Thursday, 25 August 2011


At my workstation last week, Inspector Google and I came across this beautiful painting above of Frida Kahlo. On a whim I decided to email artist and illustrator Martyna Zoltaszek to sniff out the possibility of a sale. After some (thankfully) not-very-heavy-duty negotiating we agreed on a price and I visited Martyna tonight at Hackney's Absorb Art studios off the Kingsland Road to collect the work.

Martyna (below) welcomed me at the door like an old friend and immediately began entertaining me with funny stories like her escape from conventional marriage in her Polish hometown of Wroclaw. Other vignettes of her interesting last decade included a scholarship to study art in the US, a bohemian few months spent painting in Australia with a minted boyfriend and his artist mother and her tale of woe when a London gallery went bust without paying her a pound. The evil shysters. 

Martyna's delicate, naive-influenced paintings feature wild colourful tigers, roaring Communist bears and other animal motifs such as the minimalist, almost monochrome, stark-eyed canine pictured above. The Frida painting was the first portrait Martyna had completed and the counter offers she received over the weekend to buy the piece at the Absorb Arts open studios are a testament to her very significant talent. 

Ms Zoltazsek's little studio space in east London seemed a perfect cross-section of the creativity, passion, determination and success thriving in the city today - and an inspiring antidote to the orgy of political, financial and actual violence we have been reading about in the (Murdoch owned) newspapers over The Summer Of Shit 2011. Martyna is represented by the Enid Lawson Gallery in London. View more of her work here.

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