2019 marks the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Poland and the US: a full century of solidarity, understanding and friendship. However, cultural, social and interpersonal relations between Poland and the US have a much longer tradition. Poles and Americans have continued to inspire each other with their shared desire for freedom, democracy and cultural contributions. For this unique occasion, we have turned to an outstanding artist whose home lies in both countries to forge a symbolic expression of the bonds that unite us.
The Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C. are thrilled to present a logo for our Centennial of Friendship. The design is a collaboration between Rafal Olbinski, a Polish-American painter, illustrator and designer renowned in both Poland and the United States and his daughter, Natalia Olbinski, a New York based designer.
We invite our American friends, including the over 10 million Americans of Polish descent we call ‘Polonia,’ to join us in celebrating the Centennial of Friendship!
Rafal Olbinski immigrated to the United States in 1981, where he soon established himself as a prominent painter, illustrator and designer. For his artistic achievements, he has received more than 150 awards including Gold and Silver Medals from the Art Directors Club of New York, Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles, and The Big Crit 2000 award by Critique Magazine in San Francisco, the International Oscar for The World's Most Memorable Poster, Prix Savignac in Paris, the Creative Review Award for the Best of British Illustration in London. The President of the Republic of Poland awarded Olbinski the highest award in the field of arts, the gold medal, “Gloria Artist”.
In 1995 his poster was chosen as the official New York City Capital of the World Poster in an invitational competition by a jury led by Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. In the following year he won the Steven Dohanos Award for the best painting in the Annual Member Exhibition of the Society of Illustrators. In 1996 he was commissioned by the U.S. Information Agency to design a poster celebrating the 25th Earth Day Anniversary. From 2002 through 2010, a selection of Olbinski paintings was included in the Grand Space projection in Grand Central Terminal, as a highlight of the Earth Day Celebration in New York. The other artists featured in the show are Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Raushenberg, and Andy Warhol.
His illustrations have appeared on the covers or been shown in publications such as Newsweek, Time, Business Week, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Omni, The New York Times, New Yorker and Der Spiegel and his work has been featured in many international magazines including: Print, Novum, Graphis, Communication World, Idea, Art Magazine in America, How, The World & I, High Quality and Universe des Artes.
Rafal Olbinski's paintings are included in the collections of the National Arts Club in New York, the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress in Washington, Suntory Museum in Osaka, Japan, and others throughout Europe and the United States.
Natalia Olbinski is a graphic designer, illustrator, and art director of Lente magazine in Poland. She received her BFA from the Industrial Design department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and received her Master's degree in Design and Graphics from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. From 2012-2015 she was involved with La Rivista, a magazine devoted to Italian culture, and from 2015-2016 she served as artistic director of La Vie magazine. Her poster for L'Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion (ACID) were shown at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2014. Natalia’s graduate thesis project––City Guide: Atlantis—was published by TypoForge in 2017. She moved back to New York in 2018 and works at the Walter Bernard Design studio.
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