Marcin Bondarowicz, Interview

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

Below is an interview I had several months ago
with the Polish artist Marcin Bondarowicz.
I just noticed I didn't publish it here yet!

“Close to the People,
Far Away From the Government”

By Ben Heine

Marcin Bondarowicz is a Polish satire drawer and journalist, born in 1976 in Starachowice. He is also a painter, photographer and poet. He works today as a freelance. Marcin Bondarowicz uses traditional and digital techniques. Since a while back, he specialises in newspaper-illustrations. He works for a number of Polish and international magazines and papers. A permanent exhibition of his artworks and projects of posters can be viewed on his website : [link] and his online portfolio : [link]

BH : How did you come to draw professionally?

MB : I can’t give an exact date. It was a long process of observing, finding the right form of expression and a pictorial language of my own.

The more serious you try to be, the more you run the risk of criticism. In that situation you’re a target. Nothing occurs in the abstract.

With his penetrating gaze, the skilful drawer always finds interesting issues and portrays them in the most suited way to provoke a number of feelings. My goal is not to provoke laughter but to raise the level of awareness.

In my work humour is not an end in itself but rather a way of drawing attention to the issue in an enticing way.

An important element in my drawing is that they are autobiographical. I account for someone’s life, someone I know well.

BH : Which papers, magazines and Internet sites do you work for?

MB : I work with the following publications:

Harvard Business Review Polska, Poland Monthly, Manager Magazin, BusinessWeek Polska, Przeglàd Podatkowy, Puls Biznesu, Gazeta Bankowa, Dziennik Zachodni, Integracja, Europejska, Tygodnik NIE, Nowy Robotnik, Najwyýszy CZAS, Regiony, NIE, Gazeta, Samorzàdu i Administracji, Le MONDE Diplomatique, INPRECOR Correspondance de presse internationale.

I’ve taken part in the following projects:

DV DatevSymfonia, Nestle Waters DAR NATURY, Wydawnictwa INFOR S.A., Wydawnictwa MELAS

I’ve worked with the following companies:

APOLLO, BABYONE, Only One, Hard Rock Cafe

I have also worked with the drawer’s leagues J&J [Poland] and [China]. Several of my products are also to be found in private collections in Poland and abroad.

BH : What is it in the political language that inspires you the most?

MB : I have always been shocked at human misery and social injustice. As soon as I hear the word " problem "; I am always prepared to rush over there. Most important to me are the truth-tellers.

In spite of the geographical distances separating people of the world, I wish to try to bring them closer to each other and give as much of myself as possible.

BH : Should there be any limitation to freedom of speech whatsoever? If yes, then what boundaries is one not allowed to transgress?

MB : Much depends on the drawer’s distinctiveness, character, conduct towards others and the principles they have in life.

But there’s always a red line, a boundary you should never transgress.

The power of the word can stir up and be life-giving. The word owns the power to cut like knives. They are destructive and can even bring death. The drawing, in my view, possesses a similar power. It is a real weapon in the hands of a drawer who knows how to use it.

BH : Is there, according to you, one single form of freedom of speech or are there several? (Depending on diverse cultures and different countries.)

MB : The word freedom is an abstract term. Political, cultural and religious differences divide the world. We don’t have enough time or strength for bringing them together.

The belief that we have the ability to create new rules of the game in this world is a utopia. The only thing we can do is to try to get a better understanding and be more tolerable towards our neighbour. We have to move forward without hurting others.

BH : What do you think of the Holocaust cartoon contest arranged by the Iranian daily Hamshari in response to the caricatures of Mohammed published in various European dailies?

MB : I feel a lot of grief and bitterness with regard to this contest. I think the cartoons speak for themselves.

If they are to be condemned, then let them be condemned. The readers can tell the difference between big and small on their own. I have myself made drawings with the Holocaust as the motive but am immune since I never attack anyone.

BH : Have any of your drawings been censured? If yes, then why and under what circumstances?

MB : Yes, I’ve found myself in such situations. It’s always been about drawings depicting politicians in my country. I cannot reveal the names of these individuals because if I talk about them, they’ll receive attention they don’t deserve.

BH : Are you practicing self-censorship? Which are the most difficult topics to depict?

MB : My only self-censorship is deliberate. If touching certain of my topics hurt, I abandon them, I don’t go any further. I like to experiment but try to avoid repeating the same mistake.

BH : Do you think the drawing is a political power able to change people’s behaviour?

MB : Yes, the satirical drawing possesses great power. One mustn’t forget that it has the power of a weapon. In a lunatic’s hands it can cause a lot of damage. I sometimes ask myself if the drawing-diploma isn’t comparable to a firearms permit.

To answer the second part of the question: can the drawing change people’s behaviour? I believe the drawing can intimidate.

If the drawing is suggestive enough to leave an impression on people’s unconsciousness, then that’s an important first step in a transformation process of people’s attitudes (but they will first have to incorporate it). It’s only a matter of time, but according to me man is not perfect, she always goes for the least strenuous.

BH : Do you think that the satirical drawer is an artist or rather a journalist, or even both?

MB : That question means a lot to me as I am at heart a TV-journalist Right now I’m making satirical drawings in cooperation with the editorial office of my paper.

If you’re practicing this profession, the drawing profession, you have to be in accordance with your own conscience and choose to say the truth and not express the political beliefs of the editors or art directors.

You always have to bear in mind the assignment you’ve accepted. Close to the people, far away from the government. The drawing profession has a lot in common with journalism.

But in order to have fun you have to translate the issues you deal with into illustrations and put the emotions of the onlookers in motion. You have to be an artist in order to achieve this. It is this that creates the bond to the shared fantasy of the readers.

BH : According to you, is the role of the drawer to make people laugh or to think?

MB : Thinking means most, because reason is eternal. Laughter is temporarily.

BH : Which situation or person do you think is hardest to draw?

MB : I can never draw a magical formula to make the world a better place because I am myself a part of it.


--> This interview was translated from Swedish to English by Kristoffer Larsson

--> Original Interview and portrait by Ben Heine

--> Marcin Bondarowicz's art can also be seen on the following websites:







PersianCartoon GALLERY Marcin Bondarowicz: [link]



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