About eight years ago, artist Eva Konopka decided to face her fear of flying by taking flying lessons.
Konopka told me that before her first flying lesson, a friend offered her a chance to skydive and she found the small plane they took for the jump didn’t intimidate her like the planes of commercial line. Shortly after the skydiving trip, she found a cheap flying lesson, and eight years later is in love with flying and considers herself an avid aviator.
As an artist, Konopka is known for her highly colorful and unique abstract images of spheres, mandalas, surreal figures and mysterious landscapes, all done with soft colored pencils. I noticed last year that Konopka started adding aviation maps to his intricate designs and needed to know more.
A self-taught artist and native of Krakow, Poland, Konopka moved to Houston 20 years ago to be with her husband and they have a mathematical genius for a 14-year-old son. She has a background in English literature and teaching English as a second language. She received an MBA from the Jones School of Business at Rice University.
Like flying, the art was never on his radar until he was.
Art Valet: When did you start drawing?
Konopa: “It was an overnight thing, literally. Art has never been my thing. The music was,” Konopka said. “I started drawing on the evening of December 31, 2016, at a (New Year’s) party where a friend brought white paper and colored pencils and asked all the guests to draw something on a great page – I took over, started drawing and never stopped.
A V: Where do you get your ideas for drawing?
Konopa: “Mostly straight out of my crazy brain. Sometimes I use a more familiar landscape that I draw in my own way, sometimes patterns and sketches of real life silhouettes to put into my drawing world (cats, birds , planes, people, floral patterns – all placed in the world of bright colors); it’s really all the colorful chaos of the mixture of reality and imagination that rushes out of my confused mind.
A V: When did you start integrating aeronautical charts, and why?
Konopa: “I started incorporating the maps, aircraft silhouettes, aviation magazine cutouts over two years ago. Looking at the old aviation maps, which expire frequently, it seemed such a shame to throw them away when they are outdated. The round airspace markings around airfields reminded me of the mandalas I like to draw, so I cut them out and used them in a collage – thought it would be a piece unique, but no, I like to create them!
A V: Has theft influenced your art?
Konopa: “Anything about flying is fascinating (except on airliners, they tell me). Small aviation is beautiful and fascinating, it’s a passion, a religion, the world above is so different and beautiful. Of course, sometimes I try to draw what I see – the colors, the mood in different weather conditions, the altitude, touching the clouds when you fly in an open cockpit, you fly the plane with your body -stick and rudder-wheel. .. as if ‘by hand.’ Then the views…the gulf, lakes, marshes, pastures and fish farms look like makeup palettes from up there. In short, I could say that I steal for love. It’s not my job – airline pilots do it too – tail wheels and small planes are just different.
A V: What is the next step for your art and your artistic career?
Konopa: “Colored pencils will always be my No. 1 medium and I always hope to have new ideas. I try acrylic on canvas to be able to create larger formats, while keeping my style, but it will never replace my dear pencils, I dream of one day having a studio, even modest but real, where I could work, exhibit, animate events, it would be magnificent and heavenly!
Follow Konopka on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/miinneeaa. Konopka regularly attends the First Saturday Arts Market and will be there Feb. 5 at 540 W. 19th St.
Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him on ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist stories.