Chris Dobrowolski / Lecture

Image above – Chirs Dobrowolski’s, Skyscape Escape, 1994-2003. Image source –



This week’s Gravity lecture brought Sculptor, Artist and Performance Lecturer Chris Dobrowolski. The lecture was specialised for professional art practice, so Dobrowolski spoke about ‘how to be a professional artist’ and told us of his experience in the art world, with great humour – this was an outstanding lecture, purely from it being so funny, he explained his unfortunate experiences and his triumphs brilliantly.

Firstly he mentioned his own book, ‘Escape’ which explained how not to make a living as an artist, which I am definitely going to take a look at in preparation for leaving Uni, as he is clearly experienced and although he told of his struggles, he came out of each of them with a success story, which was really inspiring.

Dobrowolski then spoke about how his Sculpture; Skyscape Escape – a functioning plane created using recycled newspaper and chests(image above), is featured in the Millennium family DK encyclopaedia under the sculpture section representing ‘Contemporary Art’.  This must have really kick started his career, to be featured in such a vastly known series of books is incredible and being within such a competitive area is an incredible achievement, I think this scale of verification is what most artists want to achieve.

The first piece of work Chris Dobrowolski discussed was a commission where he was asked to create a contemporary maritime piece.  He decided to base this in Hull, where he previously attended college, explaining that he hated this so much he just wanted to escape.  With this Dobrowolski created ‘Seascape Escape’, 1989. Made using drift wood from a beach in Hull he built a boat and used this to ‘escape’ and sail in. However, the boat failed and he and his friends began to sink and eventually needed rescue – this story then featured in the local press.  Also from this commission he produced a song piece titled, “Take a trip on a ship “so although his art piece failed miserably, he came out of it successful and made the newspaper headlines from talking about it, explaining he had a lot of fun making and sailing the boat.

Photo of ‘Seascape Escape’, 1989. Image source –

The lecture continued with him discussing all the setbacks with his art, mentioning that Charles Saatchi (Saatchi Gallery) liked one of his art works and that he may have bought his piece if it wasn’t for the fact that Saatchi’s warehouse burnt down.  Dobrowolski questioned whether he’d “sell out “like this, like his friend Nick did, who works for Damien Hirst and received an offer from Saatchi. Nick rang Dobrowolski for his blessing, showing he’s forever having setbacks and never getting that break.  But what I liked about him is that he takes everything with a ‘pinch of salt’ and continues to make a joke of it all, such a worthy attribute.  From the above situation he created an exhibition about, “Selling out” that featured toy train sets and miniatures, he set up a scalextric road, and placed a truck on it, a miniature model man, drove around the track with a megaphone shouting, “buy my paintings” – I liked the idea of creating a positive out of a negative, something I can definitely learn from is to add this aspect of humour and not let setbacks put me down.


The lecture finally drew to a close and Dorowolski was questioned about being taken seriously in his work to which he answered, “When you laugh at yourself, you can speak to a wider audience, but funny can be serious too”.

A really humorous yet thoughtful lecture and I feel as though I’ve come away with a new outlook towards art; it doesn’t always need to be serious.


Chris Dobrowolski –


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