From Vimperk, South Bohemia region, Czechia
Based in Prague, often travels to the North of Bohemia, Czechia
We talked with incredible František Jungvirt about his passion for glass, ways to look at art, the Czech art scene, places to explore, and more
Photo credit: Katarína Hudačinová
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?
F: I am a glass artist, designer, and painter of glass. I am currently finishing my Master's studies at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague, at Rony Plesl's glass studio. I found my way to glass and art during my high school studies in Třeboň (South Bohemia region), although at first, it was more craft than art. I learned to paint glass there and working with the material excited me. In my free time, I'd visit more glass-making workshops where I was able to learn more techniques. I moved on to design and art studies at the Academy in Prague. These days I design glass pieces, paint, create limited editions, design products for my own portfolio as well as brands and other clients. Apart from design, I like to create free objects and glass installations.
A: What inspires you the most?
F: I am inspired by nature, local glass traditions, colors, properties of glass, as well as fashion and architecture, contemporary fine art, and its approaches.
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?
F: I'm not sure I'd call it a ritual, what I have is more like my inner settings. I like to think about and look at what I'm creating from different perspectives. I've learned to take my time with work and make sure the result is really the final version. I am hard on myself and require integrity where it's demanded (which it usually is). I usually spend some time on research, I try, sketch, model, and remodel, before I arrive at a result I am 100% happy with.
Comparison with foreign scenes is helpful to me, too, as well as discussions with fellow artists, people from various fields, theorists, and gallerists. I have also learned how important taking time off is so I try to include that in my schedule.
I like to move between design and fine art in my work.
A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
F: You have to have a drive. I recommend keeping up with art and devoting your free time to it. There are so many interesting opportunities to learn; exhibitions and projects which you can take part in or simply just observe, use it as a starting point, make connections, a chance to grow. It also pays off to approach someone for advice or consultation; people are open to that, especially at universities. It's been of great help to me, too.
A: Your top 3 adjectives related to art?
F: Emotion, idea, skill.
Photo credit: Katarína Hudačinová
A: Your favorite Czech artists?
F: Most of my favorite artists and designers are foreign authors, studios, and brands, for example, Marcel Breuer, Achille Castiglioni, Pierre Yovanovitch, or Jaime Hayón, Venini glassworks, and the brand Flos.
From Czech authors I like František Vízner, Václav Cigler, Ladislav Sutnar, or Miroslav Páral. I can relate to their work and way of thinking. Aside from these names, there are many glass craftsmen in Czechia I admire, especially engravers, blowers, cutters, and glass painters.
A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?
F: I find that Czech people always hold together during bad times such as war or disease. They are brave, courageous, patriotic. I see a resemblance of that in The River of Life, a piece created by the duo Libenský and Brychtová which they introduced at the 1970 EXPO in Ósaka. Where the river was frozen they depicted footprints from military boots, which served as a metaphor for the 1968 occupation from an artist's perspective. They expressed their opinion as well as the nation's courage.
If I approached the question from a designer's point of view, I'd say our country's symbol may be the half-liter beer glass, Moser glass, or Lada's illustrations.
A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?
F: At exhibitions, I like to attend openings and curators' views, where I can meet the author. Then I discuss. In each conversation, I am interested in both their own point of view and unbiased critique. I think that each art piece or project can be approached from multiple angles which allows you to ask more and learn more.
Yet, I have no specific formula for forming connections with others through art. Each artist has their communication style - someone likes to shock, someone communicates poetically. Designers may feel that the best indicator of a successful connection is the success of their product. The design allows the artist to help, educate, and so much more. It's up to each one of us which path we choose.
A: Where can we meet you?
F: My favorite place to work is my studio in Nusle, Prague. When creating, I tend to stay inside my hand and prefer a quieter environment. I enjoy spending time in Prague's many cafés and restaurants, or just taking walks. I often find myself away from the city, in glass workshops up in northern Bohemia, or wherever I create my pieces. I travel as often as possible.
A: Please, share your favorite quote or idea (not necessarily related to art):
F: "Honesty is the best policy."
"Measure twice, cut once."
"We learn by our mistakes."
"Never say that something can't be done."
(common Czech sayings)