“Wild Strawberry” is the artistic pseudonym of Aleksandra Chastagnol, whose Instagram feed is replete with her signature black and white drawings. This website showcases said illustrations, which are often inspired by renowned 19th & 20th century paintings.

Aleksandra experiments with various techniques and mediums, but much of her work is elegantly expressed through pen and paper. The themes of her work are primarily based on the works of the great artists before her, but Aleksandra’s versions are simplified and approachable, acquiring a style that is characteristic of the artist and her creative process. Her remarkable ability to synthesize professionally executed illustrations from a diverse pool of work is surprising for a self-taught artist.

Drawing is a source of complete satisfaction for Aleksandra, bringing her joy and calming her mind. She rejoices in every completed work and fearlessly employs a wide variety of techniques, including pen, linocut, ink, watercolors, acrylics, gelatin monotype, and others. Hearing Aleksandra’s own account of her creative process, one cannot help but see her attitude reflected in her works. They are fresh and light, characterized by continuous and spontaneous lines, with little detail and a clean background. One can also discern the author’s passion for decorative forms such as textile ornaments, lines, dots, spots, and other shapes that often cover the surfaces of depicted objects. In other works, these decorations are the main motif and cover the entire surface of abstract works.

Although the author often employs color, her Instagram gallery is presented in black and white. In my opinion, this works wonderfully, particularly when it comes to her drawings. It enables the viewer to appreciate the simple beauty of the lines, and unifies all the works, creating a singular, original world that is aesthetically cohesive yet teeming with various themes and sources of inspiration.

Many of her works incorporate images from great 19th & 20th century paintings. These distinctive scenes, familiar to us from art history and featuring characters from the bohemian milieu of the era, are presented in a new light through Aleksandra’s interpretation. The difference between Matisse’s work and the representation of his work by Aleksandra is nuanced. Of course, the characteristic styles of Matisse or Schiele are recognizable, but they integrate splendidly with the rest of her work through Aleksandra’s unique styling process. The infusion of her own, contemporary style, her joy of creating, and her passion for art history permeate the body of work.

What fascinates me about her creativity, her project, is also its consistency. It is not a forced or obligatory consistency, but one that arises from a genuine desire and need to create. Aleksandra draws at home, at work, and while traveling. She regularly uploads new works and enthusiastically shares her latest discoveries. I love that she brings art closer to me, reminds me of great works, and infects me with her passion. Her drawings lift my mood like postcards from a dear friend found unexpectedly in the mailbox. ~Maya Woźniak