Interview: Robin Blažek
Luca Curci talks with Robin Blažek during LONDON CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 2021, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
My name is Robin Blažek. I was born in a very little town called Vsetin in Czech Republic, but I have been living in Brno for 7 years now. I am 26 years old and I am a freelance artist. Since I was a little child, I have had a strong relationship with the process of creating. That never went away as it will always be in my nature. I have carried that throughout everything, until I realized that is something I have always aspired my life to be devoted to. Before I took the art road, I got a masters degree in education and counselling studies at Masaryk University, with the idea of becoming a psychotherapist. My career as an artist started in portraits when I was 20 as an essential part of psychohygiene. No people in particular, just random portraits that I painted from my mind. By this I wanted to evoke deep, structurally engrained emotions. This led to the collection of portraits I called‚ Midnight Sobs‘. From that I moved to a completely different realm that is abstract art. In the light of the coronavirus situation, my ways of creating completely changed and art became more so a priority. Therefore, to my surprise, I found a beautiful, personal and profound way of exploring artistic perspective with the concept that is reminded of skies, clouds, and steams. All of my paintings are results of the combination of my lifelong love for painting and the undying need to tell peoples stories as well as mine. I do believe that my paintings are projections of my own mind, which spectators have access into through my art.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Robin Blazek – What actually brought me to painting professionally was a lot of fortunate events happening at once. I dreamed of becoming an artist since I remember life, but never had enough confidence, until I started sharing my artworks more on social media. People started to get very curious about what I had to say through my art and believed in what I was doing. Then I had an opportunity to create a painting for quite an important client, an actor, and the painting I made for him caught attention of an art curator from Milan, they offered me a participation in their exhibition. That really pushed me and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue art. I feel very fortunate to have been given all the opportunities and I am fully aware of how social media and internet has helped me so far in my career.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you
RB – I still feel very overwhelmed by these kind of questions as making each painting is quite different. Sometimes the idea comes so quickly, that I have no time to go through some kind of preparation or a ritual. But what is the most common for me is that I want all my paintings to have some story, I feel that my painting would not mean anything if they didn’t have any message, a purpose or a memory. So often I try to think about the concept first, then I try to mix some colors to find out which ones I suitable. Sometimes, even though I hate saying it, I am waiting for something to come to me, a muse or whatever. It might take hours, sometimes it takes days. But eventually when I get to the canvas and lift up a brush, then it’s just fireworks.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
RB – There are definitely some. I am a huge fan of psychology, I actually at one point in my life wanted to become a psychotherapist. I don’t know what I am going to follow in the future, but right now I pursue psychologic phenomenons, I am inspired by human emotional spectrum, as well as human reactions, behavioral patterns, pathological disorders etc. I think it is because it has been a crucial part of how I have been translating the world to myself for such a long time, it works for my art as well. I feel then the paintings have these complex stories, reality based stories, which are vulnerable and touching. Painting itself has had such a therapeutic value for me as a person, and I guess I want to pass that value on.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
RB – Most of the time, I would say it is more reasoned that instinctive. A lot of the process is definitely instinct driven, after all I focus on abstract art, which itself is pretty random. But the subjects of the paintings are selected, or the broad idea of it is. And then how the painting is being made, the subject and the idea crystalize. Basically I start with only one idea, and as the painting process goes on, I am getting nearer and nearer to the specific stories, and when I get to it, then I can feel when the painting can be finished. If I don’t feel the painting is doing the subject a justice, it is far from completed. I read psychological books from Freud, Frankl etc., I read therapeutical blogs, researches on matters I am interested in. My latest painting is inspired by the research on adult relationship attachments pattern of people who had some kind of a trauma as children. But don’t think I am so ‘academic’ all the time, many times it takes only a human interaction or observation to choose a subject. I also try not to push my ideas into other peoples heads. I feel as we as artist should let people think what they think about the painting and see whatever they see in it. It should be natural.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
RB – Completely ecstatic. Not in the sense in which I am jumping to the roof, but more calm and content feeling. Most of the times, after completing an artwork, you can find me chilling next to or in front of it, then I feel like meeting it for the first time, like ‘hey, so it’s you’. As I get older and while becoming a professional painter, I learned to not be scared of showing my art, because then I am showing myself. So I guess after completing an artwork I feel confident. Not cocky, but feeling the self confidence I lacked for so much of my life. That’s one of the reasons I realized that this is what I want to do in my life. Finishing a painting now is definitely different to finishing it when I was 15.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the
RB – Yes, I completely agree and it was one of the things what pushed me to agree on cooperating with you. I felt from the beginning that it would be challenging for me to follow the theme of the festival, as I try to avoid social and cultural settings a little, and my paintings are having more of an emotional/personal value. But I feel as I tried my best to accommodate my art to the festivals theme and I couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
RB – The painting exhibited in London was made in 2021 and I called it ICE PRINCE. It is more of instrument of retrospective outlook, which definitely has become a trend for me for the exhibitions. The painting reflects a phenomenon that psychology calls‚ hyper independence‘ which is often described as a response to a past conflict or a trauma. I don’t need anybody‘ or‚ I’ll just do it myself’ or even ‚ I don’t need anyones help‘. Psychologists explain this as a situation when one’s ability to trust has been injured by other people systematically failing one’s expectations. I basically wanted to touch on the theme, which I guess happened to a lot of people. When you are failed by a person in a relationship so hard, you just appear to change without not even knowing. I feel as though American rom coms make it seems a little vague, but it is actually a very deep cut that needs to be healed properly and I guess I wanted to focus on that.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RB – Absolutely. I felt very fortunate at what seems to be the beginning of my career to be asked to participate in the London exhibition. The curators and the whole ITSLIQUID group has made sure to make me feel so welcome in the art world and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it, even though I couldn’t make it to visit London personally. So thank you.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
RB – Well my idea is, that The Group connects artists and their work with the whole world. We are talking about an international company, which helps people like me to become something they have always dreamed of. They manage so many things at one, and speaking for myself, it has been a huge opportunity and I am happy that such a huge company saw something in my paintings that is worth being exhibited internationally. The idea of fluidity and connection that ITSLIQUID is based on, among other things, just spoke to me, because those are ideas I try to follow in my art as well.