6 inspirations by an airbrush artist Svetlana Fialová

Get lost inside the guts of Strojárenská street known for its industrial and raw appearance. The hidden atelier hosts a young award-winning artist and a Technical University teacher. What would you say a prestigious British Jerwood Drawing Prize holder thinks about? How does she see the city she comes from and which motifs often occur inside her artsy brains and are eventually implemented in her sketches? Where can you see her piece now and still in 20 years? The next article reveals favourite topics Svetlana Fialová likes to talk about – this international Košice resident is known here and abroad. We asked Svetlana about:

1. The city and residence lifestyle

Living in Košice, teaching at Technical University and searching for the balance between the world of art and another occupation during yoga classes. Svetlana Fialová keeps on filling the space around her inside a messy atelier stacked with her sketches. The city itself is sometimes the source of inspiration during all four seasons. Winter period makes it suitable for working indoors. The image of sea-town overloaded with restaurant terraces and bars emerges during summer months. Though Svetlana spends most of the year in Košice, she often travels to foreign countries for artist residencies. Moving between her home-town and international temporary address has got positive effects on her artwork, as she says herself: “I intend to have contact with the outside world, primarily big cities which inspire me. I’ve already gone for California, Sweden and currently I’m staying in Tokyo for such residency through K.A.I.R. and Creative Industry Košice. You can also set off for this kind of adventure as Svetlana regularly does. For enrolment, click here.

2. Working with young people

The academic environment is another stimulus close to Svetlana’s heart. After finishing her doctoral studies at VŠVU in Bratislava, she started to teach at Atelier/Department of graphics and experimental artwork at Faculty of Arts, Technical University of Košice. Svetlana claims a profound source of inspiration definitely results from lunch talks with her colleagues on for example, “metaphysical ideas which transcend the borders of casual school topics. We talk about art and sense of life or basic philosophical questions on a human being. On the other hand, I enjoy working closely with the younger generation and explore their insights and issues they think about. I am interested in their experience.”

3. The position of a woman

Svetlana Fialová seems noticeably concerned with the position of a woman inside the society but also the school field. She recognises a strong female student representation in art study programmes yet not many of them decide to teach in the future. Only one woman lead the atelier/department in Košice and the situation in the main city isn’t more favourable, as she mentions. Women somehow disappear when it comes to these occupations: “I want to motivate my students so that they could decide for themselves and for what is important to them. The combination of doctoral studies, the job of an assistant professor and space for one’s own artwork can function easily and completely naturally. The crucial point is to make my students remember their life is in their hands.”

4. Style of drawings

Svetlana’s images are typical for their playful use of lines and parallel worlds mixing the illusion with reality. Hundreds of faces, multilayered storylines, hands, smushed colours, black sketches, other faces. This form/medium of art presentation – the drawing – she has identified with a long time ago, appears to suit her the best: “I ended up with this drawing style after experimenting with other media. Recently, I have devoted my sketches to airbrush, oil pastels or ink use.”

5. Topics and motifs in her pieces

Her own work is always the priority. However, Svetlana delivers 100% to official orders as well. One of the last ones became a book cover for a famous Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Currently, she’s been working on illustrations for NY publisher – Emmemm publishing. We eagerly discussed the topics she chooses for her pieces: “I tend to comment on my life and surroundings. I usually put everything into one piece. My paintings/images are, therefore, filled with sub-motives and topics which encompass the whole story I want to tell into one format. Then everything I had hoped to express was said and I can move onto something else. I don’t do series so my works mostly remain solitaires.”

6. Technicom

One of the newest buildings of Technical University in Košice, Technicom, proudly stands with its modern design but you must step in for real artistic treasure. Svetlana Fialová has been working on this installation for several months and on several storeys. The drawings she’s been sketching for a while have been pinned inside the building to form a large picture. Literally. Imagine electric cables attached in several points to a wall of the building’s inner space. Svetlana gladly accepted the invitation for this permanent exposition of her art from an architect Štefan Zahatňanský and hopes that “such artistic interventions will occur more often in the future.” The design of this scientific & technologic park greatly implements a rather softer and more tender presentation of motifs based on human touch and conversation depicting mostly hands and faces. The industrial features flow through the veins of this icy academic building yet factory/mechanical rawness of the cable soothes your view towards higher floors. Just stop at Němcovej 5, Košice.

Svetlana is currently working in Tokyo residence. For her newest exhibition, visit Aishiteru (I love you) in Youkobo Art Space v Tokyu or closer for Anything Goes in White&Weiss Contemporary, Bratislava.

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