Alicja Hlibowicka is an artist and the founder of Roosters and Art, a fun and playful brand where she brings to life contemporary rooster art in unique colorful illustrations.
Born in Tunisia to Polish parents, she grew up in Canada, where her family moved shortly afterwards. However, she has always been captivated by Europe’s charm, so she decided to relocate there not too long after her graduation and that is where the rooster universe started to take shape.
Alicja currently lives and works in Luxembourg, where the world of roosters is expanding with new characters and exciting creations. First time I came face to face with this dazzling universe, I was struck by the rooster’s vivid and vibrant colors, the playful nature and their careless, relaxed vibe that breaths in all her works. But it was when I met Alicja, that I could understand where all this bundle of energy was coming from. The sparkle in her eyes, large genuine smile and heartwarming personality made us connect in an instant!
It’s so great to meet you! Thank you for being here!
Me too! It’s such a pleasure!
You have created a fascinating rooster universe. What is your inspiration behind your work?
I have always painted for fun, ever since I was a kid, but it was Europe that provided me the inspiration for my roosters. I have always felt a European connection so I didn’t think twice when I decided to study an exchange term in Paris and then my master in Netherlands. I felt so at home that shortly after my graduation, I relocated to Prague for a change of air. It was near the end of my journey there that I stayed with one my friends there – Oliver, as I had to give back the keys to my apartment. I chilled out in his cool crib filled with funky furniture and music. He would even cook for me 🙂 It was there where I have started to paint the roosters.
Art is something you consume and does not die… Everything nowadays is made to be consumed and repurchased. Art is the only thing that survives.Alicja Hlibowicka
How did the idea of “roosters” come to you? Why roosters?
I was sitting at Oliver’s place on a rainy day and it struck me to paint! The original rooster is inspired by my former neighbor there, David, who has a very strong personality: flamboyant and very nonchalant. So, while drinking my coffee I realized that if I had to choose an animal to describe his character, it would be a rooster. I added a cigarette and it was screaming his name. Hence, the universe began to form!
Every rooster has a story, I see. How important is storytelling?
Storytelling is everything. It is our main way of communication, evolving, growing and even surviving. I often find that a lot of art hanging in galleries lacks a story, which is a key element for me. All my roosters have a name and a story. Some are inspired from people that I know, like David and Oliver; others are inspired from their stories, like Irina the chicken. I imagined her from David’s stories…
Other roosters are inspired from personalities in popular culture such as Karl and Choupette. I have created him after one of my favorite designers, Karl Lagerfeld, died earlier this year. I wanted to pay a tribute to his life, work and the way he influenced fashion. I could not leave him without his dear Choupette!
Who is your favorite artist?
Alex Katz. He is such an inspiration! He creates more than visual stories, he creates dialogue through his paintings. A good piece is a dialogue, you could instantly communicate with it. It inspires dialogue. It is a timeless communication and situation.
Art is something you consume and does not die. Nowadays, all we sell eventually dies, everything is made to be consumed and repurchased. Some professions too. Art is the only thing that survives. You can be 90 and still have a vernissage.
I do not really feel as a feminist as I never really felt any threats by being a woman. Empowerment is, on the other hand, something that we should all embrace. It is about embracing your current situation, accepting it, fixing it if needed and moving forward to fulfilling your goals!Alicja Hlibowicka
How would you define beauty?
It’s funny when I think about it, but I haven’t used this word in 5 years or more. It’s rather extinct for me, because of what it has become. “Beauty” – seems to be a category in a fashion magazine. I feel it has lost a lot of its meaning. In my daily life, I use words that are more defined to what I feel in that moment and what sensation I want to convey through that word.
Most of the guys that I know also don’t use “beauty”, they are less concerned with the illusion and more with the essence. There is a sensory appreciation of aesthetic that becomes more powerful, more real. Based on that, we tend to use more words that convey these sensations. I think I only hear “beautiful” from my boyfriend, who tells me in French: Tu es très belle!
How do you feel about women’s empowerment today?
I grew up in a world where equality was not a topic, nor an issue. It was normality. I do not really feel as a feminist as I never really felt any threats by being a woman. Empowerment is, on the other hand, something that we should all embrace. It is about embracing your current situation, accepting it, fixing it if needed and moving forward to fulfilling your goals!
So many people spend so much energy complaining. I feel that you just need to listen to your inner needs and do something about it. The outcome is amazing! Feeling great gives you the strength to do more and with that, positive feeling you can almost do anything that you wish. I like to call it a type of “flight mode” – unstoppable energy – as opposed to basic energy. At the end of the day, we are all running on some form of energy. You are simply better off with more.
You do live lighter and definitely happier when you do what you love!Alicja Hlibowicka
Did you have any role models when you were a child?
Yes, my aunt and Kelly Ripa! They are both so full of good vibes! I grew up watching Live with Kelly. She is a daytime talk show host and she was and is always so fun, not excessively glam, happy, following her passion and very feminine. I admired her energy and the way she expressed her personality in show business. My aunt is very much the same, ultra-feminine, educated and full of good energy! She studied linguistics, got a doctorate and always followed her passions! You do live lighter and definitely happier when you do what you love!
If you could have a superpower, what would that be?
I would fight injustice! I will bring all people to justice.
I have a hard time believing that in a world, which has been navigated by
advanced technologies, there is still malnourishment, famine, extinction,
trafficking and severe punishment against human choices. People get away
with such activities but I cannot understand how they can even look
themselves in the mirror.
What are your future plans?
I will have my first exhibition “Not Your Average Rooster” at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg between September 30 – October 11, so if you are around, stop by!
I think the whole charm of the project so far has been its complete spontaneity. I will of course continue to paint the series with characters, some of which well known, and find creative ways to share their stories. I also hope to have a few places show my work locally in the near year. In addition, I will expand my accessory line in tandem. And then… I look forward to the complete unexpected. 🙂
Lastly, I dream of building up the project and meeting more people that are close to the magic of art, storytelling and e-commerce. I really have a blast doing this sort of stuff so I am hoping that Roosters and Art leads to that world on a professional scale as well.
I am sure it will! Thank you so much for sharing all these marvelous stories and ideas. I can’t wait to see your future roosters!
Save the date if you are in Luxembourg at the beginning of October and visit Alicja’s exhibition! Follow Roosters and Art to see more of her work and enter the fascinating and colorful world of the roosters!