Interview with Dorota Kosciukiewicz-Markowska on POLKI.PL

Dorota Kosciukiewicz-Markowska, the author of the book Palace of Colours. Magic of Make-up tells us about her inspirations, travels and her new novel. Palace of Colours. Magic of Make-up is an exclusive album on make-up. Each page oozes with colourful photos presenting the art of make-up on the highest international level. Today we have the opportunity to talk to the author of the album, Dorota Kosciukiewicz-Markowska. Dorota, I take your album in my hand and I really feel something extraordinary. These days it happens very seldom that the author and publisher decide to have such a professional print quality that you cannot pass by indifferently. Was this the intended effect?

D K-M: Yes, absolutely. Together with the publisher we took a lot of time to consider the shape of the album. After the layout design and selection of photos we decided not to make any compromises and to make an album on the highest level. I dreamt about a book that would satisfy not only myself, but also every potential buyer. And even the very title, “Palace of Colours. Magic of Make-up”, is an obligation in itself. The album was supposed to be coherent and show this palatial lavishness connected with the magic of colour. And if it was to be lavish, it had to be very rich, that’s why we used many printing solutions that were not cheap. But I think it was worth it, because this way you perceive the album as a whole, and when holding it in your hands you really feel an extraordinary publication. Did you work long on the photos  for the album? From the credits one can see that you are not just the author of make-ups, but also of the majority of photos.

D. K-M: The work on the album lasted several years. You cannot take photos like that in a rush. Preparation for sessions, styling, selection of models and ideas is a creative process that sometimes takes many days. On top of this there is the selection of pictures and post-processing. In most cases I am a one-man band and I do most of the things, from styling to hair and make-up to photos and retouching. Of course deep in my soul I feel I am primarily a make-up artist and it is make-up that plays the most important part in my photos.

Back to the question. Some of the photos were taken during my work in Mexico seven years ago, with a great photographer Jacob Sadrak. The rest was created in my studio in Szczecin over more than two years. The work on preparation to print, that is the design, layout, selection of texts and translation took about half a year. Looking at your make-ups one has the impression that you don’t follow any rules or trends, but you can feel the “touch of the same brush”. How do you do it?

D K-M: I think that it’s about listening to myself. I do not set any limitations in selecting colours and textures. I let myself flow in the unreal world of colours. I just somehow “tame” the ideas that come to my mind. I am not afraid of criticism or judgement, I do it in a completely and totally free way. I think that „playing for the grandstand” kills and blocks the artist part of the make-up artist. So I don’t kill it, by my independence of expression I rather let it reach out to the light of day in its full grace during the act of creation.

The other side of the coin is precision. Freedom of expression is one thing, and long and sometimes arduous work is another. In my work there is no space for “bad” shading or a crooked line. In this context I am a perfectionist, and if something has to be crooked, it is an intentional crookedness, there are no incidents in my works. And although I get carried away by the colours and spontaneity of creation, I focus on the details that have to be perfect by all means.

I also think that what makes my work stand out is this „palatial” fairy tale character. Somewhere deep in my heart and soul I am a girl just telling her fairy tale. And because it is colourful, I am telling a colourful fairy tale J Probably your seven-year long stay in Mexico played an important part here.

D.K-M: Certainly, that’s beyond doubt. Those colours are still whirling inside my soul, although it’s grey winter outside. I just close my eyes and I am in the colourful world of Xochimilco, Coyoacanu or Central Mexico City or I remember the colourful dresses of indigenous women. The sun really does something amazing! The colours come to life, and the soul comes to life with them. So my life in Mexico certainly has had an impact on my work. Since when have you been in Poland?

D.K-M: It’s been some 5 years, although for the first three years I lived out of a suitcase. In fact I settled down in Szczecin for good when my daughter was born, some 3 years ago. And where can we purchase the album Palace of Colours. Magic of Make-up?

D.K-M: It can be bought on the website You can view virtual chapters of the book, read the opinions of other readers or find the programme of training sessions I organize. Dorota, thank you very much for the interview.

D.K-M: Thank you very much.