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AS IS | Adam Kašpar


From Svitavy, Czechia

Based in Jeseník Mountains, Czechia

Adam is one of the most prominent Czech realists. His paintings capture magic of the Czech landscape - the interiors of untouched woods and primeval forests, mountains, and fields - his travel memories, or the starry sky. Adam's practice is as artistic as it is spiritual, as he reflects his belief that nature is an all-encompassing sentient existence in his works

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?

AD: I studied the Academy of Fine Arts under Martin Mainer. I work with classical painting, my practice is based on my liking of various kinds of painterly realism, from the Renaissance to the modern day. I’ve always had a strong connection to nature; I was interested in natural sciences and I used to think I would in the end work in them. Eventually I realised that my tool for discovering nature has always been drawing or painting, that art helps me connect with the earth and understand it on a deeper level. In the end, I try to connect fine arts and the estranged worlds of natural sciences in my work and make them interact - in a painterly way.

A: What inspires you the most?

AD: The Earth and Heavens. The world as it is and especially the places minimally affected by humanity. I am intrigued by the wilderness, on any scale - rainforests or soil microfauna. I am interested in the Earth itself, this enormous ancient existence I try to probe with all means available to me. That means rationally (science) and irrationally (art). And if I am to be specific - I find inspiration in the sunrise above Kralický Sněžník, wild bushes by a road, tiny springtails in a peeled bark, dynamically folded rock…

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?

AD: Absolutely - for example morning tea drank somewhere outside. I take my camping dining set with me to gorges and thickets, watch the sun rise, think - or not - and enjoy existence.

A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

AD: That depends on their intentions. Do they want to make art as a weekend hobby or are they ready to fully commit to it and do it on a professional level? If it’s the latter, there’s probably nothing better to do than surrendering to it. When I was starting out with work, I would make two or three paintings every day. I wasn’t interested in anything else. There is no tutorial and the only thing that will bear fruits (in the form of good quality work) is perseverance. There are no shortcuts.

A: Your top 3 phrases/words related to art?

AD: If I were to sum up the qualities I always admire in a work of art, it would be simplicity, monumentality, and peace.

A: Do you have favorite Czech artists?

AD: Yes, for example, I am very fond of Veronika Holcová’s painting practice. Her rather inward-looking approach to the landscape that is in fact close to my heart as well, I just chose a different painterly attitude. From the opposite end of the scale of painterly attitude I like Miro Polách’s canvases. His craftsmanship is incredible, yet his works don’t lack liveliness to them. From other painters, Jan Knap definitely belongs on this list (exactly for his simplicity), actually the whole group Normal. And from the artists of the past - there would be many, so at least I’ll mention the most significant ones: Váchal, Kupka, Kaván, and Mařák…

A: Is there a piece of art that you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?

AD: There isn’t. If I chose one, it would lead to generalisation which I am not very fond of.

A: The perfect way to connect through art is: …?

AD: The best way to talk about art is in front of art and ideally after a quiet moment of observation. And that’s where the discussion can begin - what even is perception, how does everyone perceive the world, and how do we tell others? That’s an experience anyone can relate to and art, or painting, is exactly about that and nothing else.

A: Where can we meet you most often?

AD: Either in my studio or somewhere in plein air, or wandering. I am painting the primeval forests of Šumava at the moment. Those are the places I like to spend most of my time, though I am the happiest when I find quiet there to think and work, so I’d rather not meet anyone…

A: Do you have a motto or an idea that’s guided you in life?

AD: I don’t have a motto. In terms of some overarching ideas, there would be more than one, but one of the most essential ones for me is the idea of Earth as a sort of a sentient existence. In the spiritual and even scientific way (Lovelock and his Gaia hypothesis). That’s something I keep coming back to that forms my worldview.

Thank you!

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