RYSZARD KAJA (1962-2019) painter, graphic, stage and poster designer
He has been dealing with art since his birth. His father is the poster designer Zbigniew Kaja and his mother is the ceramicist and painter Stefania Kaja. He studied at the Graphics Department at Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Sztuk Plastycznych in Poznań (now – the Academy of Fine Arts) in 1984. He got his degree in painting under Prof. Norbert Skupniewicz. He worked in Polish theaters and operas, for which he created over 150 sets for opera, television, ballet and theater performances. He made his debut in 1989 at the Teatr Wielki in Łódź, setting the setting for Wiktor Hugo’s drama Hernani. He also worked for the Opera and Operetta in Szczecin and the Grand Theater in Poznań. However, he was not limited to the theater only. He also collaborated with the creators of films and series. Ryszard Kaja was known primarily from the “Polish Poster” series. Each place that has become the subject of the poster is presented with one, characteristic element. He created illustrations for books, theater and film posters. His death is a great loss to culture. The artist, known not only in Poland and around the world, left behind many outstanding works
Satyrykon award winner:
KAJA FOR KAJA, or Kaja Renkas’ memory of Ryszard Kaja
A few words about Rysiek, or a subjective-and-chaotic remarks concerning a great artist and a true friend.
Ryszard cannot be defined with one sentence only. He was just like his art: colourful, surprising, original and varied. Ryszard used to love people, he greatly enjoyed travels but only these which followed his own itineraries, not obvious, astonishing, far from tourist routes. Together with Leszek he travelled almost everywhere, ‘imbibing’ and contemplating the world. They would travel in a slow pace, with a great caution, making longer pauses in the venues they both admired. During those journeys Rysiek was a true gourmand, he took an immense pleasure in discovering exotic flavours. I think that the journeys shaped him, but also hardened him, they filled him with energy to create, they opened his eyes towards inconspicuous beauty. For me, Ryszard was like a mine of ideas, inexhaustible inspirations. He was bold both in his art and his life, he was not afraid of changes, challenges, eventually he was brave enough to declare his views explicitly. For me, he was a real bestie, an advisor, a critic. Being inquired or not, he would always ready with advice and remarks concerning me. I knew if I was not able to make up my mind, one phone call to Rysiek would be enough, and I would get the instructions about what to do. Ryszard was a workaholic, he constantly came up with new pieces of art, during his journeys he used to keep an impressive diary, a sort of memoire of thousands of pages, and thus turned to be a fascinating visual reading. Being back again at home he would immerse in a whirl of work, for a few months he would work night and day, and his daily routine was completely neglected. He made me feel ashamed by calling and asking what I was up to. While I was stuck over one design, he would manage to accomplish more than ten or even dozens of his designs. I do not know anyone who would work so intensively. And on the top of that his sense of humour, being straightforward in personal relations, and ease of writing (what I lack actually). Ryszard was 100 per cent himself, he would never pretend someone else, he was painfully honest, full of childlike joy, I know no one else who would make new acquaintances so easily. He passed away too early, but I know that he managed to make the best of his life, and I am extremely happy that our paths had crossed the other day, which allowed us to become friends.Kaja Renkas
The calendar includes the following 13 works: