15 questions with Marta Maczkowska

Marta leads our innovation communications, helping us show the world how we’re pushing boundaries in the paints and coatings industry. This is what Operation Night Watch is all about: solving mysteries of the past to discover applications for the future.

The experts behind Operation Night Watch are hard at work discovering everything they can about Rembrandt’s most famous painting and what applications there might be to our modern life. Meet Marta Maczkowska, Global Communications Manager Innovation at AkzoNobel.


1. Describe yourself in three words.

Driven, connecting, creative

2. What’s your favorite color and why?

Colors play a big role in my life and the choice always depends on the surface in question –whether it’s clothes, interiors or other specific items. If I need to choose one regardless of the context, then it will be red because it evokes strong emotions. You can’t be neutral near red!

3. When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?

I like hanging out with my family and friends, preferably in an interesting and active way. I love traveling, discovering new places or rediscovering old ones. Alas, that isn’t easy nowadays, so I’ve been focusing on other hobbies like portrait photography and my recently discovered new passion for interior decoration.

4. Tell us one thing you’re excited for in 2021.

Is it wishful thinking to say: I hope traveling will be easier again?

5. What’s your most prized possession?

My photo camera and all the photos taken throughout many years.

6. What are your hidden talents?

They are hidden, so I can’t share them.

7. What do you do as the Global Communications Manager Innovation at AkzoNobel?

Working in communications is largely about making connections and turning company developments into engaging stories. At AkzoNobel, I’m responsible for the global communications agenda on innovation. I work closely with the research and development teams and the communications team to understand our innovations and turn them into compelling stories and communication campaigns.

8. How do you find working on Operation Night Watch?

Communicating about AkzoNobel’s color and technology expertise in reference to one of the world’s biggest art masterpieces is truly invigorating. Being an art lover myself, I feel privileged to be part of a project of such great significance for the art world.

9. How would you describe The Night Watch in one word?


10. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by great colleagues who are fun to work with. I really enjoy the topic of innovation and playing a key role in building the Paint the Future collaborative innovation ecosystem. I like turning complex technology innovations into engaging stories. While it may seem a simple task, most of the time it takes a decent brain exercise to first understand and then translate scientific techy language into “key messages”!

11. Which character, detail or aspect of The Night Watch interests you the most?

I’m fascinated by the light in The Night Watch, the dramatic play with shadows and light spots. Most characters seem to be emerging from a dark gateway into the light, while the girl is bathed in light for some reason.

12. In your opinion, what would Rembrandt think of Operation Night Watch?

I think he would be proud to know that centuries later his Night Watch continues to fascinate us. He would probably have trouble understanding the modern tools and techniques used to carry out the investigation and conservation of his work. He would probably be amused about how much effort we put in understanding his impasto technique, while he could have just easily shown us how he does it.

13. If you were given a chance to time travel, when would you go and why?

I love this question! Without any doubt, if I were given a chance to time travel, I would travel back to the turn of the 20th century and have a chance to live and breathe La Belle Époque, in Paris of course. This was when my favorite art movement was born – Art Nouveau – fusing arts, fashion, architecture and technological innovation into one grown whole.

14. What motivates you the most?

The desire to have an impact, make a positive difference.

15. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To look at possibilities, not limitations.

How do you go about restoring one of the world’s most famous paintings?

We asked some of the experts involved in Operation Night Watch to explain what will happen now our historic partnership with the Rijksmuseum is underway.

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