“I learned how to find beauty in the ordinary and every day, where every moment can be magical and full of life.”
Interview by Brooke Hailey Hoffert
Where do your images come from and what is your process creating these paintings?
My methodology has always involved preparation of the image in a digital form using the technique of collage, combining intuitive drawing with photographs depicting people that I encounter on my path. It usually all starts with a very strong portrait of a family member, friend, stranger in an interesting interior or exterior. I am adding objects, symbols, seemingly not related imagery during the process of developing the picture. The most important thing at this stage is creating a balanced composition. Coloring happens on the go while I am already painting and that is why the result doesn´t usually look a lot like a proposal as I am enabling the unexpected to manifest. Proposal is there only as a guidance stick which keeps me roughly on a track without falling but still gives me enough space for my imagination to fill the painting with creative inputs in the most intuitive and expressive way possible.
I start to bring more of supernatural into my most recent work. My aim is to merge seen and unseen (metaphysical) worlds together. For this reason, I have developed these characters which I call the „Spirits“ to represent another dimension to the visible reality. They portray thought forms, inner voices, invisible guides, observers, fantastical beings, whatever you want them to be. The whole point is to inspire people who look at my work to think beyond their material existence.
I am also very much inspired by Kalighat painting that originated in the 19th century in India which focused on the depiction of God and Mythological characters. Multiplying, geometry and symmetry became an important part of my work through which I would like to explore the effects of harmonized aesthetics on to the observer.
Custom wooden stretchers that I make with my limited knowledge of building support are there to enhance banner-like, raw imagery and to anchor the ethereal world that takes place on the linen. As a result, you look not only at the painting but rather a whole object that has been created by one artist. Naked to be seen in its full truth.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I was born in Kosice, Slovakia in 1985 and have been painting for 10 years now. I currently live and work in London where I also just finished 2 years painting studio programme through Turps Banana in July 2019.
My path as a painter has been a bit unconventional and oldskool if you want, considering the fact that I haven´t gone through any formal institution to be taught of art. My whole life has been a very intuitive journey so far and me getting into painting was a natural outcome of few life circumstances. After finishing my Master's degree in a different field back home, my route took me to the South of France, where I have been introduced to the world of painting thanks to 2 professional painters that gave me space and support in my early years of development. I worked part-time for one of them in the studio and so I was able to dedicate enough time to my practice on a side. I spent 5 years back and forth in between my home country and France, living in nature, learning painting, growing and becoming a committed artist myself. In 2015 my river flew into London and since then I have been a practicing painter on my own.
How do you go about naming your work?
The naming of my work usually happens after the work is finished. Sometimes while painting if it carries a strong theme. I also like hiding the clues in my Titles as through the symbolic imagery. I don´t mind if the audience misunderstands the meaning of the painting. It is open for interpretation and should give an opportunity to reflect an observer´s own ideas so they can create their connotation and narration. If you are able to get the whole picture and it´s meaning as I see it, it is like finding the answer to a riddle.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like?
I was lucky to get assigned a high-ceiling studio at Turps Banana, which allowed me to explore new different routes in my practice. It truly enriched my work and helped me to find my genuine voice among other practitioners of today. I have just moved back into my old studio in Bow Arts in London with more modest conditions. I don´t think it is going to affect my current work though. It definitely has a more cosy feel to it and because I am not sharing it with anyone else as I did at Turps, I am really looking forward to the „my kingdom almost sanctuary“ setting.
My favourite time of the day to paint is during the day rather than night. The window is usually 6 to 10 hours of painting anytime between 10am and 10pm. I like to keep it slightly changing from day to day so I don´t fall into the trap of a monotonous and uninspiring routine. Breaking the routine is like adding the right amount of spice into your food. It´s more exciting. I still like to plan my day upfront but I also enjoy being fluid and adaptable to the unexpected. There is that uplifting feeling of freedom connected to being my own boss, which is also one of the main reasons why I decided to be an artist.
I love my coffee, lunch and snack breaks, plus I have never painted a single painting without listening to music and a bit of dancing in between and so these are few things that must be present while I am working to be able to get into the zone. Groovy stuff (disco, funk, house, techno, soul, rock and blues) is my favourite, I am just getting into some classical masterpieces as well.
What inspires you to paint the themes of human life?
I learned how to find beauty in the ordinary and every day, where every moment can be magical and full of life. Hence the bright and joyful palette that I use. I believe it is our ability to be fully present in the moment that creates this rich experience which as soon as it´s gone becomes only a memory. I see this process as a collection of data. We all have our bag of data filled with bad, neutral, good experience, all valid, all recorded in our minds. They can become tools while we continue on our life paths and help us to grow and evolve. Life and consciousness fascinate me to the point that I decided to contribute to the Creation not only with my data of experience but with relatively tangible objects that are my paintings. I like to look into the far future where probably none of what we understand now as our reality will preserve, including us. It really makes me question, who we are and what is our purpose if there is any. Therefore I try to express both through my painting - ordinary aspects and metaphysical ideas of human existence. On a plus, multiple layers of paint, a variety of painting languages and different paces of an application embody the intensity, variability, diversity, physicality, and complexity of the reality we live in.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I would like to mention a few as all of them inspired me on different levels.
I loved lusciousness of what I call „fat, juicy, cakey“ application of paint on paintings of Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner. Lucidity of Katherine Bradford paintings at Campoli Presti and versatility and heroic spirit of Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
In the nearest future I´ll be one of the painters exhibiting work in a group show „Time flies like the wind, Fruit flies like bananas“ at Newington Gallery in London and I am also planning 2 persons collaborative exhibition in 2020 in London with painter Karolina Albricht that is currently enrolled in Turps Banana studio programme. There are some other possible things in the pipe for the upcoming year, but I would rather not talk about them yet as they are in the process of making.
All images are courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 21/08/19