Roch Urbaniak

Interesting stories are everywhere; you just need to notice them. Roch Urbaniak is a master of depicting fantastic stories, inviting his audience to experience them. Through multi-threaded narratives, he paints narrative-rich paintings – novels that are hard to forget.

Discover collector’s prints with the extraordinary stories of Roch Urbaniak.




Interesting stories are everywhere; you just need to notice them. Roch Urbaniak is a master of depicting fantastic stories, inviting his audience to experience them. Through multi-threaded narratives, he paints narrative-rich paintings – novels that are hard to forget.

Roch Urbaniak is a conscious artist who notices moving stories in seemingly trivial media: mainstream cinema or computer games inspire him to act as much as travel, legends and myths. Despite his artistic maturity and vast knowledge, he does not impose a vision of what should be read in his paintings. Leaving much freedom to his audience, Roch Urbaniak fills his works with extraordinary details. He takes us to paradisiacal worlds, expanding the imagination to its limits. He can evoke emotions of both joy and sadness. Each of Roch’s paintings is a multitude of stories, as varied as the observers.

The artist paints using acrylic on canvas. He also enjoys using other forms of expression, creating comics and illustrations. He presented an outstanding level in the book “Papiernik – or where stories come from”, both parts of which were enthusiastically received by readers in Poland.


Roch Urbaniak was born in 1986 in Krakow, Poland. He was distinguished as a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in 2011, where he studied painting in the studio of Professor Waltos. His diploma work, presented at the Palace of Art, was awarded a medal by the Society of Friends of Fine Arts.

In his creative work, Roch draws inspiration from fairy tales, mythology, folklore, and his numerous travels. In 2014, he won the prestigious Grand Prix at the 25th International Comic Festival in Łódź.



Group Exhibition “The Hidden Life”, CSW Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
Group Exhibition “Tempus Peregrinari”, Bath House, Dallas, USA


Solo Exhibition “Ad Astra”, Triada Gallery, Gdańsk, Poland


Group Exhibition “Magical Dreams”, Bator Gallery, Szczyrk (PL)


Solo Exhibition, Kersten Gallery, Krakow
Solo Exhibition “Papiernik” at the Temporary Comics and Illustration Gallery, Wrocław


Solo Exhibition, Triada Gallery, Gdańsk


Group Exhibition, Principle Gallery, Charleston, USA


Group Exhibition at the 25th International Comic Festival, Lisbon, Portugal.
Group Exhibition “Third Time’s the Charm”, Vauxhall Gallery, Krzeszowice.


Group Exhibition “Summer Salon”, Stalowa Gallery, Warsaw.


Group Exhibition “Contemporart”, Mentana Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Solo Exhibition, residence of Ambassador Victor Ashe, Knoxville, USA.
Solo Exhibition “Fables”, Pienkow Art Gallery, Knoxville, USA.


Exhibition of the best diplomas, Palace of Art, Krakow.
Group Exhibition “Art of Poland: the collection of Ambassador of the United States Sir Victor Ashe”, Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, USA.
Group Exhibition “The World Upside Down” Palace of Art, Krakow.


Group Exhibition “Rhythms and Rituals”, Ethnographic Museum in Krakow.
Solo Exhibition “PTGT”, Kreatura Gallery, Krakow.
Group Exhibition, IROK Gallery, Horst, Netherlands.


Solo Exhibition “Poppy Maiden”, Kreatura Gallery, Krakow.
Group Exhibition “Master and Students”, Podnad Gallery, Tarnowskie Góry.
Group Exhibition “Famous Fantastic Caprices” TAF Art Foundation, Athens, Greece.


Group Exhibition “Integralia 2009”, Krakow (audience award).
Group Exhibition “Drawings/Dessin”, Natta Gallery, Brussels, Belgium



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Publication of the book “Tiger Tamer”
Award “Hall of Fame: Best Artist” granted by the European Science Fiction Society


Publication of the book “Papiernik. The Marketplace of Stories”


International Art Fair ArtRevolution Taipei, Taiwan
Publication of the painting “Cyclades” in the Spectrum Fantastic Art catalog, a compilation of the world’s best fantastic art
Publication of the book “Papiernik, or Where Stories Come From”.


International Art Fair ArtRevolution Taipei, Taiwan


Third place at the 27th International Comic Festival in Łódź for the comic Sedna


Finalist of the international competition “Seers” for a children’s book project. Publisher Dwie Siostry
Distinction at the 26th International Comic Festival in Łódź for the comic Nataraja.


Grand Prix victory at the 25th International Festival of Comics and Games in Łódź for the comic “Papiernik”.


Participation in an international painting plein air organized by the Marek Maria Pieńkowski Foundation.


International painting competition “Nescafe KafetexNES 2010” Athens, Greece (special prize).


Hello, Roch! It’s a great pleasure to be able to talk with you. I’ve always been fascinated by where you draw inspiration for your extraordinary works and how you approach the development of your artistic path. Can you share with us what drives your creativity and how you develop your approach to art?

Hello and thanks for the question, it’s really an interesting topic. With inspiration, it was such that I needed some time to mature and truly understand what I want to convey through my art. Initially, partly because of the conditions and expectations placed on an artist by the art school, I had a problem with openly talking about what drives me and what I want to paint. So, I was looking for motifs that could justify my painting without attracting accusations of banality and childishness. Therefore, at the beginning, there were travels as well as myths and legends from places I visited. And then art school ended, I increasingly did my own thing and more and more forgot about the school and its expectations. And finally, I could admit it. Heck, I could proudly say what it’s really about. Pop culture, fantasy, video games, comics are carriers of culture just as important as literature, theater, or mythology. Really, there’s no shame in talking about the sources of our inspiration.

I understand that inspiration from pop culture is important to you. What specific motifs or themes frequently recur in your works? Are there any that you hold particularly close to your heart?

Yes, there are certain motifs that recur regularly in my works – like architecture, flying islands, or whales. But are they close to me? They are simply elements that I can easily utilize and assemble into a painterly story that gives me satisfaction and builds an atmosphere of extraordinariness and the wonder of a discoverer coming across new, magical places. It’s like a safe alphabet, the basic building blocks I can reach for. However, sometimes something fresh comes along, some new inspiration, unexpected and untamed. Then, those safe, familiar elements get “put on the shelf,” and I dedicate myself to unraveling this new issue. Both narratively and formally, I contemplate how to paint it and what story to create from it.

Since we’re talking about exploring new topics, are there any rituals that help you in this process?

Coffee and audiobooks – those are my little rituals that help me focus on work while simultaneously enjoying every moment of creation.

Moving on, is there a particular work that, in your opinion, played an especially important role in your artistic journey?

It’s difficult to point to a single piece. Every painting had its significance and found its place. Some of them have been given new life as illustrations, posters, puzzles, or even designs on clothing. Some have been recognized in important publications, others have won awards. But that doesn’t make them more important than the rest. However, what had the greatest significance for me was not a single piece of work but an entire exhibition that took place in 2017 at the Kersten Gallery in Krakow, titled “I will tell you about the times of great adventure”. It was there, for the first time, that I openly confessed my greatest inspiration is pop culture.

You mentioned discovering new inspirations. What challenges come with this and how do you deal with them?

Overall, the main challenges arise when I have to paint something I can’t fully imagine. For example, whales, architecture, balloons, strange machines, etc., I can do just like that, from my head. But the lighting of a night port and the boats in it illuminated by light coming from the seabed? Waves breaking against the rocks during a storm? The rigging of a galleon wrecked on the shore? These are things that need to be somewhat realistic, otherwise, they won’t come across credibly. I solve such challenges by searching for visual references. That is, photos on which I can base these things. In the past, this required building models and experimenting with lighting, nowadays, the internet serves as a significant help.

Since pop culture plays such an important role in your creation, could you list any artists or creators who have particularly inspired your way of creating?

Definitely, one of the artists who has had a huge influence on me is James Gurney, the creator of the “Dinotopia” series. He is not only a wonderful painter but also a writer who creates extraordinary worlds. He combines painting with narration in a way that I’ve always wanted to do. His works motivated me to write books and use my paintings as illustrations in those publications.

Moving on to the topic of inspiration and influences, I’m curious, how important is the interaction with the audience of your works to you?

It’s always great to meet new people. Sometimes it’s also nice to paint something on commission based on someone’s vision and suggestions. It creates a very interesting dialogue with the viewer. I try, using my own painting language, to tell their story.

And what about the tools you use? What is essential in your artistic workshop?

Acrylic paints because they dry quickly and don’t create the technological problems that oil paints do. And spatulas, which allow me to create textures from which shapes, full of life and energy, can be extracted using brushes.

And finally, in our conversation, what advice would you give to young artists who are just starting their artistic career?

It’s a bit like with anything we want to excel in. Practice every day. Listen to those who have more experience. But at some point, stop listening to them, and once you know what you are doing and how, do it your own way.

Thank you very much for this inspiring conversation. Your experiences and advice are invaluable, not just for young artists, but for anyone searching for their path in any creative field. I hope our readers will find in your words the motivation to explore, experiment, and most importantly, to remain true to themselves and their passion.

Marcin Homan spoke with Roch Urbaniak