Daniel Witnicki Illustrates The Space Issue

Daniel Witnicki Illustrates The Space Issue

Space isn’t just a one-sided concept. It equally applies to ideas as abstract as mental states and things as concrete as the space on an artist’s page. Our Marketing Director, Megan Staunton, spoke to illustrator Daniel Witnicki about the inspiration behind the spaceman images he produced for our fourteenth issue.

Megan Staunton: Your images encompass space in terms of the outer world, but also appear to detail it within the inner workings of one’s mind and thoughts. Looking at different perspectives of space, what does space mean to you?

Daniel Witnicki: While I was working on sketches for The Space Issue, I was thinking about the outer world, something like the cosmos. In my interpretation, space is not empty. There is a man there – the astronaut. I thought about that figure. I watched some images of the first human on Mars. The first thing that attracted my attention was the astronaut’s suit. I realised how clumsy a person wearing that suit would be, and how limiting it is. I thought the suit could be a metaphor for the human, and the cosmos for the world around me.

These two illustrations remind me of a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey 2010, in which the onboard computer will not let Astronaut Dave back on the spaceship. Imagine being a lone astronaut in an environment where you cannot breathe. Just one scratch on your helmet and it will burst under pressure, sucking out the interior into the abyss of space. Black space; the unknown. Everything hinges on the borders of my body. This mental state is also a place I move awkwardly in, much like an astronaut in space. My body and the space around me limit me. I can’t fly, I don’t have wings. That’s why I draw.

The body has its limitations. With imagination, I can overcome this barrier and move where I wish.

MS: As an artist, how does the concept and reality of space affect your work?

DW: I like to think of space in my work as an element of the environment and people filling themselves with energy. Things acquire common, balanced shapes. I rarely use one point perspectives as it depends on my mood. Sometimes I see things more flat. I draw, scanning the space around me while thinking about how I feel at the same time. With a combination of these effects, I can create something unusual in my drawing.

MS: When creating visuals for The Space Issue, did your interpretation change as your ideas evolved?

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DW: Creating the world on a piece of paper is like moving forward. My interpretation changes and surprises me over time, and this also happened working on The Space Issue. I change my ideas because it is an inseparable part of my escape from boredom. It is chaos, but in a not schematic way. I find myself in the images of the past and they evolve and resonate with the present. It is not my interpretation, but the interpretation of me. I evolve together with my drawings.


Written by Megan Staunton,

Marketing Director

Illustrations by Daniel Witnicki for XXY Magazine

Daniel Witnicki, Astronaut I, 2016, Ink on Paper and Digital, 8,3x5' Daniel Witnicki, Astronaut II, 2016, Ink on Paper and Digital, 8,3x5' (1)