Lucia Horvátová

Lucia Horvátová

Tell me a bit about yourself! You're from Slovakia and currently studying for your Masters in Bratislava? Can you tell me a bit more about your art education, and what first interested you in painting?

I am from small town, Zlaté Moravce, in western Slovakia, 100 kilometers from Bratislava, but I currently live and study in Bratislava.

My first interest in painting was in my very early childhood, ever since I first drew or painted. Also in my childhood, maybe when I was 5 or 6 years old, I wanted to be a painter, and later I wanted to be a fashion designer. I studied fashion design at secondary school, but I didn't find it to be the best path for me. I disliked working on schemes and technology, and there was less space for creativity than I expected. Finally I understood that design is not the best way for me, and I wanted to do art, because it is more free. Each technology linked to painting I do automatically, and I feel totally free.

I studied for my Bachelors degree in Painting at Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, in the middle of the Slovakia, class of Dr. Štefan Balázs, ArtD , and one semester in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  After those studies, I broke away from school for two years, and I had studio space in Bratislava, and was also in residence program in Belgium. These two years were like self-study for me; it was very helpful, because I lived and worked in a studio with professionally-studied and earning artists, and I tried the the same lifestyle with managing own art career. From this moment I knew what should I be focusing in my studies on, so now I am pursuing a Masters degree in Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, in the class of professor Ivan Csudai, a famous Slovak painter.  

What do you like most about painting as a medium?

I love painting. Painting is the best medium. It has many options, and endless space for the process of searching for new forms -- that is what I love about it. Also, I like works by other artists using other mediums, and combinations of mediums. But I do painting only, because I can‘t deplete it. I love working with color areas, combinations of colors, psychology of colors, and shapes. I love to combine numerous styles on one canvas, such as geometry, realistic, expressive, etc.

Can you explain a bit more about your work? 

My paintings show abstract spaces. These are not inspired by any specific places, but visual form of immaterial, mental, metaphoric spaces of the personal, the inside. It is a study of psyche and the relationship between the interior and exterior environment of humans. I am seeking to show depth. I imagine there a crystalline mass, or motive of crystals -- minerals as symbols of personal growing. They are lifeless, but act organically, and need specific environmental conditions efor the process of crystallization. The viewer can sense them to be trivial, or also valuable. They reflect soul, and the mind...

What is your process like? Where do you find inspiration or the imagery for your work? How long does a painting take you to complete?

When I work on a canvas, usually inspiration for others comes. I work for a long time with one topic, and when I paint and wonder about my painting, I usually come up with some more new ideas really easily.

I prefer big formats. I usually work for 2 – 3 weeks on one big format canvas (2 meters), or for several days on a small one. I use acrylic colors, because I work with lot of layers and every time I have to wait for it to dry. I use a lot of tape around areas in my paintings to make the surfaces of the color layers more consistent. When I paint, I have more palettes around me, for example, four or five of them. Also, for water, I don‘t use a cup, but a bucket. I always set aside enough time and materials, so I don’t need to worry about anything and can work with a confident feeling.

What is your studio space like?

For quite a while during my two years' break between school, I had a studio space in Cvernovka, in Bratislava. Cvernovka had a very nice old factory building, where threads were produced during the Communist history. Until recently, it was the creative center in this building. Lot of painters, architects, designers, and similar people rented studio spaces there. We lived there as a community. I had a studio with 3 other artists; we had more rooms, like in a flat, and we lived there. It was very similar to a squat, but we paid the rent and were taking care of the place. We had good light from big windows, and we lived in the city center.

In the end, a developer came, and everybody had to move out. Some great people initiated moving the entire creative community to a new building. I really like the project with the new building, and have my fingers crossed for them, but my boyfriend and I did not continued with them, because I started my Masters degree, where I got a great studio space. For a month during the summer I worked on a big canvas in the kitchen in my grandmother's house, who has died last year. I moved furniture, and had a good place. I was painting there every day from morning to evening, and one night I had a dream about my grandmother cooking there.

Now I am in a studio at university, on the second floor, where we have windows at the same height as the treetops in the square. My workplace is next to a beautiful, antique fireplace. I paint big canvases on the white wall; I love it, because it is really great to see it on a clean wall, a little bit similar to gallery. I can imagine some similar space in a place of my own in the future.

What is the best advice you have received?

Do it as freely as you enjoy!

Is there anything that you consider particularly challenging about pursuing art seriously, or anything you're concerned about once you graduate?

To be an artist means to do more professions than only working in the studio. You have to manage your exhibitions, logistics, transport of your canvas to and from exhibitions and all other projects, operating a warehouse with your artworks, and also selling your works -- if you don‘t have a good gallerist, or even if you have one, you might have to do it anyway. And if you don‘t have enough money, you need another job to make it. It is a lot of things to be concerned with. But I can‘t feel happy doing another kind of work. I believe that when I do art properly, and I have specific plans of my work and career in the future, I don‘t have to be worried. I am on the right path.

What is the most rewarding aspect of pursuing your art practice?

I do what I love. I am my own boss in what I do. Loving every moment when I can be in the studio, and just working on painting, and I don’t need to transport any material or artworks anywhere.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or other projects?

I have an exhibition in Prague, Czech Republic, together with an excellent Slovak painter and my boyfriend, Marek Jarotta, from 9th January 2017 in the Gallery Prokopka [runs through 4 February]. I have also prepared a project for solo exhibition with a great curator and my good friend Marianna Brinzová, but we are still looking for a good exhibition place with a clean space for big canvases.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you very much for sharing this article, and also big thanks to everyone, who watches, or supports my artwork. And that I have the best sister in the world, of course.

Find more at luciahorvatova.com, on Instagram @luciahorvatova, and on Facebook!

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