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Q&A with Interdisciplinary artist Diana Pietrzyk

Diana Pietrzyk is an interdisciplinary artist who explores an array of mediums including gifs, painting, illustration, and photography. Most recently, she designed neon signs for Nike’s Air Max Day.

I discovered her amazing work on Giphy where she’s racked up 1 billion GIF views!

How would you explain what you do?

I guess that depends on if you are asking about an individual medium or all. I like to call myself an Interdisciplinary artist because I explore different mediums when it comes to expressing myself. I enjoy GIF making or amateur animation as I call it jokingly. Next to GIFs, I am an Art Director/ Graphic Designer, Illustrator, photographer, sort of a set/prop maker once in a while, and I enjoy painting. When I paint it can be on anything from pots, canvases, to windows for storefronts on Holidays. 🙂

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am just working on my own passion work as time goes. I am also being filmed for a small documentary about female artists which is pretty neat.

How would someone recognize your work?

Most of my work has a neon aesthetic. I’ve been working with this look and feel for about a year and a half now and I think it is sticking pretty decently haha. I mean, I’ll have friends send me stories from other IG accounts using my neon stickers asking “Did you make this?!” Or they will send me other neon works and say it reminds them of me which is cool.

How do you choose what to work on?

I choose to work on whatever my mood is telling me to. I mean unless it is for work. I have experienced ruts where the work was not coming in and I had no creative passion so I just don’t make anything. I don’t like to force my work. It has to come to me.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘I don’t like to force my work. It has to come to me.’ — Diana Pietrzyk” quote=”‘I don’t like to force my work. It has to come to me.’ — Diana Pietrzyk”]

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

My ideas are based on my imagination. Which is fueled by my own experiences in my life and things I see just living an everyday life. I daydream a lot.

Things I love that fuel my imagination:

  • Astronomy/ Outer space. I’ve always loved looking up at the stars since I was a kid.
  • Lights. Colorful lights (neon, Christmas lights, lite brites, etc).
  • Mexican folk art. I come from a Mexican family so you might see some references here and there to the culture in my work.
  • Flowers. I almost went to college to pursue a career in floral design lol
  • MUSIC

How long does a piece typically take you?

For the animations, it takes me a few hours depending on how complex it is. I start from scratch and then kind of improvise a lot once the piece gets going. I can spend even more time when it is not just right.

If I am painting something, usually a few hours for a day or two. I paint when I feel like it so I kind of get impatient after a while haha.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Currently, I am most proud of the work I did with Nike. They had me design 5 neon signs for Air Max Day which was a check off my bucket list for me. I’ve always wanted to have neon signs made based off my designs. Looking into learning to bend neon one of these days. 

This GIF is cool too- it’s part of my new exploration in my work and I felt proud of myself after I created it.

Where did you get your training?

I’ve always been an illustrator my whole life and began learning technicalities in middle school art class. It all kind of started there and in High school, I dove into film photography and took college level Art/photo classes. Following that, I went to Columbia College Chicago to study Art + Design with a double minor in Photography + Creative advertising.

Once I graduated, working at an agency is where I learned a lot more of the things I know now and try to implicate into my work. I taught myself how to make gifs 🙂

Who inspires you or who do you look up to?

I look up to a lot of my creative friends in Chicago. I love everyone’s passion and determination to keep it going.

My mom has always been a superhero- cheesy? Nah. She taught me work ethic and I think to be a successful artist, you need that. My dad always pushed for my creativity as well as my boyfriend who is an artist himself.

Again, being surrounded by creative friends is one of the best things in my life I could say.

Where can people find you next?

Find me all over GIPHY: https://giphy.com/dianapietrzyk

You can use my stickers in your Instagram/Snapchat stories. Just search “Ptrzykd”

IG: https://www.instagram.com/dyanapyehchek/

Bonus questions: Anything goes…

What are you currently listening to?

I’ve been revisiting [easyazon_link identifier=”B003A9OVS0″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Plastic Beach[/easyazon_link] by the Gorillaz. I think it is an underrated album 🙂

Also, Have you seen the new Childish Gambino video? I love him.

What less than $10 item would you recommend/gift to someone else?

A small cactus + a hand painted pot. 🙂

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of Discvr.blog and four books.