Ana Polgar (Pili) (she/her) is an urban planner who developed a love for painting. After a couple of years working in urban planning for climate change adaptation in Europe, Asia and Africa, she moved to Vancouver to conduct doctoral research. Her practice and research on ecosystem-based adaptation and socio-spatial justice is driven by curiosity, compassion and a love for nature. This is also reflected in her colourful illustrations. 

Pili has always been a vivid dreamer with a wild imagination, so she developed her own style to visualise this on paper. She always liked drawing, but after doing some workshops while living in the Philippines and Mongolia, Pili got more serious about this hobby and bought her own materials and started experimenting more. Creating art and spending time in nature have been the last beacons of light in the darkest times. When Pili could put herself to paint something new, the creation process was the only thing that would bring joy or at least a sense of calm. She has been committing herself to set aside more time for this because she realised how valuable it is to her and what her art meant to other people. 

Pili views art as a way to bring people from different backgrounds together and to share the joy of using your imagination. She organised several collaborative art projects through workshops – in which putting together the paintings of 20+ participants resulted in fantastic and original artworks with countless different styles and tools. This was an excellent activity to do with friends or strangers, even those who usually do not paint or draw seemed to really enjoy it!

During the pandemic, Pili spent a few months working from a casita on the desert countryside of Spain – and was invited to exhibit and present her artworks at jazz concerts organised in a botanical garden of Nijar. While living in Antwerp, she was invited to exhibit her art alongside the works of 22 other upcoming artists during the Kunstgrillen art expo weekend with live music and workshops.

 Their favourite medium became the postcard, through which they send their art to different corners of the world. Working in layers and using a combination of watercolours, ink, gouache, gel pens and acrylic markers, enables them to create many details and colour variations, even if the illustrations themselves are relatively small. Sometimes people say they would like to see bigger works of art created, but until they find the appropriate space and time to do so, Pili just invites you to look closely. 

Artist Statement: A painting becomes an illustration when it tells a story. I have always been a vivid dreamer with a wild imagination, so I am trying to translate this to paper. Through my paintings I try to show the extraordinary in landscapes and people’s stories, and focus on nature and magic. Pili’s collection includes illustrations inspired by their own fantasy, dreams, nature, as well as myths and legends from various cultures. This symbolises the shared human experience of wonder and curiosity of the world around us.

Artwork Gallery (Click images to enlarge)

Artwork Below may be Different from what is Shown at the Exhibit