From gleaming skyscrapers to rows of townhouses, each city has its own unique identity and painter Maja Wrońska captures them in all their glory. After training as an architect, the Polish artist captured some of the historic cities of Europe in vibrant watercolor paintings. Recently, she's been exploring a whole new way of bringing the energy of urban places to life—through animation.
These short gifs transform Wrońska's watercolor paintings into moving works of art. Daylight fades to night and neon signs turn on and glow red and yellow, highlighting familiar sights of city living. “I wanted to show that watercolor is not a lame or ancient medium in the digital era, but it also can be a contemporary tool that works in nowadays digitized art era,” Wrońska tells My Modern Met. Her effortless, expressive style adds a distinctly individual flair to fleeting scenes.
All of these looped videos begin as original paintings that are then manipulated in Photoshop to create multiple frames. “At first, I must paint a traditional watercolor, and scan it in good quality. Painting takes me six hours,” Wrońska explains. “Then, I open scanned artwork in Photoshop and cut the layers that move and duplicate them, add the evening version digitally using gradients. It takes me three hours, I think, sometimes more or less depending on how many windows I cut or how many cars and people I animate.”
As an additional layer of incorporating modern technology, Wrońska has dove into augmented reality with her animations. Using a free app called Artivive, she has made her paintings searchable and animatable. Though Wrońska is not officially associated with or professionally collaborating with the app, she tells us she is intrigued by the functionality. The way the app works, as Wrońska explains, is that “when opened, it scans the images, and if it detects an art uploaded to the database, it plays animation. It allows 100 plays, and it works on originals, prints, and even on a view of your screen.”
Scroll down to see some of Wrońska's eye-catching cityscape watercolor gifs. To purchase original paintings and prints by Wrońska, visit her website, and keep up to date with the artist’s latest creations by following her on Instagram.
Polish artist Maja Wrońska brings her paintings of cities to life.
The Polish artist—well known for rendering cities in watercolor—has found a new way to capture the energy of different places.