City Sketch: Zbigniew Kozikowski


In his native Poland, painter Zbigniew Kozikowski’s vivid use of color was one of his hallmarks. But once in the United States, what had appeared bold and bright in Eastern Europe was surprisingly muted compared to the émigré’s newer works.
“The old palette was kind of grayish because of the light of the country,” says Kozikowski, who lives in Elk Grove and keeps a studio above Sacramento’s Art Foundry Gallery. Not gray, per se, he elaborates, but duller in tone.
A tour of Kozikowski’s recent works reveals canvases flush with vibrancy: skyscrapers in aquas, plums and reds, often set against skies of orange and yellow, and richly hued umbrellas in various formations. In fact, cityscapes and umbrellas are recurring themes in his work. The former are usually not of a particular place but “an interpretative vision of the imagination,” in his words.
Kozikowski is drawn to geometric abstraction; Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso are major influences. He started painting in high school, then spent five years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Though he made a living as a studio artist in Poland, Kozikowski’s travels around Europe whet his appetite for change. “I was looking for freedom. The thing socialism kills in people is hope,” he explains.
The painter, his wife and son came to the U. S. in 1993, joining his sister in the Sacramento area. He first started exhibiting his artwork on Del Paso Boulevard, then moved into the Art Foundry building, at 1021 R St., 10 years ago. Kozikowski’s studio is open the second Saturday of every month and by appointment. He also is completing a mural at Corti Brothers. Visit to learn more.