton and matching colour button blouse by Zara.

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A long walk is not only good for health but also for discovering hidden gems around your neighbourhood. Ana is wearing a classic varsity jacket, basic cropped top and leg warmers by American Apparel. The white leather mid skirt and shoes are by Zara.

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A time when you let yourself enjoy yourself is when the magic happens and you get inspired. Ana wears the peach chiffon lingerie set by Miss Crofton and buttoned blouse by Zara.

Model: Ana Castelo - Milk Management Make up artist & hair stylist: Rachel Thomas Photography assistant: Arianna Lago Styling assistant: Katarzyna Sznajder

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A PAPER GAME Photos Laura Cammarata Styling Jagoda Gieraltowska

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Top and skirt Merci Me Shoes Saucony — 56 —

Top and shorts AVA Catherside Sandals Juju Shoes

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Dress Marianna Jungmann Socks Stance, Shoes Saucony Opposite page Neck bodysuit American Apparel Dress Marianna Jungmann

Top American Apparel Coat Merci Me Shorts AVA Catherside Sandals Juju Shoes

Top & trousers Marina London Sandals Topshop

Dress AVA Catherside Sandals Topshop

Sweater American Apparel Trousers AVA Catherside Boots CAT Opposite page Top AVA Catherside White vest Merci Me Black vest AVA Catherside Shoes Saucony

Model: Francesca - FM London Make up artist: Virginia Bertolani Hair stylist: Takuya Uchiyama Styling assistant: Kaja Pietkiewicz

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A is for ambition ambition |amˈbɪʃ(ə)n| noun A strong desire to do or achieve something.

Art Stealer

Polish artist based in Hackney, London, tells about his crazes Words Emily Cha Photos Mina Son

Author Austin Kleon preached that we “steal like an artist” through his best selling book titled those exact words. We learn to understand, especially in the creative industry, that it’s not the copying that’s encouraged, but it’s the reinterpreting and the recreating that makes “stealing” a process of art.

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The Polish born, awarded with Central Saint Martin scholarship, Piotr Krzymowski is a bit different. Yes, he is inspired by ready-made images, especially from the 60s and 70s, but he prefers to have as little knowledge about the details of the image as possible – who the model and the photographer are, or even what the image is about. ‘I’m a big fan of collecting and stealing images. Even if I buy these magazines, I like to think that I am. (why?) Because I’m a fetishist!’ he says with a wide grin. The anonymity is what excites him. It should have been obvious for us. One of the first things we were drawn to as we walked into his studio was the wall of bullfighters’ portraits. All of them were wearing elaborate costumes, looking extremely proud of themselves, especially those who had their hands were directing at their pelvic areas. Each portrait was supported by clay stands that were deliberately shaped like a phallus. “Bullfighters present their genital to the public when they win a match”, Krzymowski explained, “For some reason the whole idea of dressing immaculately and emphasizing your pelvic area seemed extremely fetishistic to me”. It was more about how he took these anonymous images that took advantage of the unknown factors and gave them his touch – not literally, but very metaphorically. In truth, we’re led to see the final products this way because of his transformations on the image.

It was at this moment when we realized his real intentions as an artist – it’s not the whole idea of sexualization that’s specifically fetishistic. In his Stockwell studio, which he shares with other Central Saint Martins graduates, we had a chance to go through his treasure box, full of magazines from the 60s. His most well known pieces have always been inspired by images from this era. Taking pieces and bits from several images and collaging them allows the piece a new identity. The magazines are extremely rare to find these days, but the 24 year-old artist found them in a bulk and purchased them at a bargain. Starting from these existing images, Piotr transforms the original piece through his cutting, collecting, and collaging them to a separate piece. Interestingly, whether the original image had the same intention or not suddenly does not matter because it has already become an entirely different piece through his perspective. His sources come from all over the world, yet he loves to take images from the rich history of Poland. Ty i Ja is his go-to magazine aside from others such as Blanco e Negro. And we wondered, why do these images from 60s continue to strike him? “Despite the fact that [the pictures] are not his own, have no personal connection to him, nor are taken within the current time period, it leaves room for so much anonymity and therefore, creativity”. His preference to not know the background of an image is the one reason why he’s able to look at things in such a different and fresh way.

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Wild card - series of bullfighters’ portraits on clay stands, 2014 — 75 —

Storyboards - series of storyboards on wooden panels, 2014.

Opposite page: OH WELL collage on cactus artwork made by Piotr specially for OH WELL magazine — 77 —

V Words Jagoda Gieraltowska Photos courtesy of Zuzanna Kozerska




Ambition on the roll


he desire to get going is what can build your success, not a degree. After realizing that, Zuza Kozerska left the School of Design in Barcelona and decided to take advantage of her ambitious spirit. She knew that setting up her own business is something that she wanted to do. Pairing her passion for baking and creativity seemed like the perfect match from the beginning. Then her sister pitched the idea of engraving a patterned rolling pin. “So it all started with my niece’s birthday, she is absolutely nuts about cats! I knew without any hesitations what would be the first pattern I would make.” After baking hundreds of trays full of shortbreads, trying different recipes, not only she did find out the perfect one, but also it turned out that her engraved kitchen equipment really worked. And that’s how she rolls today. The beginning was difficult, but it always is. Starting from designing patterns, setting up the laser engraver, polishing ready made rolling pins then finally packaging and responding to orders, she was doing everything by herself. Shortly Yann, Zuza’s life partner, became her ‘partner in crime’ and joined production line in Valek. Today, this Warsaw based ambitious girl employs three more people full time.

The first rolling pin with Merry Christmas sequence appeared for on-line sale December last year. Just after a few months the baking-accessory business got serious. In March, Zuza already prepared a whole series of designs ranging from foxes, dinosaurs, dachshunds, flowers, festive ornaments and even catchphrases. What is more, every rolling pin has a cute handwritten sign “made in Poland” on the handle. For real baking enthusiasts Zuza creates bespoke patterns or engraves special dedications. “Just recently I made a rolling pin with Nicolas Cage’s face sequence… looks like there he still got fans around the world and now one of them can bite him in the face” she smiles.

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What else makes these ordinary items so extraordinary? Well, it’s not about a nice looking gadget in your kitchen, but the pattern really impresses on the dough and stays on the pastry after baking. The secret is to remember to preheat an oven and don’t use baking soda. Every rolling pin comes in a cool triangular or round package with home-made cookies and the perfect recipe to bake your own.

If you would like to have one at home, those who live in Warsaw have a chance to purchase them at occasional markets and handcraft events in the city. However, these Polish beech rolling pins are mainly sold on-line on Valek’s official web page. Moreover, they are available on e-commerce websites focused on handmade items like Etsy. Most of the requests come from the United States, the UK, Germany, Australia, but also from China, Japan or the United Arab Emirates. Basically, Valek rolls all over the world.

Personally I would recommend keeping an eye on this ambitious girl. For now, Zuza and Yann are waiting for “rolling pin craze” to be over. It’s only the matter of time when they will introduce cool new products on the hand craft market. New ideas are already waiting to be carved.

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The perfect shortbreads Ingredients 230 grams unsalted butter 175 grams icing sugar 1 egg {room temperature} 1.5-2 teaspoons vanilla extract or any other of your choice 1 teaspoon salt 400-425 grams all-purpose flour Note: don’t use baking soda or baking powder!

Preparation Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. Combine butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well. Sift flour and salt together, then add dry ingredients to wet mixture in parts until well blend. Roll the dough (about 0,5cm), emboss and cut cookies into desired shapes. Use extra flour if necessary. Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.

Remember to preheat the oven and apply the right amount of pressure on the dough.

A is for adventure adventure |ədˈvɛntʃə| noun an unusual and exciting or daring experience



Words Jagoda Gieraltowska Photos Kasia Bobula

The Biebrza National Park, is a land of swamps and damp forests, with unique flora species and a wide range of wild animals. We are in Central Europe’s largest area of natural bog. It is Poland’s largest National Park, stretching more than 100km from close to the Belarus border in the North to the Narew River in the South. In the land of untamed nature, there is a hidden gem of set by human- a small regional museum run by only one man. “The King of Biebrza”, Krzysztof Kawenczynski, the man who chose nature over city life and his family.

Krzysztof Kawenczynski is former antique book dealer and naive art collector, who for the past 20 years has been living in the Biebrza National Park. For over 14 years he was the only person living in Budy village. When he first arrived only dogs, deer, moose and sometimes wild wolves were keeping him company. Today, in Budy he has neighbours who also ran away from big cities looking for peace and quiet. The village is placed around 180km from Warsaw, close to the Belarus border. The varied landscape consists of river sprawls, peat bogs, marshes and damp forests. Typical local flora includes numerous species of moss, a wide range of medicinal herbs and fruits like Cow Berry, and all kinds of Red Data Listed flowers such as orchid Ladies Slipper or Fritillary. Surrounded by swamplands, Krzysztof created a heritage park Sucha Barc, where he started to curate folk art, relics and souvenirs.

In front of the house, there is a heap of stones. Wicker baskets hanging on a wooden porch wobble slightly and a wooden hoopoe looks through the window next to the entrance. A small ornamental cow with a bell around its neck is attached to the front doors and greets the guests. But the remarkable atmosphere is inside the wooden house. The smell of firewood, sheepskins and leather creates the memorable mood. There is no much light, but you can easily see all the treasures hidden in this mysterious interior. The shelves with old books and bibelots are almost everywhere. Old walls are full of watercolour paintings, family portraits and woodcarvings. On the windowsill there are clay vases and straw ornaments. One of the rooms hides a set of old wooden churns and some vintage blankets, mixed with furs and carpets. The old timber house reveals the secreted world of carved animals and human figures, old-style Christian posters, deer skulls and small colourful glass artworks. There is no space for modern gadgets or technological devices.

Krzysztof ’s life stays in harmony with nature. Each day of “King of Biebrza” is determined by the season and depends on the weather. He wakes up with the sun and the peace of nature completes him. It’s almost impossible to believe that the man needs so little in life, just wildness. The Sucha Barc is a real sanctuary of everything what is still untouched and free. Krzysztof never keeps his pets leashed and wild animals are free to come close to his house. This place has remarkable atmosphere and charm. Being here makes me wonder, is it the only last heritage park like this in Poland, or is it still possible to find such picturesque hidden gems across the country?

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no milk today Although, in Polish “bar mleczny” literally means “milk bar”, don’t be mistaken with traditional Australian corner shop. Milk bar in Poland is a cafeteria (usually self-service) popularized during communism with inexpensive Polish traditional meals. Many would think that the menu is based on the dairy, however Poland’s greasy spoon specials are mainly savoury dishes. What’s interesting, they still exist across the country and even are considered as a cool place to dine. Encouraged by this fact, we decided to visit one of the popular Polish canteens in London, “Mamuśka” in Elephant and Castle, to check if it feels like homeland’s.

by Karolina Wiercigroch & Jagoda Gieraltowska

Chleb ze smalcem

Country-style lard spread with pork scratchings served with fresh bread and pickles. Makes a perfect combination with a shot (or three) of Polish vodka.

Sałatka Jarzynowa

Although some people believe it should be called Russian salad, it’s 100% Polish (trust us!). A classic composition of hardboiled eggs, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, gherkins and green peas combined with mayonnaise, served with bread and (if you’re lucky) butter.


Cabbage rolls, for a mysterious reason called little pigeons in Polish. Minced pork and rice filling rolled in a cabbage leaf usually served with tomato or dill sauce. This dish would be incomplete without portion of creamy mashed potatoes.

Pierogi z kapustą i grzybami

Polish dumplings, generously filled with sauerkraut and mushroom, topped with browned onion and butter. This guilty pleasure is a must-have on the Christmas Eve dinner.

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Placki ziemniaczane

Golden potato pancakes served with a topping of your choice: mushroom sauce or gulasz. If you are a sweet tooth go with sour cream and sprinkle some sugar on the top.

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These days when we think about new exploration, many would have in mind trying out new place for take-away or (for more brave ones) going to Zone 3 to find out latest hipster spots. However, it seems that with a little bit of creativity you can discover really interesting thing in your own kitchen. If you are bored

with peanut butter and jelly or salted caramel mixed with chocolate is not longer on your comfort food list, go for some innovations. These dishes might seem like and absurd but definitely will please your taste buds.

Words & photos Karolina Wiercigroch

Popcorn and milk

Fries and ice cream

Did you know that freshly popped kernels could be better than breakfast cereals? Pour some cold milk over sweet buttered popcorn and make your morning memorable!

No one can argue that the combination of fat and sugar is simply mind blowing. So you should be surprised about dipping French-fries in vanilla ice cream sounds. The contrast of textures, flavours and temperatures makes this fusion truly unique.

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s u r d

Hot dogs and champagne

Bacon and chocolate

This one is looks like the beauty and the beast served at once. Mésalliance? Don’t say until you taste it!

There is no doubt that they are meant to be together on one plate. Dip crispy strips of bacon in a melted chocolate of your choice for a sweet and salty sensation.

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issue A

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OH WELL magazine  

A issue 2015 OH WELL magazine is a platform made by aspiring artists and writers who want to create and share their ideas on good quality p...