The real joy of being a painter : interview with Lia Kimura

Lia Kimura – a Japan-born Polish painter and fashion designer. Kimura’s work is mostly connected with her place of birth, search for identity and intensive feelings: the experience of death, alienation, and hope. Her paintings represent both the traditional form of expression and the experimental approach, in which the figurative body together with the abstract matter became the key themes of creative considerations. The artist currently lives and works in Warsaw, wherein 2016 she started her career as a professional artist. Her paintings belong to private collections and appear regularly at the auctions in Polish auction houses.

How would you describe your fashion design projects? What elements of clothing do you usually design?

Recently, I created a collection of clothes consisting of outerwear: coats, jackets but also dresses made of valuable materials. I have an outline of further activity as a designer in my mind, but I do not want to disclose details. At the moment I focused mainly on painting, postponing the design of clothes, waiting for the right moment of reactivation. In the diploma collection, I used motifs from my own paintings. All the clothes were hand-painted with special silk and leather paints. I wanted these things to be unique and original. While creating the collection, there was of course an idea for printing and I realized that maybe I could use it in the next collections to make the clothes more useful for easier maintenance.

I can only imagine that your workplace is a mix of art and fashion objects. What exactly can we find in the author’s studio of Lia Kimura?

Well, you can find many objects in which I fell in love or got inspired by at different times in my life. For many of them, I did not found a place at home. I am very sentimental person, that is why all these things play such an important role. In addition to strictly artistic accessories, I have various elements from the natural world (including pebbles, plants, tree stumps), a lot of books, photos, drawings or masks (for example with animal motifs). Some of them are very personal, I would not necessarily want to list them.

What are you inspired by when designing paintings? Do you create sketches and prototypes?

When designing paintings or clothes? I guess it’s about clothes.

Tell me about clothes and paintings.

Yes, sketches and prototypes are definitely needed, especially from the technical side. Especially because of the fact that I cooperate with other people, and many things should be explained and shown using existing visual materials, not imaginations. It is quite different if it comes to my paintings in which everything happens spontaneously. I do not plan the majority of activities, everything changes depending on the feelings that accompany me at the moment. I want my intuitive choices to be surprising not only for me but also for the recipient. Thanks to working with an image, you can get to know yourself, see older works and reflect on what is past, what person I was and what feelings I reflected then. I am intrigued by the constant changes in human beings and, in fact, I have to say that sometimes we know so little about ourselves. There is no time for this.

The human aspect is something that definitely describes your art. Where does the love for human anatomy and psyche came from?

I have been closely observing people in terms of carnality and behavior since I was a child.

I have been interested in the human psyche since I remember. Probably because I struggle with emotional disorders, fears or depressive states and I was just curious about how everything “works”.

How is your research need manifested?

I read a lot of psychological books. As a sensitive and interesting person, I always preferred to reach for difficult reading, delve into the questions that bother me, seek answers. Observation of people is a crucial part of my research.

Why do you think your paintings are so successful in Auctions of Young Art?

I do not know, it is surprising also for me.

It should not, they are really great and sensitive canvases that you can stare at for hours, searching for aspects that we are talking about today. Virtually all of your works resemble one endless cycle – a subtle and reflective collection of works. Have you thought about using other painting motifs?

I think that this is my inner need, maybe I have to deal with one topic to step forward and start something new. I can not predict it and certainly do not want to  unnecessarily plan spectacular turns in creation.

What is the most important image you have created? I want to know the story.

I can not point one image because each of them is “the most important” at this moment. I feel associated with my works very much so there is no need to point one and only special. Like you said, it is an endless cycle.

Have you ever thought about creating a socially engaged or interdisciplinary art? Nowadays, the idea of traditional painting is often questioned. Are not you afraid of such judgments?

I am not afraid of any judgments, because first of allI create for myself. I realize that the rightness of everything can be questioned. In my opinion, the most important thing is to do something that gives us at least a little satisfaction and happiness. I was raised at home where I have always heard phrases like “what will people say / think?”. Only hard work on myself made me reach the point where I can deal with the opinions of others, including the negative ones. If I feel the need to create involved or interdisciplinary art, it will simply happen and then I will be able to talk about it. I do not approach painting like a project. More so, I would compare creation to needs as natural as eating or breathing.

What do you expect from art this year?

I expect that it will bring me joy.

Lia, I also wish you a lot of joyful art. Thank you for the conversation.


Text \ Paulina Brelinska \



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