Our design includes original designs of wall paintings by the family’s senior from the Polish People’s Republic period. You will also find contemporary variations on these historical works and original works referring to the style and climate of the design of the 1950s and 1960s.
We invite you to familiarize yourself with the profiles of the artists involved in the FREZO project.
Franciszek Michałek, 1940s
Franciszek Michałek was born in 1923 in Ostapie in present-day Ukraine in a family of Beskid highlanders who, after World War I, moved to Eastern borderlands of Poland. He spent his childhood in the village of Podolina in the district of Rypinski, where his parents moved to in the late 1920s. During World War II, he was forced to work in Prussia. Afterwards, he came to Toruń, where he began studying at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Nicolaus Copernicus University. He obtained a diploma in painting under Tymon Niesiołowski in 1950.
Although he remained under the influence of his supervisor, despite his efforts, Michałek was not persuaded to be offered assistantship at the university. He moved to Bydgoszcz, where he created his first large-format wall compositions. He designed decorations for schools, offices, cafes. After returning to Toruń in 1960, wanting to prove to Niesiołowski that he still deserves to be called his best student, he begins to prepare for the exhibition. He creates easel images and develops his own drawing technique on celluloid. Despite the exhibition’s success, the 1960s was for the artist primarily a period of activity in the Association of Polish Artists. He served as secretary, president, and member of the Artistic Council of the Toruń association, devoting most of his time, energy as well as his own money to it. By the end of the 1970s, he designed and made around forty wall decorations, including in Bydgoszcz, Ciechocinek, Włocławek and Toruń.
Each implementation was preceded by dozens of sketches, versions of projects, often not much different from each other. He interrupted some of the work already done and started it again. The final version was usually the one that was implemented within the set deadline. He created his own techniques, experimented, constructed new tools and developed ways of working on various substrates. The artist’s favorite technique became drawings on celluloid, which were burned during the premiere exhibition. In the field of designing interior furnishings, he was particularly keen on using plastic. After building his own lathe, his hallmark became turned, modular elements of wood, from which he composed his works, such as candlesticks and lamps. In order to efficiently create interior designs, he constructed his own drawing table and additional tools that allowed for quick and precise design work.
He ended his creative activity in the early 1980s. He died forgotten in 2006 in Toruń. He left behind several hundred designs, sketches and ideas, both painting and those related to interior design elements. Most of them saw the light of day only after his death.
Projects signed with ‘P + F Michałek’ have been created since 2012. Each of them is an intergenerational record of the dialogue of two artists – Franciszek’s son, Piotr with the late father Franciszek. A dialogue within the frame of art and design, conducted outside the area of time and place, in the universal language of visual signs. The impulse that starts this family-artistic thought is always the father’s composition, and its interpretation remains with the son. A concept of a mural or mosaic for several dozen years, maybe a graphic or an unfinished sketch … that’s how it starts. Each project is therefore a synthetic statement by both Michałeks, a consensus based on the colors, spots, points and lines inscribed in a specific ground. Piotr Michałek has showcased his dialogue with his father in a series of wallpapers, graphics and fabrics, but both have not yet said the last words.
Kasia Olechnicka, 1980s
Katarzyna Olechnicka-Śliwińska, a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, a member of the Association of Polish Ceramists, Association of Polish Artists and the Association of Polish Applied Arts. A teacher and painter by education, a ceramist and a resident of Gdańsk by choice and passion. Mother of three adult children, guardian of a big dog and and lazy cat. She is also niece of Franciszek.
For 10 years, a ceramics instructor conveying passion to children and adults regardless of their age and gender. An eternal seeker of knowledge and inspiration. She definitely prefers unique designs, more decorative and sculptural than utilitarian. Her past as a painter finds continuity in the methods of finishing works with many layers of glazes or engobe and drawing. She gladly uses glass as an element enriching her works.
Piotr Michałek, 1980s
He deals with graphics and digital painting, designs wallpapers, wall decorations, fabrics, tapestries, rugs, arranges interiors and also creates advertising graphics. In 2001-2009 he was involved in advertising graphics and created animations, interactive applications and websites, among others for brands such as Canal +, Ale Kino, Cyfra +, Novartis and many others. Later, his interests focused mainly on interior decorations and digital painting.
Wallpapers according to his designs were presented, among others at the Institute of Industrial Design in Warsaw. For the Brazilian company Tapetah, he created the “Echo” rug collection, half of his compositions and half of his father’s work (distinction at the Abimad’27 fair in Sao Paulo). His wall decorations and carpets decorate public and private interiors in Poland, Great Britain, France, USA and Brazil.
In his works in the field of digital painting, he uses textures and brushes from scanned and repeatedly enlarged natural materials, such as wood, plants and stones. Combining them and mixing together he gets the effect of expressive textures, which are a characteristic feature of his work. The style of his works is close to surrealism and abstraction, often referring to ethnic art.
For years, he has been popularizing and restoring the memory of his father, Franciszek, and his work by creating and presenting wallpapers based on his large-format wall paintings, among others. at Gdynia Design Days, Łódź Design Festival. or at the Institute of Industrial Design. Wallpaper collection by his father’s designs were awarded the prestigious Must Have quality mark at the 2017 Łódź festival. In addition, he implements the project “P + F Michałek” consisting of original compositions in which he uses sketches and unfinished works of his father.
A graduate of Interior Design and Arrangement at the Association of Polish Artists and Designers ‘Decorative Arts’ of the Warsaw District. Self-taught in the field of computer graphics.