Karolina Kotowska is the illustrator of zine dedicated to Focus/Shapes That Move: Feminist Film Collectives in Britain from the 1970s To Now. Extremely talented yet humble, she said she will not call herself an activist in her bio, because her work is very minor compared to great things that others do. She also does great things though! Check out her website: http://karokoto.com

Karolina Kotowska about herself:

“Graphic designer, Illustrator, works on posters, books and visual identifications. Stefcia's mum. Based in Poland, northern countryside.”

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sitting on the bench (birthday present, built by my boyfriend) on the hill near our house, looking at the clean wild lake, with Ɓukasz and Stefcia, eating ice-cream or sandwiches, watching birds and thinking only about present moment, with no rush. Happiness is to enjoy perfect moments like this. 

What lies at the heart of your own desire to create illustrations?

I like working on projects that tackle some important social issues, are important for people, can empower some minorities, are able to do sth for „global equality” (haha). I love to cooperate with people on this kind of projects. I believe everyone is able to improve the world a little bit, no matter what she or he does for living. I like to draw so I do this when I feel it can be useful. Communication is the best weapon in this of non-violence struggle for equality, visual aspect is very important in communication as such, so I have a lot of work (ale beka).

We love your illustrations for the feminist film collective zine you’ve created for us. Are you also a feminist? What does it mean to you? 

I’m a feminist, definitely. I don’t think I know anybody who is not. Feminism means choosing equality, not violence (any kind). 

What are the first things you do when you are developing ideas for artwork?

Cleaning up the bathroom!  I talk to myself a lot when I do anything that don’t engage my brain.  Then I can really focus on new project. Taking shower, walking dog, nursing Stefcia, washing dishes and so. Then I need some time to try and spoil some first ideas and then I feel able to really start working on something. 

What’s your favourite film and why?

Since Stefcia was born (20 months ago) I have no time for watching films so I don’t understand your question. Sometimes I like to watch 40’ episode of Northern Exposure and it makes me satisfied. I love everything by Wes Anderson, everything is so visual sophisticated,  and beautiful, I admire his sense of humor and I love his films are not too „sweet”. 

Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks!

Recently I love this one: 

All-time favorites:

From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?

Recently I sing a song about love pretending it’s a lullaby for Stefcia:

Na calych jeziorach ty,

o wszystkich dnia porach ty.

I w lesnych zwierzetach ty.

I w ziolach, i w grzybach

nadzieja, ze to chyba ty.

zawsze ty

/On the lakes – you

every time of the day – you

in forest animals – you

in herbs, in mushrooms – you

hope that is you

forever you/

What is your greatest extravagance?

I asked my boyfriend and he said: Exploring second hands and picking  tacky jumpers, old-fashioned trousers, granny dresses for myself as well as for friends"

I always try to behave like I want to and feel not like "people do” and think is „normal”. I used to be a pro-refugee activist, I’ve settled down in countryside very far from my home city in old house, I don’t work for any commercial issues as such (I mean, I prefer satisfaction more than money, so I don’t work on advertisements or for corporations). I do my best to live slowly and consciously. Is it an extravagance?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Nature, changes (any kind, especially rapid ones) and closeness (with people). 

What is your final word?

There’s no final, only changes.
You can see Karolina's illustrations in our Focus/Shapes That Move: Feminist Film Collectives in Britain from the 1970s To Now zine. The bookings and details for the event can be found here