These lovely, bright paintings by young artist Magdaléna Ševčík are as cheery as can be, and also look pretty amazing lined up together as a series, don't you think? Really happy to chat with her about her influences, her studio, and a turning point in her painting practice thanks to a studio chat one morning. More information at the links below!
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I'd love to know more about you! Where are you working out of right now?
I live and work in Brno, Czech Republic. Even though most people don’t know where the city lies, it is actually a great place to be. We joke around with friends that Brno is like Berlin many years ago (in a different universe of course haha).
Your work is often very bright and occasionally employs some geometric elements or sharp lines. Can you tell me a bit more about it?
Well, it took me awhile to get there. I’ve always been interested in pretty much everything - not only in art, but also in social sciences. Basically, I’ve wanted to understand how the world works (at least a little bit) and then bend its rules or create my own. I think that in my earlier works you can really feel this fascination with nature and its laws, later the fascination with the architecture and now with (symbolic) colors in contrast with these geometric elements.
It is not random. A while ago I realized that basically everything around us is about contrast. Not only when it comes to natural phenomena, or shapes, but also when it comes to relations. I was contemplating about this for months. Then I grasped that there has always been the contrast between me and the world that I try to capture as well. I see those sharp lines and geometric forms as elements that bind my inner world with the actual and strict reality on canvas together. So my work is always personal, deep and sometimes even uncomfortable – but ironically visually appealing.
What is your process like? Do you do research of any kind, or how do you begin?
I used to be analytical – I was often working with specific images that I knew I wanted to capture, that I knew would be visually stunning and I could relate to them. But nowadays I just let myself flow and work freely. I think that every artist has these issues that concern her/him and deal with them in artworks. I know that I do, and in resolving them I try to be as sincere as possible.
I usually start with picking colors that symbolize what’s happening inside me or around me and then I simply let ideas flow. When I paint, I guess it is a kind of my own artistic automatism.
What is your studio space or workspace like?
My studio is messy, filled with paints and canvases, and I love it! I try to paint every day. Some would say that I’m a hard worker and it might be true. Sometimes I sit and paint for hours without food or drinks, because I feel so full and overwhelmed with images in my head that I need to release on canvas. Other times I just try to find new paths, things that can push me forward and widen my artistic horizons.
Always… If I don’t pick up my phone, I’m there.
Do you have a favorite tool or object in the studio that you couldn't live without?
Yes, I do. It is this little statuette that belonged to my grandmother who was an artist too. But I never really got a chance to be with her since she died when I was three. I don’t know why, but somehow I want it around.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
I remember one "day" (really it was 11:30 in the morning and the sun was already setting) in Finland, when I was sitting in the studio with my friend, and I was really unhappy with my work that I just did. Somehow I felt that it wasn’t me, that I was just trying to make it this way to get an A… and then I remember her saying: ‘Always be honest in what you paint.’ I needed to hear that. Ten minutes later I threw that piece away and made something better.
This simple advice still resonates in me. Art is subjective in so many ways… but universally you have to believe in what you do and love it. If you don’t, nobody will.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about pursuing art, either creatively or professionally? How do you or have you handle(d) that?
To shut that annoying voice inside of your head that says "this is crap” – that might be really challenging sometimes. Especially when you’re young and you’re still finding yourself. For me, personally, it was very hard for years to really shut it up… since for many reasons I’ve decided to be mostly self-taught and I haven’t had any institution behind my back to promote my art. But it is also exciting to be on your own and organically push your art forward.
I focus on that. I don’t handle it perfectly, but I try.
How would you define "success?"¨
Honestly? This is hard to define. If I was joking and let the material girl inside of me speak, I’d say ‘When I don’t have to think about how much canvas and paints I can buy without ruining my account.' But if I was being serious, I’d say that success is, for me, that moment when you make someone fall in love with your art.
What do you think you need most as an artist to reach this success?
I think that I need that honesty to be myself, that I was mentioning before. People need something to relate to.
What are you working on right now?
I have a new series in my head. The last one (Colliding planets) is pretty much finished for me. Soon you will see a few new pieces...
Anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank you for this – for what you’re doing for young artists. Well done!
Find more on Instagram @magsevcikgallery!
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