Interview for ‘Consumed’ Book

In summer 2016 New York based photographer Jason Mickle visited Prague to shoot a portrait of me in my studio for his book called Consumed.

Consumed is a 3 part book series concentrating on the established, emerging and alternative artist. This is an international project for which Jason travels the globe in search of compelling subjects who are both known and unknown. Many photographers have made a specialty of artists’ portraits. Some directed their focus on the artists’ personality, others observed artists and their works in their workspaces. His imagery aspires to enunciate how artists become consumed by the artistic process, and puts forward the idea that the artist’s life is one with the creative process.

Each artists portrait will be accompanied by an interview. Here are my answer to his questions:

What attracted you to your specific discipline in the arts?

I am a painter and I was always attracted to the classic discipline. What fascinates me most on a painting is that it’s an illusion. It’s just a material applied to surface. Our brain’s typical trait is to interpret everything in a certain way, trying to assign any perception to some experience or emotion. Worlds that never physically existed can so materialize in the minds of observers. We artists have the opportunity to create such images. And images can sometimes be more intense than the reality.

When did you realize you had a gift for what you do?

Probably at the elementary school where I generally didn’t do well. But I excelled in art education. I wasn’t so successful in other subjects. But when I was creating, it was something else. As a child, I felt that I had some kind of superpowers. That I could do something that no one else could. The entire art world was magical for me. And still is to this day.

Who supported your creativity and in what ways were your interests in the arts nurtured?

My parents supported me since I was a child, even though neither of them went in for art. They signed me up to the fine arts lessons. I’ve learned there a lot. My teacher Jiří Homola was of great importance to me. He was a great man and I still remember him.

When did you decide to make your gift a profession?

I’ve been using my skills for a whole of my life, just in different areas. For a while I’d devoted my life to industrial design, then graphic design and finally illustration. But I’d felt it was not my cup of tea. With painting, I finally feel that it’s my mission and I can use whole of my potential.

What would have been your profession of choice if you were not an artist?

I guess I’d be a chef and had my own restaurant. I like cooking and do it quite often. Good food is a passion of mine. After all, painting and cooking have a lot in common. It’s also a creative activity where you can experiment. But you also need to know the craft and to be really good, you have to get to the bottom of it. The process is also similar – cooking requires constant presence and attention. And just like an artist, a chef is also waiting for how their food will be received. Taste is a highly individual matter and not even the best food can please all.

What motivates you to create?

It’s an internal stress, a fundamental need. The biggest motivation for me is the joy that I experience when I can express myself freely in my work.

Are there specific times you have felt the most and least creative?

That again relates to freedom. Freedom is not for everyone and with it comes huge responsibility. Even though I struggle with it sometimes, I tend to be least creative when I’m overwhelmed with ideas, knowing that I can make almost anything. Which, by the way, is a great gift and a curse at the same time of our generation.

I’m most creative when I stop thinking, and I get down to work. Mindlessly. It’s just about how you start. Take first tool at hand and start creating. The right path will then show very quickly.

What challenges or obstacles have you found most difficult to overcome at any time during your creative process?

Probably the most difficult was to change my mind set. For a long time, I’d devoted to another profession. And it was hard to convince my brains that from a certain point on I would be someone else and I would be a painter. Brain automatically evaluates such changes as a threat, which then results in fear and doubt. Regarding creativity that is bad.

What sacrifices have you made in the pursuit of your art as a career?

I do not feel I had to sacrifice anything. But if I had to name something after all, then would say that I am often too absorbed in my work and forget about other important things such as my girlfriend, family, friends or leisure time.

What is the most rewarding experience of completing a project?

It is the process of creation which fulfills me most. It makes me very happy to see my work being exhibited and sold. But the most important thing for me is the creating itself. The magical moment when a piece of art comes into existence and I am immersed in the process and fully present.

Do you believe artists are born or made?

Born. Each of us is born with something unique. We all have some unique gifts. Our job is to discover the gift in ourselves and present other people with it.

What is your definition of art?

I don’t like definitions and labels. It is different for everyone and that is the way it should be. If we do not try to define everything, it will force us to look at things differently, and we will have to describe them again. And that will make us use our brains, which we all needed very much.

If I had to say something about art, then that it is about truth. All artists should be honest to themselves and do what they feel compelled to do. And when working, they must feel fulfilled. It is not possible to create from different reasons.

Based on your definition of art, do you agree with people who refer to you as an “artist”?

I cannot judge that. Everyone perceives the world from their own perspective. The outside world reflects our own setting. So every single person will perceive me and my work in a different way.

Looking back in your life, is there anything you would like tell your younger self as it pertains to the pursuit of art; a piece of advice or a warning?

I would advice myself to listen to my intuition, not to what others say to me. I would say my younger self not to compete with anyone, there is no need to rush anywhere. No need to prove anything to anyone. That his main task is to get to know himself well and to be honest with himself, because that is the way how to be balanced and self-confident. And when he would reach that goal, his actions would be motivated with love, not fear. And then he could continue giving love. That is the way it should be.

Interview for a Blogger Daniel Christopher

Thanks to my Instagram account, Daniel Christopher, a blogger, contacted me a while ago and asked me a few questions about creativity. Here you can read my answers:

What types of practices/exercises changed you or led to the most rapid improvement?

The biggest shift happened when I challenged myself.  I was just starting out as a painter and wanted to find the most effective ways which I could take. I had committed myself to creating every day, always using a different technique. The results amazed me.

What is a particular skill or technique you’ve found indispensable?

For me it is drawing. It is the very base for everything. It allows you to capture quickly any idea or a vision. Even my paintings are based on drawings. When it comes to creativity itself, it works for me to think less and create more. Take the first tool that is at hand and get started. The start is crucial. Then it goes well. I get into a creative flow and just go with it.

If you could only do art for 30 minutes a day, what’s the most important thing you’d work on?

I would focus on quantity. If I was starting out and had only 30 minutes, I would try to start and finish one small thing every day. One drawing, one poem, one comic drawing, anything. Thanks to that I would have a good feeling about that fact that I can finish things, which would inspire me to do another work. I could see the progress and also get faster feedback from the audience than if I worked on one large piece.

Who is someone you’ve seen improve surprisingly quickly?

There is no such a person. Behind every progress and success there is a lot of time, learning and hard work. We all primarily learn from our mistakes. And to make mistakes and fix them takes time.

What is something that has stretched you creatively?

Time to play. Once in a while it is necessary to make time for experiments. And create without fear or expectations. Just let your hands create and be only an observer. Not afraid to easily spoil all papers or canvases. It is when you are relaxed when miracles start to happen.

Do you have any morning routines that facilitate your creative practice?

I avoid reading the news and monitoring social networks and e-mails. Instead, I remind myself of my plans, goals and visions every morning. It is very important to actively shield oneself from the barrage of information and stimuli that are attacking us in the today’s world.

What’s the most overrated exercise most artists swear by?

When I think about it, it is rather an approach than an exercise. A lot of artists focus only on production and do not give their energy to self-promotion. Most of them are convinced that it is not right, and gallery should handle the promotion and sale itself. They believe that the artist should only devote to the work itself. In past, it used to be right. But today, we live in the global and internet age. You almost do not exist if you are not online.

Do you feel like you’ve “made it” as an artist?

Success is different for everybody. I feel successful just by creating things which fulfill me and bring me balance.

Who’s someone that comes to mind as a successful artist? Why?

For example, an Australian artist, CJ Hendry is very inspiring for me. Completely unknown 3 years ago, she published her first drawing on Intragram and now has 270K followers on her account and exhibits in New York. I admire her for her dedication and desire for success. Thousands of artists create the same hyper-realistic way as she does. But she can give her work an additional value, make it attractive and back it up with a concept. On top of that, she is consistent and knows how to present her work at a highly professional level. It’s an apposite example of the fact that talent alone is not enough.