Design and Layout • Inspiration Out of This World

How Ada Zielińska found her science-fiction style

Design and Layout • Inspiration Out of This World

How Ada Zielińska found her science-fiction style

Ada Zielińska used to feel afraid to put her work online.

“Like many at the beginning, I was afraid of the opinion of others,” she recalls. Zielińska, 25, is a designer who lives and works in Gdynia on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. The port city has rapidly become a center for art and industry in Poland.

“At first, I couldn’t find my style,” she says. After working in isolation for years, Zielińska started to upload her work to the Internet: marvelous posters, illustrations, and album covers that recall the golden age of science fiction. Her art skilfully employs today’s digital technologies in replicating yesterday’s techniques, like screen printing.

Today, Zielińska’s work hangs in Poland’s finest galleries, like the Municipal Gallery bwa in Bydgoszcz. She has also worked with the Institute of Design in Kielce, the Laznia Center for Contemporary Art, and the Gdynia Design Center. It was as soon as she lost the fear that her career rocketed.

“I think it’s a question of time, maturity, and self-confidence,” she says.

Image by Ada Zielińska
Image by Ada Zielińska
Image by Ada Zielińska

Zielińska’s clients include Alpha Industries, Reserved, and the personal computer brand ASUS. 

The Future Is Bright

Zielińska became obsessed with experimental art at a young age. “I remember once, as a child, I watched David Lynch’s Eraserhead on a big screen. From that moment I began to perceive the meaning of composition, light, and shadow in a different way.”

At art school, Zielińska became inspired by Herb Lubalin, Wang Zhi-Hong, and by the modernist principles and typography of Yusaku Kamekura. She studied the Polish artist Ryszard Kiwerski, known for his graphic film posters, and for abstract compositions inspired by the movements of the sun. “As a student I had contact with various analogue techniques like screen printing, lithography, woodcut, and etching. I liked them all very much.” 

Next, Zielińska co-created Hardziej Studio with Patryk Hardziej.  They traveled to Easter Island, creating 12 works, using screen printing and painting on board. Their project, Island, was exhibited at the bwa Gallery in Bydgoszcz. “Island was one of the coolest projects and most satisfying moments in my career,” she says. “I like to experiment.”

Image by Ada Zielińska
Ada Zielińska uses a screenprinter

Zielińska uses screenprinting and other manual techniques in her work.

Ada Zielińska uses a screenprinter

A New Frontier

Today, Zielińska works in a bright studio beside Gdynia’s bustling port. It’s a postmodern delight full of yesterday’s technologies. On a shelf rests a vintage Polaroid camera, next to an intriguing Soviet Zenit 35mm SLR camera. From a record player wafts the music of Skinshape, a psychedelic British artist on whom Zielinskais is currently fixated. “It’s my dream to create an album cover for Skinshape,” she says.

 

 

Watch now: Ada Zielińska shows us around her studio—in her hometown of Gdynia, a Polish port city on the Baltic Sea—in this short video. 

A tower of inspirational books rises to the ceiling. There’s a NASA Graphics Standards Manual; a book of Soviet logos; a mind-expanding collection of Alchemy & Mysticism by Taschen. “Whenever I have no ideas, I look through books,” Zielińska says. “I collect albums and magazines from the 1960s and 1970s. You can find incredible gems there, something rarely seen on the Internet. It’s a source of amazing inspirations not easily available elsewhere.”

 

Her screen printer sits unloved in a corner. “I simply don’t have the time,” she admits. “I usually start my work with a sketch on a paper, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes I start working straight from a computer. I like to improvise. I think that’s when the coolest works are created. When designing a poster, I usually create vector forms in Adobe Illustrator and then I finish my work and add textures in Photoshop. If I create a project in which typography appears, I always use Adobe InDesign,” she adds.

Image by Ada Zielińska
Image by Ada Zielińska

Zielińska works in her studio in Gdynia, Poland, which is a center for art and industry.

Image by Ada Zielińska

Hardziej Studio specializes in creating visual identities for cultural events, books, and exhibitions. A recent project involved graphics for a conference held at the Computer History Museum in Los Angeles. Other clients include Alpha Industries, Reserved, and the personal computer brand ASUS. There’s a brisk trade in Zielińska’s geometric posters on Etsy. She sells collector’s editions that explore time travel, space, astronomy, and the Apollo 11 mission.

There is no sign of the insecurity Zielińska felt in her early career. 

“The older you get, the less you care,” she says.

Image by Ada Zielińska
Image by Ada Zielińska

Today, Zielińska’s work hangs in Poland’s finest galleries.

Image by Ada Zielińska
Image by Ada Zielińska

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