Słavek Pytraczyk

Słavek Petraczyk

Photo: Brendon Many Bears & Slavek Pytraczyk

Słavek Pytraczyk

Artist showcases some of Calgary's overlooked spaces on new Centre City Banners

When Słavek Pytraczyk had the opportunity to create public artworks for banners on bridges and lightposts leading into the downtown core, he invited Calgarians to participate by identifying their favourite works of architecture.

Słavek is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on photography and mixed media. As a Polish immigrant who moved to Canada back in the late 1980s, Słavek Pytraczyk fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the big city.

“The fabric of our city, I would say, has changed greatly over the past 20 years in terms of the people that immigrate to the city. So that’s really interesting to me,” he says.

“My main focus, primarily has been with film photography over the past couple of years. And so I’ve been documenting a lot of spaces, what I call them, or places that seem to be in a state of flux or impermanence. So that is one of the main themes that runs central through a lot of my artwork.”

Recently, Pytraczyk became involved with the Centre City Banner public art program and his artwork will be featured on new banners being installed in Spring 2024. The program engages local artists to create artwork for banners displayed on light poles and bridges leading into the core, acting as gateways to Calgary’s downtown and cultural district.

“I wanted to showcase some of the spaces that I feel are overlooked across Calgary and so I even did, for example, I did an online poll asking many Calgarians, ‘What are your favourite architectural pieces across the city?’ I wanted Calgarians to more or less have their say in it in a small way… where I would ask the public what their perceptions are, about what their favourite pieces are, and I would in turn make a series of works and then give it kind of back to them. That’s how I kind of did this project.”

“Everyone has a different view of Calgary and what they want Calgary to be, and what Calgary public art or public art in general is for them.”

Tune in to the Storytelling Podcast to hear more about Słavek Pytraczyk, his thoughts on public art and how he tries to find art in the overlooked and seemingly insignificant details around him.

About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts. Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Have a story to share? Email us at submissions@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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