These Watercolour Cityscapes Put a Colourful Spin on Surrealism

“I want my cityscapes to be happy, vigorous and full of life. I believe that these kinds of colours and strong contrasts give a powerful and magic character.”
–Tytus Brzozowski


Warsaw’s already a colourful city – a patchwork of architectural wonders and beautiful parks – but Polish artist Tytus Brzozowski has set about making his hometown even more colourful. His watercolour paintings turn the city into a vibrant utopia of magical surrealism.

Tytus’s cityscapes take hold of unfamiliar angles of old and new parts of Warsaw, picturing its citizens walking among buildings which levitate in the sky in an Escheresque dance of impossibility.


On firm ground, we sat down with the artist to explore more about his creative vision of Warsaw, and what he thinks the city (and his paintings) will look like in the future.

THE PLUS: It’s been three years! What’s your biggest highlight been since we last spoke?
Tytus Brzozowski:
I believe the biggest achievement for me were the projects of murals that were recently realized here in Warsaw. It is an amazing feeling to watch your own painting scaled to 35-metre-high mural.

It is also a great promotion for an artist to present art in such a spectacular way. There are two mural paintings based on my projects in Warsaw at the moment and soon there will be a third one. They present the history and mood of their neighbourhood showing the most important buildings from the past and present. 


TP: You tend to stick to vibrant and light watercolours in your paintings. Why do you prefer these types of colours?
I want my cityscapes to be happy, vigorous and full of life. I believe that this kind of colours and strong contrasts give a powerful and magic character. 

TP: Your paintings are built up from a wealth of fine details. Can you tell us a bit about how you approach the creation of these?
It is so important for me to make paintings full of details, hidden elements and events. I want them to be interesting and surprising. I’m happy when people want to spend more time looking at my pictures and searching for something hidden deeper.

I truly admire a city full of life and activities and that’s why I paint so many people spreading everywhere – not only on the streets, but also on the rooftops, chimneys or somewhere between the clouds. 


TP: The viewpoints of many of your paintings have diagonal perspectives. How do you figure out the compositions for your artworks?
I use many different point of views, but usually not the one that you can find in everyday life. I want to show something more, something from above. Most of the time I paint my own compositions of buildings from different places and times and those particular views can be found only on my paintings. 

TP: What does watercolour mean to you? 
It used to be my greatest hobby and with time I was able to turn it into my everyday life. I’m lucky to work doing something creative on one hand and relaxing and satisfying on the other. I really like this technique, the way colours mix on the paper gives me a lot of fun. 


TP: Do you have a favourite city other than Warsaw? Why do you like it so much?
The second city I really appreciate and that I know very well is Helsinki. I used to live in Finland for some time and I really appreciate its modest culture, way of living and planning the cities. Helsinki are consistent and clear, very logical and friendly, it’s a city made for people.

On the other hand I really like southern Spanish cities which are very lively and crowded. Climate really impacts the way people live in the cities and Warsaw is somewhere in the middle between crowded and noise Seville and cold, but modest and clear Helsinki. 


TP: What do you love most about architecture in Polish cities?
It’s easier to love the cities not affected by the Second World War. Among the biggest cities in Poland, only Krakow was not ruined and rebuilt and it’s known as the prettiest Polish city and it truly is a wonderful place, full of magnificent historical buildings with intriguing urban layout.

Warsaw – my hometown and main subject of my paintings – is so much more difficult because of its rough history. My artistic program is to search for the identity of the city of instant change.  


TP: What do you think Warsaw (and its architecture) will be like in the future for example in 100 years? 
It all deepens on global politics. If Europe and the world will be a peaceful and safe place, Warsaw will grow and change a lot. I really believe that it has favourable conditions to become one of the most important and nice-to-live-in cities in Europe. 

TP: How do you like spending time when you’re not making art or architecture?
We have two kids and I love to travel with my family. During spring and summer we try to travel every weekend. I also play badminton – I train a lot and it’s a lot of fun.