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AS IS | Radka Bartošíková


From Třebíč, Czechia

Based in Třebíč, Czechia

Radka didn't find art in childhood or through formal education: she found it when searching for herself. Her works reflect the motley places she has visited on her travels, colored and transformed by the optics of memory

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

R: A journey showed me the way to the canvas. At first, it all looked more like an escape; eventually, wandering became an addiction. At 22 I found myself at a crossroads: to marry, settle and live a family life, versus one big unknown and myself.

And thus my first journey took me to London. I believe that the greatest things in life happen in our hardest times, and so, among all the failure waiting for me in London - looking for a job, loneliness, constant moving - I suddenly found myself standing in front of my first canvas. London lit a fire in me which lights my way to this day.

After 4 years in the UK, I moved to Spain and shortly after that, South Africa, Namibia, and Mozambique. I jumped into a moving train that went hurtling through the south for six long years...

A: What inspires you the most?

R: I believe myself to be one of those who let their canvas speak for them through clarity of its own. All my paintings were painted by the world itself. They aren't just landscapes across the continents, though. The whole picture consists of the visual side I am the witness to first and foremost, but the finished product is a mixture of my mental state at the moment, my mood, or my overall impression of the place. That's why my paintings often kind of "decide" to go from classical painting to abstraction halfway through. Music or memories can be an impulse as well. I don't know if you're familiar, but for me, memories are cloaked in their own colors.

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

R: Letting myself wander freely is what keeps me going. I'm not aware of any rituals, but so far it's been working this way: when I get an idea, I feel such a strong urge to put it on a canvas that I don't really focus on the conditions I do it under. Then I end up propping my canvas somewhere against a willow tree and working with horses galloping behind me or cows snorting right in my ear, and I don't even care. That's speaking from experience, no exaggeration; the conditions for work are really wild in Africa.

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

R: I'm probably not someone who should give any sort of advice. But if I had to choose one piece of advice, it would be to rush slowly. My mom always says what goes up fast, goes down fast. First and foremost, the artist expresses and communicates themselves with the world, and that needs to be done with some composure and a lot of humility.

Another thing I consider important is not selling out to commerce and staying yourself. After all, it's all a kind of message, shared whether through painting, textile, or melody; the result still should carry the soul as far as possible and without it expiring. That doesn't really go with mass production.

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

R: Wow, maybe this is a question for those educated in art. :) They certainly love to speak the kind of language that fits this type of question.

I found a beautiful phrase in a Neil Gaiman book once, that art is basically a mirror. That's why the artist's role doesn't lie in presenting the world as it is, but to serve as a mirror to others and quietly watch them understand it their own way, finding in it exactly what they need. I took the liberty to make this phrase my own.

A: Your favorite Czech artists?

R: You might find this odd but I don't see any geniuses like that or a specific work of art like that. If anything I'd go get lost in poetry, for example, the poetry of the 60s, post-war literature, Erben, or Mácha, that's what I consider significant. And I will forever defend Mr. Werich, an incredible personality.

Visually, probably any classic paintings capturing our pine trees and dirt roads. I don't know, perhaps I am a bit ignorant and a bad patriot in this regard.

A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?

R: The only name I can think of is Lada and his illustrations because they carry a great (and pristine, back then) truth about the Czech nation, traditions, and roots. I find enormous comfort in them and I think they will never be forgotten. And that's what matters.

A: The perfect way to start any conversation about art is: …?

R: Now, that's a strange question. I've never thought about any strategies, usually, I'm simply interested in the person's story and what they're trying to pass on unless it's obvious. So I suppose I dive straight into the center. You may as well spend years searching in this world and yet never find the main idea. And the best way to create connections? Through compliment, of course! :)

A: Where can we meet you most often?

R: Haha, probably everywhere and nowhere. Even though, the past year, my strategy has been to let impulses speak to me wherever they are, be 100% present, and then play around with the canvas in my studio/home. It's more economic, that's for sure. But in general, I like to wander in the Czech landscape. I desire, a little obsessively, to explore every road branch or the tiniest road. My friends would tell you it's not so fun when they've had to free me from mud or come find me among the fields a bunch of times. And me being against using mobile data doesn't help either, it makes it much harder to find me.

A: Please, share your favorite quote or idea (not necessarily related to art):

R: In terms of my worldview, probably "Live and let live". In art-speak, I'd translate that as "Create and let create." After all, life is everyone's own canvas, and it's our responsibility and freedom to decide which colors to throw on it.

Thank you!

For more: visit or IG


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