You were growing up in an avant-garde home where mother was a producer of TV programmes and father, Wojciech Bruszewski, was one of the first people in Poland to deal with video art. Did your desire to create stem from observing your parents’ work?
Certainly, to a large extent from regularly going to modern art exhibitions when I was five, but also from a very fragile health in early childhood. I stayed at home alone for days on end, my grandma was conjuring something in the kitchen, while I was sitting under the table and drawing or making small characters with whom I later talked and we were experiencing various adventures. Probably every Polish child has similar memories, but I, due to immunity problems, couldn’t even go to kindergarten and see other children my age, because as soon as somebody sneezed at me I had to lie in bed for two weeks. So, I had to learn to live in a fictional world. This was the first exercise in imagination, writing dialogues in the head and creating a reality that was more interesting than a piece of floor and a roof provided by a table. These were the experiences in my earliest years. Then, I owe a lot to my dad who taught me to look at the world in my own way and understand art, and to my mum, who taught me how to turn this art into a “product” that is desired, needed and in a good wrapping. For me, art without audience is not satisfactory, and the audience are very, very demanding “customers”. In a spiritual sense, of course. In contrast, those so-called “buyers” are not so much demanding… Finally, there were mentors and coaches chosen in my “adult” years, who taught me to look inside myself and consciously choose creative goals and priorities (even the wisest parent usually doesn’t have anything to say in this respect).
You are called “Julian Antonisz of the new generation”. Do you agree with this comparison with a famous scenarist and director of cartoons?
I love him! Already before I had passed the entrance exams to study animation, Julian Antonisz was my hero, because his films, although formally extremely primitive, were characterised by wisdom, truth and carefreeness. It is this truth that I couldn’t see in student’s film studies in my day. Searching for truth in animation led to my film début entitled “Miasto Płynie” (the City flows), which reviewers actually compare with Antonisz, and I couldn’t be more proud of this comparison. In recent years, I have noticed a super big growth in the interest in unconventional narration in animation, more rebellious characters appeared on our Polish stage, I’m following their achievements and I like it very much. I sometimes like to think that maybe the success of the film „Miasto Płynie” narratively opened some new area to explore the links between an animated film and an experimental documentary for the creators of my generation and those a little younger than me. And graphically, Mr Antonisz was fantastic, I wish I could draw so badly, but the master is hard to catch up with in this!
What can you say about your work in the legendary studio Aardman Animations?
A remember it as being a miracle. I was only 19 then, I already completed my first year of studying animation in Łódź, but I still knew very little. But I knew that seeing the world’s most famous Plasticine clay animation studio was my big dream. I went sightseeing to England on a student’s budget, and somehow I happened to get to know somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who worked there. It also turned out that works on “Creature Comforts 2” were going on and, as is usually the case with during stop-motion production, the actual work pace didn’t look so good against the schedule. I quickly declared that I would help and do absolutely any work if a spare pair of hands was needed. They didn’t refuse, especially that at that time I could work for them in exchange for only a roof over the head and dinners… A few years later the experience gained in that work to a large extent became the subject of my master’s thesis, and I have been using this knowledge in practice to this day. I recommend such confrontation with reality to all young artists – you should simply give yourself such a chance, without having appropriate contacts, without strong support. Go exactly where you want to be and don’t give up until you get your dream placement, practice or time spent with your masters. It will always pay off in the future.