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Meet Raes at Wategos’ first artist in residence

A forever favourite for our Byron Bay summer pilgrimages, Raes at Wategos holds a firm place in our hearts thanks to its inimitable atmosphere, artfully curated interior design and inherent appreciation of the surrounding creative community. When the resort and spa announced a forthcoming artist in residence initiative, it felt like a natural step - commissioning someone to live on site for a week and create a series of works in situ, available for public purchase (all but one, which will remain on site). Here we meet the recipient of the debut residency, painter Stanislas Piechaczek.

Did you grow up in an artistic family?
My mum is a painter and my dad plays the guitar so I grew up around art and music.

Did you study art at university or are you self-taught?

Can you remember a moment where you decided to pursue painting professionally?
I had always hoped to be able to make a living out of painting as it is my passion but it seemed far-fetched in the beginning. When I met my wife and moved to Australia things started to fall in place and I was lucky enough to be able to paint as a full time profession. I’m stoked to be able to call this my ‘job’.

"My mum is a painter and my dad plays the guitar, so I grew up around art and music."

"I was able to have my family stay at Raes with me so it really felt like home."

Who are some of your favourite artists and do you think they have had an impact on your work? There is no doubt that artists influence my work in many ways. Music and film also has a big impact on my work. But when naming some of my favourite painters, I would say, Hockney, Basquiat, Gauguin, Golub, Matisse, Bacon.

How did the artist in residence partnership with Raes at Wategos come about?
I was dropping a new painting to be displayed at Raes and was telling the hotel manager about a residency I had just completed in Marrakech. She told me of her hopes to start a similar program at Raes. I am excited to be their first artist in residence

Can you talk us through a typical day in your life while you were living at Raes?
When my daughter would wake we’d grab a coffee and check the surf. I’d set up my studio by the pool and spend a few hours painting. We’d then all head to the beach and out for some lunch then back to Raes to paint.

In regards to the works you are creating at Raes, is there a feeling or a message you hope people will take away from?
My paintings have meaning but not an explicit message. The colours I use create a calm mood which is often in contrast with the subject.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful piece from this collection?
I actually love this whole collection. All the characters are so different and have their own stories.