From Uherský Brod, Zlín region, Czechia
Based in Prague and Černolice, Czechia
Robert Šalanda's works are typical for their form abstraction, repetition of motives or color schemes and extracted signs and symbols he uses to create his own, unique visual language. He often adds textual content to his works which supports or enriches the meanings recorded on the canvas.
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?
R: My great-grandfather, grandfather, mother, and her brother were all painters. I don’t think I need to say more. :)
A: What inspires you the most?
R: Anything can be a source of inspiration. You don’t need to go very far for it. What matters is being observant and paying attention. Becoming a bit of an expert on the seemingly “irrelevant.” It sounds obvious, but it’s not a matter of course.
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?
R: Going to my studio every day if I can. Daily records of ideas in the form of quick sketches. Frequently interrupting my painting process. Turning the canvas upside down. Looking at the canvas in a mirror. Punching the bag that hangs form the ceiling in my studio. Short fits of vigorous dance.
A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
R: Don’t mind the others and don’t compare yourself with them. But ironically, be aware of what’s happening around you. Let literature, cinema, architecture, music, … speak to you. You really won’t get anywhere without that.
A: Your top 3 phrases/words related to art?
R: For years I’ve been using this definition I heard somewhere and haven’t come up with a better one yet: art is an alternative, a tool, that helps us express what is verbally or rationally ungraspable.
Photo credit: Tomáš Souček
A: Your favorite Czech artists?
R: I narrowed it down to the contemporary younger generations or those who have just finished their studies: Pavla Malinová, Filip Nádvorník, Eliška Konečná, Honza Kostohryz, Natálie Pejchová, Šimon Sýkora, Lukáš Slavický, Jiří Pitrmuc, Michal Rejzek… their work is quite niche for the Cezch scene and it feels genuine to me.
A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit, mentality, or culture? Why?
A: How do you like to begin conversations about art? How do you like to connect with others through art?
R: I prefer to converse about art by not actually talking about it. And can you really “connect” with others through art? Isn’t that just a romantic fantasy? But I can see what you mean. As an artist, I am constantly “broadcasting.” The “receiver,” aka the spectator, has to find the signal in places that are designated to amplifying such signals (galleries, studios, online media, …).
A: Where can we meet you most often?
R: In my studio in Letná, Prague. But really anywhere I can open a laptop and record my ideas. I am café potato, so in cafés. Also in Černolice near Prague where I live with my family.
A: Is there any quote or idea that has guided you in your work and/or life?
R: There’s no purpose to life, it’s purpose is to live it!