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The Hull Hub Chats with Maniuko

The man, The Myth, The legend.

What is your name?

It shows Marek Lesiak on my passport, but I would rather be known as ManiuKO, a nickname I’ve had since my teenage years that has a funny story attached to it.

What do you do?

I share energy via visual art mainly creating murals/graffiti/street art, but as comfort zone stretcher, don’t limit myself. I have already spray painted a few cars, created book cover, book illustrations, designed few logos, did some drawings of portraits, caricatures and other using pencils, markers, ballpoint pen, oil paint (dry brush technique), canvases with acrylics. Now I’ve started working on other skills and digitally, but won’t reveal it at this stage yet.

How long have you done it for?

Apparently I was showing some talent already in nursery, but talent without practising skills becomes nothing. I jumped back on that wagon in 2016, but it was May 2018, when I created my first mural of a shielded elephant, a pivotal point and time when it really started.

What did you use to do or have done?

Back in Poland after high school I studied at Uni for 2 years, but decided it wasn’t for me, so gave it up and threw myself into deep water. I missed and landed on an island, precisely speaking in Kingston upon Hull. I Worked in various places at different positions, from a slave in a meat factory, a greenhouse, warehouseman (still doing it) to line leader. Determined and pumped up with confidence I actually melted into mediocrity and hit an absolute rock bottom of my life. It was never a failure, but a tough lesson. My family and rediscovering my passion helped me out a lot.

What did you want to be growing up?

Haha. Good one. A policeman. I Would probably be chasing some graffiti writers I know today. (Glad it will never happen). Or A football player, so not really genuine on these two. Later I just wanted to be a good man, earn a million and create an advert available to a whole world promoting good. Silly isn’t it? Still doable. Might just keep that million…

What inspired you to do this job, profession?

In 1997 on school trip, we were going on the train through Warsaw at night. Listening to Hip-hop on my walkman I admired all the graffiti we were passing by. It just clicked then, but I didn’t do anything about it. In 2018 my lovely wife encouraged me to go for it and I did. This is my passion and I love doing it. It’s my way of communicating as well. Drive and unlimited possibility of creating, bringing joy and passing energy on to the walls is major inspiration. I just want to do what I love.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Sometimes I can sit in front of the paper for 40 minutes and not draw a line. Those kind of days are self doubt moments.

What is your favourite part of the city?

Obviously the one with legal walls to paint. I do like all west Hull villages, which is so different to east, north and town centre. In overall Hull is dull and I’d love to change it by painting big walls here and there.

Where is your favourite place to eat, go out?

To eat it’s definitely my home. Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver are not as good as my wifes cooking. Outside it will be kurdish food. Don’t go out too often, so no favourite places here.

What is your favourite sport?

I Used to like basketball, but overall football would be the main one. Since I started painting I have gradually lost interest even in football as I shifted focus into my passion.

Do you support local teams?

Not really. I have painted a robin on a wall in East Hull once which sparkled some local discussions, but that was coincidental as I’m not into rugby and did that there for a different reason.

Do you have any hobbies, if so, what are they?

Painting is my hobby and I’m currently in transition to make it full-time. I also like wood, I can build or make something of it from time to time.

Are you reading any books at he moment, if so what?

I Need to re-read two that made a massive impact on me, but because of lack of self discipline and consistency I want to come back to them. Its “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod and “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. I Highly recommend if you want to change your life for the better and be happier.

What is your favourite film/music?

There are so many good films, we could fill this page in. From the ones I can remember at this moment it’s “The Sunchaser”, “Shawshank Redemption”, “Forest Gump”, “The Pursuit of Happiness”, “Rocky”. From music it will be mainly Hip-hop (mainly 90’s and early 00’s), but I can listen to classical, jazz, rock (definitely Iron Maiden) metal, reggae, techno, house, trance, d&b and many more.

What is your most treasured possesion?

100% my family. My wife, daughters and our dog. This is my foundation.

How did you celebrate your last special occasion/event?

I’m rubbish at celebrating. I Need to work on it to make it actually more special for the ones involved.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

I can see more than you think. More than I’m capable to handle sometimes. Something I never asked for and don’t know exactly how to use it. It’s quite often scary. That’s all I can say.

If you can pass on piece of advice, what would it be?

Name your fears and befriend them. Find out what makes you happy and start doing it. Be good to others. Don’t listen to others opinions about you, as no one knows you better than yourself. You deserve good, but don’t take it for granted.

Whats your favourite quote?

“Your fate is in your hands”. #iCANdoIT

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