Darren Polanski, BFA '01 | Painting

“Creative thinkers are innovators, and can apply themselves to industries outside of the traditional art world.”

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AUArts: Who is Darren? 

Darren Polanski: I’m an architect and designer – I create spaces and experiences.

AUArts: What have you been up to since graduating from AUArts (ACAD)? 

Polanski: I graduated AUArts as a painter, worked as a graphic designer for two years, then attended University of Calgary for four years and received a Masters of Architecture. I have been designing architecture for over thirteen years, and a licensed architect for about eight years.

AUArts: What do you consider your greatest achievement or accomplishment so far?  

Polanski: I have many achievements I am proud of. I have worked on several award-winning architecture projects including the Green Line LRT Expansion, many unique houses (including my own), multi-residential projects, and civic projects. I am currently directing a project in one of the most prominent and active urban locations in Canada – at the base of the CN Tower.


Photo provided by Darren Polanski

AUArts: What setbacks have you had along the way and what did you learn from them? 

Polanski: I have encountered many people who will resist unconventional propositions and become obstructionists. I have learned how to overcome these situations through assessing the context, identifying the real issues, and proposing solutions.

AUArts: How have you been challenged to see the world differently?

Polanski: Every project has a unique set of constraints. I allow the solutions for these obstacles drive the creativity and inform results. I have ultimately learned to embrace constraints as a driver in my design process, and other aspects of life.


Photo provided by Darren Polanski

AUArts: In your opinion, why is art, craft, design, and creativity in general, so important to the world today and our future?

Polanski: The world needs people who think in a non-linear manner and to propose solutions to problems that have yet to occur. Creative thinkers are innovators, and can apply themselves to industries outside of the traditional art world.

AUArts: What inspires and motivates you? 

Polanski: Improving the daily lives of those who experience my work. Creating inspirational spaces that reveal something special to its occupants.

AUArts: Do you have a motto or a rule of thumb you live by?

Polanski: Anything worth doing will require effort and thought.


Photo provided by Darren Polanski

AUArts: What media are you into right now? (a specific book/podcast/film/art, etc.)?

Polanski: Music has really been a foundation of my everyday life. I feel compelled to listen to all the music I have yet to hear.

AUArts: When and where were/are you happiest?

Polanski: I’m happiest every day at around 6:30am. I think about what I can accomplish that day while eating breakfast.

AUArts: What would you like to be remembered for? 

Polanski: Not necessarily through architecture but creating and contributing to making a positive impact on people's lives.


Photo provided by Darren Polanski

AUArts: Any advice for recent AUArts graduates who are just starting out?

Polanski: Don’t limit yourself to a preconceived notion of what an “artist” is. Explore opposite directions, and experiment with conventions.

AUArts: What’s next for Darren?

Polanski: Thinking about ways I can apply my skills outside of the architecture realm, and how I can participate in shaping a post-COVID world. I’m putting myself outside of my comfort zone by developing aspects of my personality that will best serve these purposes.


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