Krzysztof Marek Bąk is a Polish graphic artist born in 1977. He is one of the most notable visual artists of his country. His work focuses on the computer design, a technique he has worked with for two decades. Bak also teaches as a professor of digital art at the Silesian University in Katowice. For almost 3 years now he has been designing bookplates and given his distinctive style and diverse content, many collectors have shown great interest with a positive response.
Krzysztof Bak comes from a working-class background that provided no appreciation for art. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw in Poland where he developed his talents with digital graphics. His art has been presented in about 50 solo and over 100 group exhibitions. The artistic commissions he has received from home and abroad have resulted in the creation of seven free-art installations in the UK.
During 2008 Bak won the 3rd prize for CGD — Exlibris competition at the International Exlibris Centrum in Sint Niklaas, Belgium. He also received numerous awards and prizes in international competitions and exhibitions. His works can be seen in the National Museum of Kracow, Poland and in the museums of Nysa, Bielsko–Biala, and Augustow Museum.
Sources of his inspiration come from the Far East and especially the Zen culture. Albrecht Dürer and Francisco de Zubarán are Great Masters who have influenced him too.
Bookplates are an art form and a reflection of the client for Bak. His bookplates are always a metaphor that gives insight into the nature and uniqueness of his client. The dialogue between the artist and client is important to him.
He calls a "supra-libris" a symbolization of the client and his subject. He then discovers the pure essence as expressed through simple forms combined with the text, which is part of the harmonious whole. He then makes 2–3 sketches, from which the client can choose the one suitable for him.
I hope that my work appeals to you, because I make the designs according to my taste and artistic experience. It is my idea, composition, and style. Change my concept destroy it. I can accept the situation where the person who commissions me may not like my idea, so rather than compromising, I will not accept any payment. Usually, our communication begins and we start to improve on the details in the art.
In addition, he must draw for a bookplate 20,000 "lines" and he can not change or move individual parts. That is so special about this form of computer technology.
For this reason, he chooses mostly classical motifs, traditional aesthetic that has no room for false morality or shocks.
When working on a bookplate I try to study and understand the owner and subject. I try to avoid the obvious associations, seeking metaphors, poetry, and pictures within the work. I do not like a simple interpretation. I like to stimulate the viewer with long contemplation of finding different meanings and content.
Bak always works with a contrasting background for the images — sometimes black, sometimes white — often his subjects come from nature. As the examples of his work show, there are no thematic restrictions. Krzysztof Bak describes himself as an introvert and he writes a lot of letters and emails in the creation of bookplates. This is a form of communication for him.
In addition to the graphic arts, he writes poetry and detective stories. He enjoys travel, as can be seen clearly by his attendance at many exhibitions in other countries.
The prices for his bookplates are figured by the number of prints. For 3 prints he charges 25 € and 50 prints for 120 €.
His prices are affordable and it should be worthwhile to order a bookplate edition from him.
Contact can be made via traditional post or electronically.
This article first appeared in the German Ex Libris Association’s (DEG) publication: MITTEILUNGEN DER DEUTSCHEN EXLIBRIS-GESELLSCHAFT Nr. 3/2013, p. 70/71.
Article republished in the Ex Libris Chronicle Volume 12 No. 4