Updated: Mar 18, 2019
1. So you are a singer in an actively touring band, a painter, a jewelry designer, a fashion designer, sometimes photographer, a mother and a wife, and you are working on a magazine called Via-Omega and editing and publishing this series of Darkadya books ….. so my question is, How the hell do you manage all of this?? How do you balance everything?
I would love to say that sleep is overrated, but I can certainly see myself aging with a speed of light at this point [laughs]. If you would think of all things I do, yes, it is quite overwhelming to be in the band, record music, take care of social media, merchandise, bookings at times, and logistics with finances, absolutely, but as every band, tours happen every now and then, releases as well, plus, having such amazing team of people who make this process very easy, I could not be happier, and every second spent on it is worth it all.
Painting and commissioned illustrations lately became my source of income, especially after the infamous accident last year that prohibited me from working in fitness industry as a coach, or in modeling as well, so this is really one of the only things that I base on at this point, and what makes me still believing that it makes me a better person, you know … Hard to explain, really, but some will understand my point here. Jewelry, clothing making, oddities, taxidermy is also happening in between the rest, like intervals, a month focusing on one thing, a month on another, 3rd month on yet another, and rotate it all [laughs]. I would however NOT call myself a photographer by any means, especially since YOU interview me, and you were the one to send me a damn tables of setting up the camera which to me was more difficult than black magic, he he. I take pictures with a camera that I was gifted from my husband, just good enough to take photos of my art, jewelry and clothes , so for sales purposes , they look more appealing, more professional. For live shows - I really have to pull some gymnastics there to get any good photos.
Now Darkadya and ViaOmega…. yes, those are my most recent “babies” and at this point, I cannot imagine not continuing such thing. The inspiration that I receive, even just personally, is something I needed in my life in order to believe that there is any hope left on this planet. To see, that there are people who live and breathe art. Those who are walking the same path - the dark one. Those people, those ARTISTS, who have a history behind them, that pushed them to art, as art is the most misunderstood and most mystique thing in the world. Art tells stories, art knows no law, no crime, has its own rules.
Now, yes, being a mother, limits me to be able to work only after my daughter is asleep, meaning, the nights only, and with this load of work, it is indeed challenging, but I do not believe in excuses, and I think that rest will be in the value of plenty after death as we enter the void. Life is to be spent wisely. In my way, this is how I perceive it. Music, art, history, nature, spiritual attachment.
Also, it is very amusing to receive such question from another busy bee, who travels worldwide, shoots everything around, makes documentaries, dances, and yet STILL has social life. Kudos indeed ;)
2. How did you come up with the idea to start making the Darkadya books? And how did you come up with the name?
After 4/6/2015 , the memorable (unfortunately) accident, where I was close to have my arm amputated after the accident, and of course after a very painful recovery, my life changed. And it changed dramatically. Values and morals I had before, vanished. I became a completely different person, who instead of pursuing very shallow ideas, like making sure your friends (who later show their true colors anyways) are still keeping in touch, or making sure you “look good”, which on a grand scale is so fading, and had only a few truly in-deep important ones … I knew it is time to take a step forward. My hand was still, I could not move it, I could not cook, eat normally, shower, or change my baby’s diaper. I felt like I was just a shadow of who I was before. With the recovery, not only everything (besides the visual, scars, skin grafts, dimorph of arm) has sharpened, the senses became more sensitive and feelings were stronger.
I wanted so bad to get back to my alpha, that I just forced myself to start drawing again. First steps were absolutely painful and looking like a kindergarten kid took crayons. A few months later, I painted a cover of Khaotika’s new album “The Flame Unleashed”. 4 months later I focused on nothing else besides music and family, than art. I felt more “at home” and around the family with fellow artists (if I would ever even consider myself as one then), that friends who were no longer there when I needed them the most. I felt like I start understanding more, seeing more… you know. I see things as they are, I pray to the Gods, I give thanks for all guidance and visuals I receive. That is what pushed me to make a collective effort and bring the art brotherhood together, and help them to raise some money through the connections, through following, through those people that understand and can rely. Darkadya as word came from my own, personal backgrounds, really. Dark - arcades - ya. Dark, I don’t have to explain, I hope. Arcades, not the one you think of where you go to play games, but the architectural wonders. The columnades. A perfect order of the most chaotic plans and planes of structuring… I will let you think of why I said so, however arcades, before any architecture was pursued, in ancient times, was also a name carried by pre-civilization, where men were using as their “starting point”. Their little garden, their piece of forest, mountain, wherever they were. Their own little land where they started plantations, build a house, raised their children… Where their live was. And “ya” is the pronunciation of a word “ja” - in Polish, meaning “me”. Darkadya then means - My dark place… my dark getaway. You name it, that is what it is.
3. Why a limited edition and how quickly did the first book sell out?
The (only) limitation of this book is that I do not take any grants for it, all profit goes towards the artists, with exception for a tiny percentage that later I use towards packing materials, Black Stars Awards, inserts, certificates, and all utilities needed for a correct delivery of the book. That being said - without sponsors, I am not able to purchase upfront a large amount of books, even that they are requested later, as I have no means to do so. I do it because I love it. The book is sold through pre-sales time only, so as many as there are sold within 1 month, this exact amount is going to be printed and hand-numbered accordingly to the orders placed. Last edition totaled at 182, for the second book, I'm predicting 250-300.
4. What is showcased in all of the book editions you have planned(upcoming)/done(past) already?
Art! hahaha! Well, I do like the idea of putting together some of the best and most known names in the industry, together with those upcoming ones who are simply jaw dropping and need to be recognized. However, I do not limit it to drawing, painting only. I value all types of art. Including sculpting, photography, computer graphics, even clothing making or taxidermy fun, jewelry, puppets, anything really that is coming from an artist’s heart.
5. Explain to us how the artists receive money for their art?
The price of a book is high, yes, however, a short run of pressing books is expensive as well, so 30% of the amount goes towards printing and shipping the books here only. about 40-45% goes directly to the chosen artist, as upon the order placing, each customer chooses an artist to whom he or she wishes to send this profit to.
6. How do you decide which artist to pick for each book? Is it part submission and part stuff you have already seen ?
Heh, well, as I promised myself to be very selective, unfortunately , or I guess fortunately, every submission is just mind-blowing and I say yes to a lot right away, and that is how books get filled with all this awesome talent :D There is really no rule to this. Sometimes I get submissions from those that it is clear to say that they are trying, but they have a long way to go before finding their style and their line, or in other categories than drawings and paintings - to learn the settings, to get a good carve way, you know what I mean. The only rule that will be outlined immediately will be for the 3rd book, a double edition, for which details I would like to save as a surprise. All artists for that issue will be hand-selected.
7. Who’s artwork has been the biggest discovery for you?
Oh my, I would have to say Akihito Ikeda. I found him through Instagram since I am obsessed with spiders , and one of his sculptures took my attention immediately. I opened this little icon-like image , and that is where I get artgasm, truly. His piece was just ridiculously good. Makes you question “etc am I even thinking calling myself an artist?” type. You know, just stupid good. What happened later, is that I found out he works for Legacy Effects, most important movie props designers and artists, so that was a no wonder. Shortly after, I asked him to be a part of Darkadya family, and now, he has joined the focus and will appear in the upcoming, second issue.
(Teaser of Book 2's artist Akihito Ikeda)
8. So your band, Khaotika, seems to be getting on some good line -ups coming up with shows with Belphegor in Athens, Ga in Sept. 3, a show with Rotting Christ and Marduk in Baltimore on Sept. 5 and a show in Atlanta with Ghost Bath on Sept 19. Which bands are you the most excited to play with? How do you feel about the band’s successes as of late?
Good question. You mentioned Ghostbath. With all honesty, I had no idea about this band until we got booked. I said “yea, sure” because I just love performing life. I have listened to their music and they are really good and I cannot wait to play. With Rotting Christ I became friends, and I am also working on their artwork as well, so that I definitely cannot wait for that show. Marduk - I always wanted to see live, and I haven’t, since I moved from Poland. Amorphis next year as well… you know, I cannot really pick who I cannot wait for the most as I just love performing live. There are of course bands that I hope for one day to be able to share stage with, the ones I care the most for, I believe, but I am definitely not one of those who limit performances to only playing with those considered “oh-so-kvlt”. I listen to many kinds of music, from black metal, to heavy metal and folk , rock n roll, ambient , I also come from a young goth era, so all those bands are close to my heart to. The older I grow, the more open to music I am, I think…. as long as I can feel it.
And how do I feel about our success, well, I would say it is too early to call it a success. We progress, yes, but we all also grow up, and have our own lives behind the scenes, and as of late, those personal issues became quite rough on us, causing a bit of a delay with everything, but the connection is still there, and it is just a matter of time to get on a full speed. Meanwhile, we are working on music writing for the upcoming in 2017 “Indefinita” album, and will be releasing a new single this month, as a teaser.
9. In mid July, Khaotika played Anticosmic fest with some heavy hitters like Absu and Shining and you got to play and tour alongside Wormreich again, how did it feel to get back on the road with Wormreich again after the tragedy of last April? How did it feel to get to play amongst some great bands?
Unfortunately we played the second day only, as the first day of AMF we played in New York at Saint Vitus, so I was not ale to catch Absu. I only heard things of their performance. I also could not catch Kult ov Azazel, which was quite disappointing, but the main reason we were there, was of course Shining. Nicholas, the vocalist, is a very important person for both my husband, Sick Rick, and I, so it was indeed a time greatly spent, and I could not be more appreciative to Wordbearers Prod. for bringing Shining for the very first time to America. I would drive to Rhode Island, even if Khaotika was not playing. The tour with Wormreich was good. Lots of stories to stay with indeed.
10. What do you think makes the Darkadya series of books stand out form other book series out there?
The Dedication. No sane person would sacrifice months worth of work for free, just to put this together. To me, it is a pride, and the customers of this book know that THEY are the reason why art still exists. I am a supporter, just like they are by purchasing it.
11. Lastly, a lot of people like to collect things. Is there anything that you like to collect?
Yes. Bones, rocks, plants, candles, books and records. Together with Rick(her husband). He also is a nut in collecting films on DVD and BluRay, and by that I mean, a complete nut. Blockbuster worth of them all. [laughs] He also collects original art, which to me was one of the impacts why I love this man so much. He genuinely supports genuine artists and has a heart of gold. I can only afford so much, but I do the best I can to collect unique items as well. To me, making things, planting them, and such, is more important though.
I do collect t-shirts as well, of the bands I truly love and support. I should still have my NIN t-shirt from I think 1998 ?
Click on the image below to Pre-Order Book 2, STARTING AUG. 28th
(Laryiah and I together from a photo shoot evening)