Maciej Hajnrich, better known as Valp in the online design community, is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer from Katowice, Poland who specializes in abstract and colorful digital artwork. Preferring to work without commercial restraints, many of Valpâ€™s works are collaborations with independent companies who understand his vision, and what he lacks in a client list, he makes up for with an impressive list of awards from online design portals. Valp takes the opportunity to preview some work on Format and answers a few questions while heâ€™s at it.
“I see the best results when I can focus on design, not thinking about ‘will he like it?'”
Format: Please explain your name and domain name, Valp and Nietylko. Where did these develop?
Maciej: I have been using Valp as a nick name since I remember, but Nietylko raised when I was searching for a good domain name about five years ago. In Polish “Nie tylko” means “not only.” I wanted my domain to be a popular word that also fit my personal desire to be unpredictable designer. I realized itâ€™s hard to spell it, so Iâ€™m using both.
Format: You also write â€œitâ€™s not matter if [I] work for the commercial client, collab, or personal work â€“ the final art is always impressive and unique.â€ Which type of work do you most enjoy, and why?
Maciej: I should say well paid! Some projects bring more fun than money and you can’t convert it. Everybody loves clients who give 100% freedom and it’s, of course, important for me too. I see the best results when I can focus on design, not thinking about “will he like it?” So, the best situation is when you can earn by doing your best. It’s perfect!
Format: How, if at all, does living in Poland, affect your style of design?
Maciej: It affects a lot! I think everyone is being affected by their country and local people. Now I see some kind of unique style I have, but I always wanted to experiment with unknown and universal techniques. I want to design in the way I don’t see in my neighbourhood. Digital art is still rare in Poland.
Format: Youâ€™ve been impacted by Polish Poster School. Please explain the style and its influence on your work.
Maciej: I used to play with Polish Poster School more than year ago. For me it was about simplicity, hand written typography and, last but not least, metaphor. I like abstract images but with recognizable shapes. Everybody will see something similar at first time, but next time it’s something more – always different for everybody. Some artists still have their â€œPPS style.â€ I think a lot of them graduated in art schools where this design variety is glorified.
Format: You write in your bio â€œthis is all my life, that’s why I can’t stop exploring and expanding myself, day by day.â€ How does exploring design help you expand yourself?
Maciej: Itâ€™s because I can’t stop thinking about it. Especially when there is so much to do, deadlines are thin or I’m just not satisfied of my job. I’m angry that I can’t switch off for a longer while but also I think it stimulates my brain, keeping me excited and curious. The result is I want to design more and more. It’s all about design process, resolving problems, creating new things, new art, etc. â€“ it keeps me alive.
Format: With unlimited time, and an unlimited budget, what is a project you would like to undertake?
Maciej: I would like to start experimenting with all mediums, techniques and tools of every kind, every colour, paint and surface. Then I could create singular pieces of desire.
Format: Youâ€™ve mentioned that you might consider leaving Poland to develop personally and career-wise. If you ever do leave, where will you go and why?
Maciej: It would be USA or England because they are multi-cultural and selfish at the same time. But seriously, I want to visit every country in the world and take a bit to my home. I have to travel more to be sure where I would move.
Format: Youâ€™ve also mentioned that your goal is to â€œstay independent without a known style.â€ Why is that?
Maciej: I should correct that. My goal is to stay unique and have an independent style. This is what I had on my mind then. And why? Because I want my new designs to be different than past ones. I’m working with my favourite software and techniques but want to mix them with new ones. It doesnâ€™t have to be recognizable at first.
Format: What are some styles of design, or schools of thought that you are specifically interested in learning, or developing yourself in relation to?
Maciej: I want to combine pure design with colourful digital images, commerce and art, simplicity with complexity. There is no one style I want to dig in now. I would like not to follow some particular schools, but to catch the details from every thought!
More Info: http://www.nietylko.net/