A magical city created for adventure. Picturebook by Tytus Brzozowski

 Miastonauci Tytus Brzozowski

In “Citynauts” (Miastonauci) - a picture book dedicated to children - artist Tytus Brzozowski  creates unusual
urban worlds. He comments on both the residential suburbs as well as the downtown area. Working skillfully
in watercolor he captures a unique portrait of the atmosphere of the city and the people living in it. Buildings
flying over green islands, balloons carrying enormous capes over the city, or red trams departing out of historic
tenement houses - these are just some of the things we'll find in his stories.

In your paintings you consistently explore urban themes, showing the city as a unique and enchanted
space in which realism and magic form the whole. On June 1st, your first picture book "Citynauts"
(Miastonauci) published by Babaryba has been released. How was the idea born?

Young children always enjoy my watercolours; the delicately magical atmosphere and the elusive surreal themes
are close to the child's perception of reality. At my exhibitions, children love to find and count the dice that appear
throughout my work. For a long time I thought about creating something specifically for them. I have two children
myself and so we have many children's books at home. Some of them are very beautiful. When my son first started
playing around with paint, he painted a tram, which was a clear signal to me that the stories presented in my artwork
was getting into children's imagination. Later on, Marta Tychmanowicz and Marek Włodarski came along from the
Babaryba publishing house. They had been to an exhibition of my work and had come up with the idea of ​​bringing
together an art book - a picture book - where the entire story is told through illustrations. Of course, they did not
need to convince me!

Miastonauci Tytus Brzozowski
In "Miastonauci" you continue your exploration of urban themes, while taking a different spin on them.
Was creating work for children a challenge for you?

I was always very happy that the message in my watercolors is universal; apart from the serious content about
Warsaw, its history and atmosphere, there is a cheerful setting that makes the work all the more approachable.
So I followed this direction - I didn’t invent a new style for children, I wanted to treat them as a serious audience.
The book contains a mature message about local identity and role of the city in everyday life, addressed to the
youngest of children and told in fairy tales.

How did the illustrations for the book come into being?

The illustrations that make up the book are actually real paintings that use techniques that have so far been
reserved  for an adult audience. Working on the nine large images, so full of detail, was a very time consuming
project, requiring a lot of patience. This is a coherent project - nine urban worlds, each one intended to surprise
and spark curiosity.

Miastonauci Tytus Brzozowski
In the book it is the images themselves that narrate the story – the reader won’t find any text whatsoever.
What method do you use to tell the story through images?

In the paintings I made for this book, I assumed there should be more happening than usual. I wanted to 
have a lot of characters, lots of events that you have to look closely to see, and plenty of different topics. 
The motto we agreed with the publisher was, "This isn’t everyday life." - The book was to be surprising and
curious. Each page shows something unusual - buildings flying on green islands against the background of 
lush cumulus clouds, balloons carrying huge teapots over the city, townhouses floating on long, slender legs. 
On each pages the stories of different characters are interwoven for readers to follow. Between the heroes
there is interaction - their paths cross - and thanks to the accumulation of different characters, the book can
be viewed many times in a multitude of ways. This is a story about the quest to find the main characters here. 
On each page I also hid various small treasures that need to befound and accurately counted - these are 
mathematical puzzles.

You tell the story about the city and its inhabitants. What is their relationship?  

 It seems that in "Miastonauci" the main role belongs both to the heroes and to the city itself, which in its own
way also becomes a hero of the story. Between the characters and their natural environment there is symbiosis -
one can’t exist without the other.

What do the main characters in the book do?  

In the story the two main characters are on a quest. My first thought was based on the idea of wanting to tell 
someone something important, but that person does not see you. This may happen at the subway station or 
at a busy intersection. In the "Miastonauci", main character, along with his penguin companion, try to find 
a mysterious girl. They wander through fantastic lands, talking with people they bump into along the way. 
These people represent the ordinary life of the city. In the world of "Miastonauci" everyday issues become 
mini-adventures. Someone has to deliver an important message, someone helps out, another hero dreams 
of flying. The book is a story of cooperation, mutual help, community building and urban relations. 

You are inspired by Warsaw, which you devote much attention to in your work. However, the town 
of "Miastonauci" is special, because, like a jigsaw puzzle, it contains architecture from other cities.

My main theme is Warsaw, and in my art work I comment on its history, looking for the character and locality 
of this interesting butconfused place. In the book I used the architectural symbols of many Polish cities, wanting
 to build a more universal world. It seems like it would be very nice to find the same interesting building in your
 favorite book as you saw on a walk with your parents. In most cases, I use recognizable landmarks like St. Mary's Basilica
 in Gdansk, Wawel Cathedral or the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The book contains buildings representing eight Polish cities. 
It seems to me that this approach helps build good relationships, it is not negative, and in addition it carries a didactic
 theme. On the website "Miastonauci" you will be able to find additional information about all the significant buildings 
appearing in the book.

What made you decide to incorporate these elements into the city's structure?  

I was referring to important and recognizable buildings that are clearly associated with a particular city. Most of them
are symbols that have existed for hundreds of years. Wrocław is represented by the steep tower of the Church of 
St Elizabeth standing on the market square, Poznań - Ostrów Tumski cathedral, one of the oldest Polish churches 
connected with the beginnings of our statehood. There are many buildings in Warsaw that are closes to me and 
I know best. Both of the book’s covers are decorated with fragments of the PoniatowskiBridge, which is very distinctive, 
although the symbolism is less obvious. On the last page of the book there are two characteristic objects of the past. 
After crossing the non-existent Warsaw Porsche viaduct, the AM36 high-speed locomotive passes
 by the Paris Motor Show in 1937.

Miastonauci Tytus Brzozowski

Tytus Brzozowski

visit: http://www.miastonauci.pl/en/www.miastonauci.pl/en/
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