Chemistry & Biochemistry

Klaudia Poplawski '22 is among the most prolific and in-demand artists on campus. She'd be happy to design your next wall covering, or logo, or album cover... once she's finished with her biochemistry homework.

Klaudia has always loved solving puzzles. It's the thrill of chasing clues in pursuit of an answer that led her, initially, to forensics science. More recently, Klaudia changed puzzles from crime scenes to cancer. The biochemistry major is specifically interested in cell biology and intends to pursue a career in cancer cell research. The field demands fierce concentration, and to recharge or refresh, Klaudia needs an escape. She found her sanctuary in art, and you can find her artwork all over campus. 

"Science is a specific set of calculations and observations. But while I'm doing art, I don't think. I shut my brain off, and I let whatever happens, happen. I listen to music and block everything else out and just paint what I'm feeling. I use a lot of very vibrant colors in my artwork."

Klaudia's parents both immigrated to the United States from Poland, and while neither work professionally as artists, they both have a talent they passed along to their daughter. Klaudia's dad often sat her down at the kitchen table and taught basic principles of drawing. Her whole life she's being painting and creating, even if the other half of her brain won the tug-of-war over her major and career path. For years, Klaudia's art was her hobby; only recently did it become a source of income. 

Br. Tito's office mural by Klaudia
Klaudia's mural in Fr. Tito's office.

Klaudia started posting her artwork to her Instagram @modernklaudmonet. Friends took notice, and they started commissioning projects. For $10 an hour plus cost of supplies, she's painted a little bit of everything from clothes to skateboards to walls. In fact, she recently completed (except for the final touches) a mural in Fr. Tito's office. Klaudia knows she's underselling her work, but...

"We're in college. We can barely afford our textbooks. I want to make art more available for everyone."

Under the supervision of Scott Foster, M.F.A, associate professor of creative arts, Klaudia and Connor Rock '21 created a mural that will soon be placed outside of Foy Hall. Klaudia did have a basic design professor who tried to convince her to double major and formalize her art education. Klaudia, though, doesn't want to be graded for her art... she just wants to use it to escape and to add more color to campus.

“Art to me is an escape from being trapped by specific rules I have to follow with calculations and theories in my field. It allows me to release creative energy and turn off my brain. To share my artwork with the Siena community is a big deal for me because it is always something I have been proud of, and I feel I do have a unique style that many in my age group seem to enjoy.”

Klaudia Poplawski '22

"I love the work she’s done on the mural. When I asked her to do it, I told her I wanted it to be colorful and to include some Puerto Rican symbols. Besides that she had free reign and she has not disappointed.

I love that she was inspired to do a mandala and it coincidentally works with the fact that there is a mandala on the bottom of my new skateboard. It’s a spiritual symbol that allows for the creativity of the individual to shine." 

Fr. Tito Serrano, O.F.M.