yerkaland-inspiration for the matt painting PROJECT- ARD 516
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yerkaland-inspiration for the matt painting PROJECT- ARD 516

Jacek Yerka was born in Toruń, Poland, in 1952. . His earliest memories were of paints, inks, paper, rubbers and brushes. As a child, Yerka loved to draw and make sculptures. He hated playing outside, and preferred to sit down with a pencil, creating and exploring his own world. This difference between the other children in his primary school led to social problems with his peers and Yerka describes his primary school life as being a „grey, sometimes horrifying reality”. However, Yerka later became 'untouchable’ in his high school due to his clever sketches of the school’s worst bullies.

Yerka began working full-time as an artist in 1980. He had several contracts with galleries in Warsaw and also worked for commissions. He cites Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Cagliostro, Jan van Eyck, and Hugo van der Goes as formative influences on his work. His subject matter ranges from odd beasts to whimsical landscapes incorporating extraordinary architecture, and includes imagery gleaned from his childhood, such as his grandmother’s kitchen. Says Yerka, „For me, the 1950s were a kind of Golden Age … If I were, for instance, to paint a computer, it would definitely have a pre-war aesthetic to it.”

In 1990, Yerka received a contract with Hollywood producer Renee Daalder to design figures, monster-machines and surreal landscapes for the science fiction film Strawberry fields. The film planned to combine both Yerka’s work with songs from the Beatles and Yerka participated in the first stage of its production. Work typically progresses from a graphite sketch, to crayon drawing, then a pastel com, and finally an acrylic painting.

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