Creative Catch Up with Ingrid Bartkowiak

Get to know local artist and illustrator Ingrid Bartkowiak! We caught up with Ingrid as she gets ready to join us again at The Finders Keepers Brisbane this September 2-4! Read on for insights about her creative journey, her first experience at our multi-day markets (she almost didn’t make it!) and what we can expect at her market stall. Thanks, Ingrid for sharing your creative journey with us!

Hey Ingrid, introduce yourself:

Hello! My name’s Ingrid, and I’m an artist and illustrator based in Meanjin/Brisbane. I create hand-painted illustrations that mainly focus on flora, fauna and fungi. I’m super stoked to have illustrated a children’s book, ‘ Naturopolis’, that’s just been released. I’m also releasing a 2023 artist wall calendar in September that will be themed around the wonderful world of fungi.

What do you do, and how did you get started?

I studied a Bachelor of Fine Art at QCA, graduating in 2019. I knew I really wanted to work in the arts industry but had to do quite a bit of research to work out the best way to approach it (and a pathway that was also financially viable!). I’d always had an interest in illustration, so I started very simply by illustrating and selling greeting cards. I then built this up slowly to a larger online shop and started taking on an array of client jobs such as mural work, picture books, packaging illustration and commissions.

Your artworks are so detailed and colourful; How long does it usually take to complete an artwork?

This is such a hard question to answer! I feel like some artworks flow out of me in a matter of days, whereas others take weeks or even months to finalise. I also tend to work in series – for example, right now, I am painting fungi. This involves a lot of initial research to get familiar with the subject and make sure I am creating artworks that make sense from an ecological perspective and are visually pleasing. I love starting a project by visiting the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens Library and borrowing books to fill my brain with ideas!

Where do you find inspiration?

I’ve always been drawn to small and intricate things that may go unnoticed, like a leaf unfurling or a tuft of moss. I love botanical illustration, patterns, colour and discovering how different parts of nature link up (and how this might be depicted in a painting). Colour-wise – I don’t tend to stick to ‘one palette’. Each artwork is informed by its subject, and I work from there. I like to include bold and sometimes abstract elements to keep the artwork fresh and exciting.

Last season you had a bit of a wild situation. Can you tell us about that and how it made you feel to have your friends and family step up to support you?

Oh, golly! So in the week leading up to Finders (my first ever multi-day market, too!), I tested positive for covid the night before the markets started! Luckily, my partner had already reserved the weekend to give me a hand with lunch breaks and lifts, and my amazing mum happened to be free on Friday to help him with bump in. These two legends set up the stall amazingly without ever having done it before, and on top of that, I had a whole team of friends who came in to help run the stall over the weekend. I cannot thank Lachie, Tricia, Virag, Harry, Teddy and Connor enough for doing such an incredible job! The feedback I got from customers was beautiful, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family willing to help me like that.

What can we expect from your stall at this event?

I feel like I’ve already harped on about it, but the 2023 Calendar will be brand spanking new (you can pre-order before the market to secure a copy to collect there)! I’ll also have the copies of the picture book, which I’m so excited to be able to share (it’s all about finding nature in cities and urban scapes, so perfect for Brisbane city dwellers). I’ll have some new card designs and a few new original artworks too!

Connect with Ingrid Bartkowiak:

See you at the markets!

Meet the makers at the Brisbane/Meanjin Markets this 2-4 September at the Exhibition Building, Brisbane Showgrounds. Tickets are available here, or you can grab them at the door.

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