The ethereal work of Polish muralist Natalia Rak

By Emma Regolini

January 31, 2020

You may recognise the work of Natalia Rak from her gradient blending, ethereal murals spread across the world and Instagram. The Polish born muralist studied graphic, screen-printing and poster design but later on began to focus on painting and larger scale projects.

Growing up in a small Polish village, Natalia often recounts the absence of street art in her physical surroundings. Today she draws inspiration from mythology, religious symbols and fables.

Today it is widely agreed that Natalia’s murals appear to transcend their physical environments. Rak’s use of symbolism and references to fable-like iconography adds a tangible element of magic to her work. Natalia often cites her deep connection to nature and the importance of protecting endangered species, flora and fauna.

Rak’s murals often portray women from an ethereal perspective. Carving her own space in the street art arena, the Polish muralist says that as a female artist, she understands the complex nature of what it is to be a woman.

Rak also explains that she is more interested in created figures with often-androgynous faces, focusing on their expression and form rather than traditional portrayals of females and males (in Eastern European cultures).

Despite the recurring presence of females in her work, Natalia says that there were not many female street artists to look up to years ago. In what could be considered a male-dominated space, Natalia hopes to be as skilled as her male counterparts while forging her own path and style.

Rak’s work and murals have been included in numerous group exhibitions around the world since 2009. In past interviews Natalia highlights the duality of sharing your work on social media as an artist while remaining inspired and continually creating. She says it is important to share high quality images of your work, sharing the process and how pieces are created

Interview with Sabek

You know straight away when you see a piece by Sabek; his distinct style, the block colours and generally the animal subject matter.

The piece below was one of our most liked images of August, so we thought we’d get in touch with Sabek to find out more about his background, his inspiration and his artwork.

Enjoy!

street art sabek woman and birds

Where are you from and when did you start painting?

I’m from Madrid, Spain, and I start to paint around 15 years ago.

Why do you paint?

Because I need it, I can not imagine my life without painting!

What made you choose the style you paint?

It chose me! It’s something that was happening over time, the theme I choose to paint and the practice of doing it, drove me to my actual style.

street art sabek Caballo chucaro

How do you choose the subject matter of your pieces?

Animals turn out to be the driving force of my work, in which fierce and entrenched values reflect on the places that we have relegated them as mere resources for food or recreation, denouncing the need for human beings to control and tame the wild to dispossess the animals in their essence.

What techniques do you use to create your work?

Mixed media of spray can and wall paint.

Who and/or what influences your work?

All our environment, the people what I have around, animals, the relationship between human and animal behaviour.

street art sabek wolf

What’s the public perception of your work?

Mostly the people who pass by the walls I’m painting are happy with my paintings, they shout things like ¨love it” ¨thank you to make our city more beautiful, but of course, some of them are not really into art or culture, or just don’t like the colours or characters I’m painting and they complain.

In something like public art is difficult to make everyone happy, actually what we do sometimes is difficult to understand, traveling around the world making our work (with the best wishes) to everyone who is living there, but most of the times is small time to understand the local culture, and there could be some misunderstandings.

But in the end like the 95% of my experiences were completely positives, meeting amazing local people which gives you a good feedback and lend you a helping hand in all aspects.

street art sabek bird

What challenges do you face when painting?

Rain, problems with the lift, bad coordination, there’s always something that goes wrong but everything has a a solution! The most challenging aspect is not having a lot of time to make the piece. Painting really big facades in just 6/7 days, sometimes you need to be very focused and active even if everything what I mentioned is working well.

Which has been your favourite piece to paint?

It’s difficult for me to choose, I was really comfortable in many places with great people which makes it a formidable experience.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I was on a road trip in the USA, working on severals projects. It was a month and a half painting almost everyday, it was really challenging and exhausted but in the end, when I realised everything what was done, it gave me an idea of what I was capable of.

street art sabek wolf deer

Do you have any projects coming up?

Yes some, I will be traveling to Buenos Aires for Color BA and then Washington D.C for a commission project. And some more projects coming up.

Many thanks to Sabek for speaking to us! Find more of his work on Global Street Art or on Instagram.