The leader of the pack

The dog is a reoccurring image in Cezary Stulgis aka CRUEL’s work. His now sadly-departed Stashy, who was his muse, best friend and mate, inspired him.

Cezary’s original imagery arose from studying anatomy and figurative sculpture in Poland. However, it was the closer study of a dog’s behaviour, its anatomy and dynamic, that saw him shift the emphasis in his work from a naked human, to that of an animal.

Cezary compares a dog’s behaviour in terms of its pack mentality to the group mentality of humans – social ideas of people behaving in certain ways.

It’s this comparison of humans to animals, and the exploration of such, that has become his subject matter.

“What it is to be human as we all have an animal side. This is something that a lot of us choose to ignore as we think that we have evolved to the extent that we no longer behave like animals. But I think humans still have a pack mentality and continue to behave in a primitive way, and it’s this that I am continuing to explore,” he said.

Cezary’s work reveals a familiarity with, and an appreciation for, anatomy – be it human or canine. A graduate with an MA in fine art and sculpture, he moved south from rural Queensland about a year and a half ago.

Of Polish descent, in 1997 he went back to find his roots and accepted a place at the Academy of Fine Art in Krakow where studied there for three years.  This course took him back to basics in sculpture, classical lettering, architecture and drawing.

It’s an experience that he describes as amazing as he felt that he had entered a different era and dimension.
Cezary had his start in traditional graffiti around 1985 in Brisbane. And even then, he was experimenting with the use of rollers and brushes, trying to introduce a different aesthetic to the graffiti culture of the streets. He then took his style over to Europe, mainly Poland, where he developed it and pushed it further.

Cezary doesn’t take to the streets with any frequency but, when he does, it’s often in collaboration with local artists like Makatron from Everfresh and Plea.

Aerosol is not his chosen medium as he finds it can sometimes be too “fluffy”. He prefers to use brushes and rollers, but that said, he will experiment with whatever mediums are available.

Cezary approaches his pieces as he would a painting. “With aerosol it’s hard to mimic that brush quality and painterly experience and vice versa. Letting things happen naturally – the fusing, blurring and mixing of colour. Aerosol can be a considered process where every movement is calculated, a little too graphic. The brush is more organic and things just happen. You can take out what you don’t want and leave what you do,” he said.

It’s this aspect of street art/graffiti that he’s continuing to experiment with. Cezary has been introducing his paintings onto the streets of Melbourne in a steady manner. Crafting his visual identity in between commissioned sculptures and other artistic endeavours. He is excited to be involved in the creative and energetic Melbourne art scene, as this was his reason for moving here.

A future exhibition is also in the planning.

To see more of Cezary’s work, especially his commissioned half human, half canine bronze and steel sculptures on the streets of Brisbane visit www.cezarystulgis.com

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