From Petrovice u Karviné, Moravskoslezský region, Czechia
Based in Ostrava, Moravskoslezský region, Czechia
Václav Buchtelík's paintings are expressive, with an element of heaviness or perhaps robustness. He draws inspiration from his inner world which responds to the world around us. More about inspiration, self-expression, or Czech art in the interview below.
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you to art?
V: My name is Václav Buchtelík and I am a painter and musician. My primary focus is oil painting and hanging picture. I found my way to art naturally, starting with childhood doodles in my tramping journals, later moving on to portraits of ice hockey goalkeepers, and finally applying to an arts high school. Eventually, I also applied to a university and studied painting in Daniel Balabán's studio at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Ostrava. After finishing my studies, I began to work at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava.
A: What inspires you the most?
V: My greatest source of inspiration is my personal experience and the people around me. Of course, I draw from the history of painting and art in general.
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?
V: My ritual begins when I open my studio door, prepare a cup of coffee for myself, sit down, and light my first cigarette of the day. I often play my drums before I start painting, sometimes while working as well. It’s just a different form of self-expression and physical fulfillment which releases endorphins and helps my growth.
A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
V: That’s a good question which I shall answer subjectively. Firstly, it’s essential to keep believing and hang in there. A lot of young people want instant results and if they don’t come, they start to doubt if they’re on the right path. I think it’s important to be passionate. Whether about art, music, literature, curating, gastronomy, sport, etc.
I apply this to myself and painting, too. Courage is crucial, and so is a good investment. Perhaps money is a tricky matter, especially for students. But if you know you can afford it, invest in what you’re doing, whether money or time. Eventually, your labor will bear well-deserved fruits. And, last but not least, luck is a factor, too. Lucking out on circumstances, people, etc.
A: Your top 3 adjectives or phrases related to art?
V: Good stuff, awesome, bomb, wow. ☺
A: Your favorite Czech artists?
V: I have many, from well-established contemporary ones to the legends of Czech art history and my own circle of artist friends. Studying under Daniel Balabán played a big role in my journey. To be honest, my studies with him were self-study. I got to a point where I realized that I want to do art full-time, and if I don’t do the work myself, no one will do it for me.
Dan passed on his energy to me. His work and way of thinking are centered around personal experience, that’s something close to my heart, too. He also taught me that each motif requires its own specific form. He doesn’t follow one style, the motifs he picks shape the final style, and yet, it’s still recognizably him. I’m similarly wired, although I would not compare myself to him. I like him as a creator and a person.
A: What piece of art do you think embodies the Czech national spirit and culture? Why?
V: What a hard question. Alphonse Mucha’s The Slav Epic seems to be the obvious answer. I find the 19th-century Czech landscape painting more relevant, namely Mařák and his students. The paintings map the Czech landscape and its transformations. The stone-sculpture school in Hořice also comes to mind; many great Czech sculptors emerged there, such as Kocián or Štursa. Also, the Bechyně school, which was Otto Gutfreund’s starting point.
I can think of a few names I associate with the Czech nation. František Kupka, even though the French like to claim him as theirs. The generation which decorated our National Theatre: Mikoláš Aleš, Brožík, Mařák, Myslbek. Jiří Načeradský, representing post-war art, who cultivated a whole generation of strong painters, from Luboš Typlt, Pepa Bolf, to Zbyněk Sedlecký. For me, the national symbol is stored not in specific pieces but in eras and people.
A: How do you like to connect with others through art?
V: I converse about art with friends or my partner, it’s a part of my daily life. Usually, they’re reactions to ongoing affairs, domestic and foreign exhibitions, projects, personal achievements… The best way to create an art-based connection is through exhibitions and social media. The former especially serves this purpose well.
A: Where can we meet you?
V: Usually in my studio at Fráni Šrámka 5, Ostrava-Mariánské Hory. I am my own master there and do most of any work-related planning there. I can also be found in my workplace, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava.
A: Is there any quote or idea that has guided you in your work and/or life?
V: Not in the standard way, but there is a quote that stuck with me. It was uttered by Otakar Baran, a painter from Karviná, to Renáta Filipová, an artist from my hometown, who mentored me while preparing for my studies and relayed it to me: “Paint what you see.”
For more: visit Václav’s IG.