What gives you inspiration or motivates you to create art?
What motivates me to create art is to be active in my personal growth and in some ways self-worth. I like to challenge myself and find creative ways to express myself and in this process find answers, answers that we are all searching in some ways; for me its who I am and what I am doing here and how to understand the process that we call life.
I am inspired by changes in time and how they affect us/me. I am inspired by nature and its processes as well as how it relates to me and makes me feel. Painting with clay gives me the ability to feel closer to it , to feel connected to it on a universal level.
Tell us about your first art show or first painting you sold. How did it make you feel?
My first show and the word I sold there was not a painting but a bong. Yes, 6 foot bong (non-functional) but very representational and Pup bought it. Pup McCarty to be more specific (aka McCarty’s pottery). Lee McCarty had a huge influence on me as a student at Delta State University. I wanted to be an architect/interior designer and meeting him changed all that. I realized I could be an artist like him and express my creativity in a more personal way. His wife buying my work – pretty much sealed it for me.
Tell us what your are working on now?
I currently opened myself to commissions. I recently left my teaching job at Ole Miss and went after my dream of being an artist. Commission painting helps me make ends meet but in the background I am working on series of paintings for my upcoming solo show in Chicago. It is titled migrations, or something along the lines of moving from one place to another or dreaming to going to places of back to where I came from. They are self portraits and my interpretation about a subject that has been on my mind ever since I was a child. I’ve moved around quite a bit and the idea of where is my home where do I belong is something I think about a lot.
Tell us about where you born and how it influences your work today?
I was born and raised in former Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). It has a huge influence on my art; I try to express the longing I still have for that place and how it feels. I remember it through the eyes of a child so it has a fairy tale quality to it. The culture is rich in folklore and legends so that certainly adds to my imagination.
Who is your favorite artist, art role model and art teacher?
Favorite Artist: I am a huge fan of Rembrandt and his documentation of self I remember sitting in my art history class and hearing about his self-portraits and how if lined up one could see the time passing. That struck a cord with me. I didnt start my painting until several years after but that lecture was where I started my work. Also his style, movement and chiaroscuro technique is something that has a huge influence on me
Art Role Model: Andy Goldsworthy. I love his innovative approach to art through the use of raw natural resources. I feel that my approach to clay painting is similar to his – discovery of the style/technique and constant development of it.
Art teacher: Marcella Small who was my ceramics prof at Delta State. Not only did she believe in me and encouraged my art but had a huge influence on my personal development and realization of me and things around me.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Being an artist is a tough field to be in, one has to move the viewer with his or her work to be successful. It is an intimidating place to be especially if one is an analyzer. I recently took a self-development workshop that re-programmed my way of thinking. To put it simply … Dream – Declare – Deliver … and universe will take care of the rest.
What music do you listen to while painting or creating?
Music has a huge influence in my life … I have my driving music, my running music and my art music. Art Music – classical (Vivaldi is my favorite) and then chill and new age mixture.
How do you describe your work/style? Why Clay?
I push myself to use an untraditional (although oldest – cave painting) medium and paint in a mixture of photorealism and baroque style. Why clay? Why not! I always look for ways to be different – to do something that sets me apart from others and also, do something that is challenging and never done before. Clay gives me that.
What do you hope others see in your work?
I want people to be able to identify themselves and be able to connect with it – we all come from the same place and go to the same place and I paint with a medium that binds us together.
What is your favorite piece of art that you have created?
I dont have one … its like asking a mother who is her favorite child.
Is there any particular location that gives you inspiration?
Up until recently I worked in a room in my house – not much of a view and due to my working situation – I could only paint in the evenings. I would turn on my music and just get lost in what was happening in front of me. I dont need a beautiful place to work – I work from photographs that I capture. Recently I started working in Telluride in a gallery with a gorgeous view and honestly — its very distracting watching the seasons change.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
There has been so many but the one that I am living through now is to live in the NOW. Try not to think about yesterday or tomorrow but appreciate the moment I am in.
What artwork do you have on your walls?
NONE! I am kinda living out of my car!!!!
What do you love most about being an artist?
I love the freedom of doing what I want when I want and how I want – my work being an extension of me and being able to see it not just be it.
What artist’s work or piece of work would you possess if you could have your choice of any piece of art in the world?
Rembrandt – anything … and Nike of Samothrace. I love what it symbolizes and I am partially named after her. I saw her when I was 7 and something clicked; didnt want to leave.
Where is the most interesting place you have traveled or lived, and why?
My homeland – Slovakia. I love that for the most part it is still as I remember it and that it is not overrun by tourists. There are places that when there, I have to visit just to get that deja vu feeling, there is a certain indescribable magic there and still so many places to discover.