Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski
- nickname Papcio Chmiel
- born 1923
- born in Warsaw
- he lives and creates his works in Warsaw
- he specializes in cartoons and illustrations
It may be said that the artistic debut of Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski (pseudonym: Papcio Chmiel) took place in 1947, when he began working as a graphic artist and a columnist for the magazine titled “Świat Przygód”, which changed its title to “Świat Młodych” in 1949. In 1950‒1956, he studied at the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he graduated from Henryk Tomaszewski’s Studio of Graphic Arts and was awarded a professional title of a visual artist.
The most important publications: “Tytus Romek i A’Tomek” published in “Świat Młodych” from 1957 (story and art), the series of 31 volumes was published by many companies; “Urodziłem się w Barbakanie” (autobiography), Prószyński i S-ka, 1999; “Tytus zlustrowany” (the second volume of the autobiography), MDK, 2007, and many more.
The most important awards and distinctions: Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, 1978; Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, Warsaw, 2007; Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Warsaw, 2009; Order of the Smile, Mysłowice, 2011; Medal of the Centenary of the Regained Independence, Warsaw, 2018; “Merit for Polish Comics”, Warsaw 2019; Papcio Chmiel award (humoris causa doctorate) for outstanding merit to the Polish comics, International Festival of Comics and Games in Łódź, 2019, and many more, and many more.
The works of Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski have been the canon of the Polish comics for over half a century. His style has evaluated; his strokes have become more subtle and polished and the black and white panels – colourful, more detailed and more dynamic. Papcio Chmiel’s comics are always surrealistic, regardless from whether they are more realistic or fantastic.
His illustrations are extremely vivid and precise; they depict the chosen scenery in compliance with the era or the environment where the plot is unravelling. Chmielewski uses all possibilities provided by the comics; he plays with onomatopoeias, shapes of balloons or panels. In his comics, the character of the author appears as a friend and creator of the remaining characters, who are aware that they are characters in a comic.
Papcio Chmiel not only includes works of other artists (e.g. Picasso) in his drawings, but he also uses their style to draw panels which refer to their works and which look like e.g. cubist paintings.
Depending on the topic of a volume, various conventions dominate, such as historic, fantastic, science fiction or western one. All Chmielewski’s comics contain information from multiple disciplines, e.g. history, geography, biology, the sciences or art.
What remains unchanged is the humour, which is present in the visual as well as verbal layer of his cartoons. They involve a lot of plays with words based e.g. on similar sounds of words or on word formation as well as verbal-graphic games resembling rebuses. Lots of expressions used by Tytus have become classics of pop culture.