Joanna Karpowicz

Can the topic of death be tamed? To replace fear with a sense of closeness and peace? Joanna Karpowicz attempts this in her painting cycle with Anubis. Her nostalgic images are a source of positive emotions for many. The figure from myths enters our world, becoming our friend.

Discover collector’s prints from Joanna Karpowicz’s Anubis series


Malarka Joanna Karpowicz w pracowni


Joanna Karpowicz, considered one of the most talented figures on the contemporary Polish art scene, began her breakthrough painting cycle with Anubis in 2012. The Egyptian deity with the head of a jackal, known as a psychopomp and guide of souls, is in her interpretation more than just a mythical figure – it becomes a symbol of deep transformation and rebirth.

Karpowicz transports Anubis from ancient times to the present, portraying him not as a guardian of death but as a companion through the passage between worlds – an “usher of the departing,” as described by Jungian psychology. In her works, Anubis is present in those delicate moments of life which Jung would describe as “Thin Places” – places where the boundary between the world we know and the unknown becomes exceedingly subtle.

Karpowicz’s work is characterized by a deep understanding of human emotions and spirituality. She paints her nostalgic and symbolically rich images using acrylic on canvas and paper, utilizing the medium to express both personal reflections and universal truths about human existence.

The artist, known for her ability to blend traditional painting techniques with modern narratives, often flirts with pop culture and contemporary contexts, making her work both accessible and deeply reflective.


Joanna Karpowicz, born in Krakow, is an acclaimed painter, comic creator, and illustrator. Her artistic journey began at the State High School of Visual Arts in Krakow, where she developed her talents and interests. Continuing her passion, Karpowicz studied at the Faculty of Painting of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, under the guidance of Prof. Leszek Misiak, where she honed her painting skills, obtaining her diploma in 2001.

The artist gained recognition for her unique painting series with Anubis, which began in 2012. This series, combining themes of ancient mythology with aspects of modernity, has become a hallmark of her artistic expression. In her work, Karpowicz explores profound themes of human existence, such as death, transition, and rebirth, transforming them into visually captivating works of art. Besides painting, Joanna Karpowicz is also known for her work in comics, where her unique painting style and narrative talent allow her to create complex, multidimensional stories.

She lives and works in Krakow, continuing to develop her artistic career, inspired by the rich culture and history of the city. Her works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in Poland and on the international art scene, confirming her status as one of the leading figures in contemporary Polish art.

Joanna Karpowicz w pracowni



Solo exhibition: “Déjà vu”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow
Solo exhibition: “Late Summer. Anubis in Valencia”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow


Solo exhibition: “Anubis and Yokai”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow Artemis Gallery, Krakow


Solo exhibition: “Securities”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow


Solo exhibition: “Return”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow


Solo exhibition: “Anubis on a Journey”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow


Group exhibition: “Artists from Krakow: Generation 1970 – 1979”, Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAK
Group exhibition: “Comics Now!”, National Museum in Krakow


Solo exhibition: “LA Woman”, Artemis Gallery, Krakow
Group exhibition: “Blood. It connects and divides”, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews


Solo exhibition: “Anubis”, Raven Gallery, Krakow


Group exhibition: “My country so beautiful”, Arsenal Gallery, Poznań


Solo exhibition: “I Want to Believe”, Zamek Cultural Center, Wrocław
Group exhibition: Strange Stories, Stalowa Gallery / Meno Forma Gallery, Kaunas


Solo exhibition: “Anubis, My Friend”, Łącznik Gallery, Krakow


Group exhibition: “Comics. Urban Legends”, Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAK


Solo exhibition: “Means of Transportation”, Cafe Szafe, Krakow


Solo exhibition: “Room 666”, Nova Gallery, Krakow

Joanna Karpowicz’s works are included in the collection of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and are also part of the permanent exhibition at the newly opened Comic Book and Interactive Narrative Center EC1 in Łódź.



“Late Summer. Anubis in Valencia” – a new exhibition by Joanna Karpowicz
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I’m curious about the experiences or moments in your life that become a source of inspiration for your art. How do these everyday moments give birth to creativity?

I try to live simply. Inspiration can be found in travels, poetry, books, music, exhibitions, but for me, waiting for a tram at a stop, a walk to the post office, or a coffee at a corner cafe are equally important. My phone serves as a sketchbook. I take a lot of photos, not beautiful ones, rather documentary. Later, paintings are created based on these. Sometimes, I make pencil sketches when I can’t take a photo.

I wonder if there are any motifs that frequently return in your works and have personal significance for you?

Since 2012, I have been painting a series with Anubis. It is for me a way of taming the topic of death. But also the topic of life. Anubis appears in places close to me or those I miss, even if I have never been there. Aesthetically, I like everything that arouses my nostalgia. For example, snow in the light of a lantern. I am close to Hopper’s painting and sometimes subtly refer to him – like him, I am a voyeur and I am interested in the motif of loneliness in an urban landscape.

In the context of your daily inspirations and motifs in your work, are there any special rituals you use when creating art?

I work on several paintings at once. It always gives me a breath and a sense of distance. I like order around me. The ideal situation is when I can dedicate the whole day to painting. However, such days are rare. Until recently, I worked exclusively at home. I have been renting a studio for a year, and it is a big change to which I am still adapting.

From your rich artistic output, is there a work that, in your opinion, represents a turning point or has special significance in your career?

The first painting from the Anubis series. “Anubis the Ferryman” from 2012. While painting it, I didn’t have a premonition that it would become a series; it was a highly intuitive action. Małgorzata Czyńska wrote nicely about it in the introduction to the artbook “Anubis. Thin Places 2” (published by Timof Comics): “The painting based on an archival photograph, simply a painting – two adults and a child with a teddy bear under the arm, did not come to be. The burning, intense look of the man contradicted the idyll of an innocent genre scene, in the water reflected not fish but hanged men on trees, and he slowly lost his human face, jackal ears grew, and finally, he revealed himself as Anubis, allowed the painter to see and recognize him. Thus, the story of one photo from the moment before the catastrophe of 1939 and one painting from 2012 gave rise to a painting series.”

Artistic work is not only about creating, but also many other activities. What challenges do you encounter in your work and how do you deal with them?

Of course, the work of a painter is more than just painting. I spend a lot of time on correspondence with galleries and clients, as well as on social media management. There’s no escaping it. It’s an integral part of our presence in the art market. Then there’s so-called life. That is everything each of us deals with daily. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the head free of thoughts for painting. Sports help me with this, and lately, meditation as well.

Earlier, you mentioned various sources of inspiration in your art. Can you name some artists who have had a special impact on you or from whom you draw inspiration?

Besides the mentioned Hopper, I highly value Hockney – phenomenally open to the world, exceptionally intelligent, and wise painter. A person from whom we can learn thinking about art and more. Fantastic energy. That’s how one should live. Additionally, film music composers inspire me, for example, Johann Johannsson. I like to work while listening to his music; it’s like a gym for emotions.

I’m curious about your interaction with the recipients of your works. Could you share with us what their reactions and support mean to you?

For me, the audience is incredibly important. Thanks to them, I can live off art, and I am very grateful for that. It’s wonderful to feel dozens of people behind you who empathize with your painting. I have a great connection with my audience on social media. However, I’m not among those creators who are very open to direct contact with the audience. I rarely invite anyone to my studio. Vernissages are difficult for me. I don’t have a problem with public appearances, I manage with the audience, but I don’t like all this celebrity around artists. There are people among us who love attention and feel great surrounded by compliments. I’m not one of them. I protect my privacy very much.

What techniques and tools are most important to you in the creative process? Could you tell us a bit more about them?

I recently noted down a nice quote from Isaac Asimov: “Education is something you can never finish.” I’ve been working with acrylic paints since the beginning of my studies and practically learn this technique all the time. I believe that craftsmanship is an important element of a painter’s work, at least in painting like mine, figurative. I constantly try to raise the bar, learn new tricks, new technological solutions.

As an experienced artist, what advice would you give to young creators who are just starting their artistic path?

Do your thing. Arm yourself with patience. You might have to have another additional job for some time to survive. That’s normal (I worked in advertising, behind the bar, etc.). Don’t take rejection personally – you can be the tastiest apple in the whole orchard, and still, someone who just doesn’t like apples might come your way. Read contracts. Learn to talk about money. Living off art is not easy, but it’s possible. Good luck!