Contemporary Charcoals: The Work of Eryk Giermak
Examining the rich variety of artists working with charcoal requires turning the lens upon those working in the medium today. Accordingly, this week’s post inaugurates a new intermittent series initiating such an investigation. Entitled “Contemporary Charcoals,” these entries will feature the works of rising international artists who are taking the art of charcoal drawing to new levels, from classical to cutting edge. And, of course, showcased simultaneously with the celebration of these talents is the remarkable versatility of the charcoal medium, which lends itself as much to traditional academic approaches as it does to more abstract expression. Few embody this freedom of expression as well as our first featured artist, Eryk Giermak. A Polish artist working in the United Kingdom, Giermak centers his artistic production in abstract charcoal works that explore both the extremes of tonal value and the boundaries between real and unreal. Eryk took the time to answer some questions about his approach, which allow us a brief peek into his working process and his inspiration. For more about Giermak and his work, please visit his website.
Nitram Charcoal (NC): If you had only one word to describe your art, what would you choose?
Eryk Giermak (EG): Joy.
NC: What drew you to working in charcoal? What advantages do you think it has over other media?
EG: I tried many techniques before I came to charcoal. In this technique you are doing, or not doing. There is no try. Advantages? This is not a question for me; you need to ask the Italian Renaissance masters - they knew what to do with charcoal!
NC: What’s the first piece of art you’ve ever created? What did you learn from it?
EG: Once upon a time...I invited some pupils from primary school to watch my
NC: Can you tell us more about one of your favorite creations? Where did you create it? Does it have a story attached?
EG: Freedom - the freedom to feel emotions.