From Zlín, Zlín region, Czechia
Based in Uherské Hradiště, Zlín region, Czechia
Kamil Mikel's work is extensive, and although he has explored a multitude of mediums, themes, and techniques over the span of his career, he has remained faithful to geometrical abstraction and, as he says, composition, order, and rhythmic harmony of individual elements.
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?
K: I was born in Zlín in 1954, now living in Uherské Hradiště where I teach at the Secondary School of Applied Arts. I am also a teacher of graphic design at the Private Higher Vocational School of Arts.
I studied graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where I met Ladislav Čepelák and Dalibor Chatrný, the latter an extraordinary and artistic personality who mentored me and introduce me to the matters of geometrical abstraction.
Layers of colorful stain paint are characteristic of my paintings. In my latest works, I have moved towards lyrical abstraction, infused with Eastern philosophy, mysticism, and a strong emotional element. Composition, order, the definition of the canvas’ borders, and working with the rhythm of overlapping individual elements remain the common denominator found in all my works. I find unity in this treatment of geometrical structures, a hidden order with complex inner relations and regularities. The paintings reflect the world which is defined by principles of harmony, balance, unity, and natural conjunction with the spiritual substance.
The path of an artist was shown to me by František Peňáz. I was very lucky that this humble and spiritually oriented painter gave me my first drawing lessons. He himself studied at the Baťa School of Art in Zlín and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, under Max Švabinský.
A: What inspires you the most?
K: The greatest source of inspiration is the process of creating art itself, as it brings new inspiration, visions, and ideas…
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?
K: When working, I find consistency and long-term focus on one specific artistic aim helpful. The pencil, compasses, ruler, angle, and paper for sketching.
A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
K: There are many approaches and schools of thought in art, all of them unique and specific. There is no universal advice or formula. If the beginner masters the basics and the craft, they can start working more freely. At that stage, I’d recommend drawing from one’s own experience, from intuition and the soul.
A: Your top 3 phrases/words related to art?
K: Composition, order, harmony.
A: Your favorite Czech artists?
K: František Kupka, Bohumil Kubišta, Otto Gutfreund, Jindřich Prucha, Václav Boštík, Karel Malich, Adriena Šimotová, Zdeněk Sýkora, Stanislav Kolíbal, Dalibor Chatrný, Jindřich Zeithamel. I appreciate all of these artists for their innovation and authenticity of work.
A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?
K: I am not sure if there is a piece of art that would symbolize the Czech nation. I regard highly the work of František Kupka, Zdeněk Sýkora, and Jan Kaplický. They all have impacted art globally as Czech artists.
A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?
K: Let’s talk about art!
A: Where can we meet you most often?
K: In my studio in Uherské Hradiště, in Zlín, in the woods, fields, and meadows of the Kelníky area.
A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art):
K: Only work can save you.
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