My grandmother was from Poland. She was this feisty, funny, big-hearted little woman who had a huge impact on me as a child. I mention her because the latest artist to arrive at Other Cool Birds comes all the way from the land of my grandmother’s birth. But that’s not why I’m such a fan of the work of artist Sainer Etam.
Take a look below and see for yourself why I’m spellbound by many of his paintings.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know nearly enough about Sainer as an artist or a person. What I do know is this—his paintings are extraordinary. That includes the colossal murals he does on buildings (see gallery at bottom).
I’m constantly searching the Internet for artists whose work might resonate with me on multiple levels and last week I came across a blog extolling the talents of several painters whom “I need in my life.”
I was curious about such a claim, so I checked out Sainer’s work on Behance and on the website he shares with collaborator and fellow street artist, Bezt.
I get it, now. Why I needed to be aware of this artist. And I hope you will as well.
I’m consistent, I suppose, in what elements seem to speak to me when it comes to my appreciation of visual art—juxtaposition, color, unique or interesting characters and the stories they give rise to in my imagination.
With Sainer’s work, all of these factors are present. And it’s the way those colors and juxtapositions convey mood and personality, the way they suggest emotion as well as story, that have me going back to Sainer’s paintings again and again.
Take “Lost” for example. The clothing, the bend of the body offer several potential stories, but then the head suggests something else, something almost magical or supernatural, mystical perhaps.
I don’t usually attempt to analyze art. Not here anyway. I don’t try to ascertain and disseminate specific messages in the work I admire. That’s just not me.
What I do, though, is feel!
Deeply. Profoundly. And hope that you feel something as well.
I feel when I’m writing and I feel when I experience great art.
Sanier’s paintings allow me to feel multiple emotions, to conceive sundry possible stories. And I love that!
Take the painting “Stucked.” The body language: the body that seems to be falling down or being levitated, the head angled up, mouth open as if in anguish or in song.
I realize I might be way off when it comes to an interpretation. And as much as I want to understand an artist’s point or message, what I appreciate most in any form of art is what that art makes me see. What the artwork makes me feel.
I love the shades of green in “Stucked” and how the protagonist seems to be melting. I love what those things might mean.
According to this article from a couple years ago, Sainer and Bezt, known as Etam Cru, tend to not share the meaning behind their work. And that’s fine by me.
What do you see when you look at it? Do you feel anything?
There’s a surrealism to Sanier’s paintings and, according to a couple articles I read, there are also elements of “Eastern European mysticism and folkloric symbolism.” I don’t know enough about those things either, but hopefully in the weeks to come I’ll investigate them and learn more.
With paintings like “Lost,” “Day Dream,” “Stucked,” “The Other Side of the Game,” “Touch,” and “Ugly Duckling,” I am compelled by the rich, wonderful colors; the juxtaposition of angles, but also of subject matter.
I am moved by the way all of these things makes me feel.
The same is true of graffiti pieces like “Wrapped,” “Musician,” and “Primavera.”Look at how huge this mural in Bydgoszcz is.
I have to admit, I have long found street art compelling and worthy of serious consideration. Not all of it, of course, like any other medium, but when you come across work by artists as talented as Sainer, it’s hard to not be taken.
I can’t even imagine how breathtaking it must be to stand on the street next to such massive pieces.
Graffiti artist, muralist, street artist – these are synonyms for just one of the ways Sainer shares his prodigious talents with the world. With Bezt, Sainer “creates massive street art murals that are often several stories tall and dripping with color.”
A native of Poland, Sainer apparently met Bezt at the Academy of Fine Arts. According to an article on Amusing Planet, both are “successful commercial artists and freelance designers, but its their graffiti culture that have taken Europe by storm.”
I can’t look at a painting like “Last Supper” and not experience a mix of emotions. I can’t not imagine several possible scenarios that led to the moment Sainer captured.
I love how the art forces me to wonder, to think, to imagine, to empathize almost instantaneously.
I’m reminded of two quotes, the first by Thoreau, the second by Godard.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
“Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.”
For me, each painting and mural I come across by Sainer work reveals the world in another way, a new way. Each piece offers me a view I had never had before. And in doing so it also gets me to see myself in new ways. My place in that world, in relationship to the characters he creates. It opens up a conversation, even if it’s only one spoken quietly in my own mind, in my own heart.
And here, of course. Isn’t that more meaningful anyway, that what the artist might say in words? How his or her work impacts our lives? Changes us in small ways? Yeah, I think that’s why I am such a fan of Sainer’s work. And, you know, because it’s beautiful as well.
Check out the many paintings by Sainer on Instagram, Behance, and on his website. You can also find him on Facebook. According to CNN, street art is a big thing in Poland in more ways than one. You can see a couple of Sainer’s murals and other paintings below in the gallery.