Dawid Planeta on telling the story of depression through art

By Naseeb Ahmad Ahseek

Digital artist Dawid Planeta’s project, “The Minipeople”, tells the story of his depression through art.

On your Instagram you said you turn depression into art. How did you start in that direction? Is it something that you’ve been through yourself? 

The Minipeople” project started spontaneously during my period of depression back in 2017. Now I know that depression in its core is basically a defense mechanism that activates when you do something that hurts you for a long period of time. It takes away your energy to stop you from doing it. I didn’t know about it then. All I knew is that my happiness was gone and I couldn’t find joy in anything anymore. 

Then something happened. I was killing time in Photoshop to distract myself from thinking and, after creating an image, I realized something was different: a gentle feeling of excitement appeared. I was afraid it would disappear so I kept working to create more images. I didn’t plan to do it. I saw a way out from the darkness and I followed it. I didn’t plan to share these works with anyone. It was my own, personal journey. But once it helped me get out of the shadows, I decided to share it. 

I really like the way you described depression. You have a very distinct style in your work. It does relate to depression in a very beautiful way I think. Can you tell me more about how you developed that style of yours, was it something you already wanted to do or something that you had to build from time to time with trial and errors?

I never create with a clear vision in mind. What I’m more clear about is the emotion I want the picture to evoke. I didn’t have any plans for this series. I just created few pictures and decided to experiment some more with this technique. This is the best way – to learn as you go. It keeps you fascinated, it keeps you inspired. The first picture from the series evolved from my previous experiments – a series of traditional collages, made with paper and scissors. Trying to optimize the process to have more freedom led me to digital editing and later I switched to creating fully in digital. Art is an ongoing process. It’s difficult to see it because people always look at one part of the process at a time.

How important do you think it is for an artist to have a distinct style? Do you think that having a personal style is what makes an artist stand out more?

For me it’s the same question as, “How important do you think is to be yourself and not pretend to be someone else?” Being an artist is not about creating a style but rather about finding it. Or finding yourself.

If you create the way you like, not the way you want, not the way you think you should, then everything you make resembles you in some way. 
Sometimes you will find that your “real” style is quite far away from what you expected it to be. That’s why many people keep trying to find something they already found but they weren’t happy about it.

You explained your works “Deep Forest” and “The Miracle” well on an Instagram post, they are very packed with small details and have very deep meanings, can you tell me more about your process? How do you come up with those ideas and where do you draw your inspirations from?

The secret is not to try to “come up with ideas”.

I just do what feels right, I follow my intuition. I’m not often inspired with visual art. Most of my inspirations are unconscious, but if I were to point some directions I would say mythology, psychology, spirituality, music, shamanism, poetry.

The process of creating art is very much connected with my own definition of art as “creating a space for a spirit to emerge”. And that’s exactly how I work. I create a space and wait for the spirit to come and take over the process. It’s not as easy as it may sound, because the spirit is like a wild animal – you never know what kind of space will encourage it to come closer. 

It takes a lot of patience, but it’s definitely worth it.

It’s definitely not an easy process. During that process whenever you face “blocks”, how do you usually deal with that. 

I don’t deal with that. Those “blocks” are just information that there are some other areas that you should focus on at the moment. It may be a problem if you see everything as straight lines, but if you see reality more as a map than you understand that some other part of the map needs to develop right now, which will also help you to understand why you seem to be “blocked” on that particular path. So I guess I’m dealing with it by not dealing with it. And what is most important is not to fight with it – this idea of being “blocked” is only in your mind, and fighting against part of yourself is never a good idea.

Wisp of Smoke
You have a lot of quotes related to your works, it seems like you are a person who like reading and poetry. Do you think that this is something that influences your work in some ways? 

Definitely. When it comes to the quote, it often takes a long time to find the right one. A quote works as a hint to turn your mind in a specific direction. It helps you interpret the work within a certain mental landscape. It also helps you see the work with a certain mindset. It helps you not to get lost in countless possibilities of interpreting the work. I don’t want a quote to explain the picture or to repeat what the picture is already saying. I want it to continue the story, helping it to expand. It has to be not too far and not too close to the message of the picture. I want them to complete each other. 

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