Basia Wesolowska is an artist behind the brand Land of Glass. She is a Polish artist who graduated from the Theatre Design postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2017. Before coming to London, she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice with a Master’s Degree in Painting and a BA in Graphic Design. Her professional experience in set design has given her a specialisation of mixed media to create unique artwork of bizarre houses in glass jars looking like from the magical parallel realities.
Where did you get the idea to create houses?
It felt like a natural choice. Houses are interesting to me. Whenever we discover a bizarre building we instantly start wondering about it. Someone must live there; what happened? We are more intrigued by seeing an abandoned house than a landscape. Buildings are filled with imprinted stories that trigger our imagination.
Can you summarize the process of your creation?
I start by creating a mood board. I have only an impression in my head and I need plenty of references. When my imagination is fed, I can start planning construction and a base. By base, I mean a foundation, the ground level of a jar from which I will build upwards. It can be water, rocks, meadow. The foundation is a key because it binds my artwork to a glass. After that, I start building. It is a very experimental and organic way without technical drawings. My work is strongly based on artistic intuition. I create what seems to go along with the image in my head until it feels complete.
What kind of architecture do you enjoy the most?
If it existed in our world, I would say the architecture from Ghibli Studio’s films; kind of whimsical and bizarre. If I had to choose something that does exist, I would say Victorian.
What does your own home look like? Is it similar to the houses you create?
Not at all. My home is a bit like a blank canvas: white and with a lot of creative space. It lets me focus and allows things to happen. To be honest, I couldn‘t live permanently in my houses – it would be great to be there as an explorer, a visitor. But there are too many things in there that would be too distracting.
Is there a place in the world that inspires you to create? Any particular country or culture?
The region where I came from has a big influence on my career. I came from Silesia (Śląsk) in Poland. It is a very industrial region that was focused on mining and smelting. Silesia’s landscape is full of abandoned places such as factories, railway stations, coal mines and pits. They just invite us to explore their interiors.
Do you remember which piece took the most time to make?
It was the Bazaar of Wishes. A kind of Asian town cumulated in a single tower and based on water. This is the most detailed one and I had a few challenges to solve such as the water, the roof and how to insert it into a jar.
You place your houses and landscapes in glasses. Should we look for a deeper meaning in it or is it just about an aesthetic impression?
To be honest, my artworks are placed in jars for a reason. Jars have a fairy tale feel. A witch can keep an eye on the newt in a jar, children can catch fireflies and we all know cookie jars... The form is perfect, it is something already used as a container of magic.
Would you change the shape of jars to something else?
I cannot imagine making my work in cubes for example because I would always see a fish tank. Jars are elegant and support the Lands of Glass narrative.
Do you prefer motifs of nature or do you rather prefer motifs of architecture?
I believe a combination of both is key. I like to mix both motifs together in different proportions. Making a plain landscape doesn’t have the necessary tension to trigger our curiosity but focusing just on architecture makes the final result soulless.
How many hours a day do you spend creating?
For now, it is my after-work hobby. I am trying to spend 2 hours every day but it's tricky because life gets in the way.
Totally understand, what about some plans for 2021?
I do, but it really depends on how Covid-19 progresses. If lockdown lifts, the ideal plan would be to hold an exhibition.