ŠKODA showrooms can look forward to an unconventional makeover. New artworks were created by artists during a unique 10-hour-long project. How did the contestants perform and who became the winner?
28. 9. 2017
For a whole day, the ŠKODA architectural laboratory has become a playground for selected artists who came here to create their original works. There is six of them, all deeply focused, and spread out among a number of beauties with polished hoods. They’ve just received the assignments and they’ll need an absolutely calm environment from this moment on, with only a light musical backdrop.
All is part of the project to create a unique customer experience in large numbers of ŠKODA showrooms, spread all over the world. The aim is to create an artwork that will support and improve the overall showroom impression and architecture. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be distracting the customers from the displayed cars.
One of the important attributes is the correspondence with the brand’s values of course. The final rankings will give the upper hand to those artists who will present some traces of Czech cubism or Czech artistic glassmaking in their artworks. In other words, elements that have become a prominent inspiration for ŠKODA designers lately. Everything must be “interwoven”, conceptual, and meaningful. One of that artists’ tasks was also to take into consideration the key values of the brand – humanity, simplicity, and element of surprise.
But back to our contesting artists now. Each one of them has already established their workspace. Some are camping behind their laptops and are working by means of a designing software. Others literally orbit around their large-format canvases laid on the ground. Sometimes, they even have to step on them to reach certain spots. Someone is doing fine with just a smaller sheet of paper and an ordinary work table, another has locked himself in a separate room so that he won’t disturb others with graffiti spray-paint fumes.
No matter the technique and workspace, all the artists are letting their creative intuition run wild and are revving their right hemispheres to the highest gears possible. Throughout this whole process, they are being closely watched by the eyes of cameras, video cameras, and those who are here to document the progress of the whole art contest.
Nevertheless, to learn more about the individual creators and their emerging works we had to gently crash the course of their process for a few minutes. Our task was to calculate the right moment to enter their almost sacred workspace with respect and not to “fish” them out their artistic submersion.
We caught Markéta Gebrian just in the moment she was finishing her third and, at the same time, final graphics with the working title “Fast Green”. Notional worlds, composed of crystalline elements with extremely sharp edges, are dancing on the screen. The architect’s core inspiration was without a doubt the ŠKODA’s winged arrow and green is the dominant colour. As for complementary colours, Markéta has chosen her favourite shades of purple. The overall impression is therefore very contrasting colour-wise. The resulting theme comes across as disquieting, which we learn was actually the author’s intention. Maybe it mirrors Markéta’s fear of speed…
We move onto Lu Jindrák Skřivánková who carefully stands in the middle of her huge canvas, barefoot, and tends to a drapery made of geometrical shapes. Her inspiration is visibly rooted in the showroom’s premises, which is expressed in a converging perspective. The shapes are then filled with favourite colour palette that comes intuitively. “I admire renaissance architecture. I hope to recreate the spatial dynamics and movement that is almost tangible in this showroom. I would like to create a reference to cubism in the drapery,” explains the young academic painter. Indigo blue middle section’s task is to anchor the observer in the painting and to set up a relaxation zone of some kind. After the “consumer” has had enough of looking around the dynamic, restless showroom space, he or she can get right back within the safety of the calming blue space.
The post of the digital designer Rodolfo Biglié gives out a modest impression. A few pencils and black markers, and a piece of paper. You can tell that the artist is not a fan of being interrupted and that the time needed for his work has been calculated almost into minutes. He is entirely connected to his creative intuition. That is the element leading his hand by a natural flow, creating waves and crystals, resulting in a fractal geometric progression. Rodolfo too was inspired by the showroom itself. He’s in love with detail. That is, according to him, the key to beauty. What he also likes is movement, which is self-evident from his yet to be finished piece. He reveals that he’s always immensely enjoyed driving a car. We are saying our goodbyes to the artist when his painting is outlined only in black and white. For the moment being, he’s still hesitant about using additional colours, such as red and gold.
Gabriela Sedláčková has hidden herself in the back of the showroom. She creates digitally. She hasn’t decided yet which one of the two themes, now finished, she’ll send out as her champion for the competition. Each theme is expressed differently, yet the concept is identical. Both artworks can tell the life story of one car. Before it reaches their owner, the car lives a dull, grey factory life. But as soon as it embarks on its first journey, it livens up and discovers a world full of colours and fantastic adventures. The storyline is told through symbolism and colours. The colour grey has already been explained, the other ones should evoke the “outside” life, referring to water, sky, being alive, and adventure. One of the artist’s ambitions is to influence the potential buyer’s mood in a way. She herself admits that her works can give out a certain simplistic or even childish impression but, at the same time, she’s aware of their elaborateness. Her aim is for the art to mirror the brand’s stability.
Before we can approach another contestant, we have to open the door to a neighbouring room. The hovering scent of spray paint is actually quite pleasant, at least for the moment we get to spend with the artist. The first series of paintings, namely a diptych, is almost done. It even bears a name already – “Speed of Light”. Art Director Lukáš Pohánka creates while meditating. He doesn’t plan ahead. He lets everything flow naturally and immediately transfers the ideas onto his canvas. Big city energy charge is mixing with the purely natural one and runs through the whole painting with confidence bordering on cheekiness. It’s stopped only by neon turn signals that precisely correspond with the shape of one showroom detail. Freestyle with cubist elements. Full stop.
The last post belongs to Jozef Gašpierik. Before he gets to “producing” his final artwork, he needs internal answers for all the important questions. He was straightening everything out in his head for a long time. His goal is not to waste time. When we discuss Jozef’s concept, we can’t help the feeling that he intends to cram everything in there, as if at the cost of using a slight force. He wants to tell a Czech brand’s story, weave in the ŠKODA’s ‘Simply Clever’ philosophy, and point out the ecology issue. The colour palette should be dominated by violet, which is close to red – contrasting colour to the brand’s green. Three concepts are on display in front of Jozef. Which one will be finalised and how will it fare in the competition?
The contestants’ artworks were meticulously evaluated and the jury took several weeks to come to the conclusion. The choice wasn’t entirely easy, the artists presented splendid works and squeezed the maximum effort out of themselves. The final decision was reached in early September and the one to celebrate success was Jozef Gašpierik. He named his project “Family Tree”.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you became the Art Contest winner? When I was told, I was flooded by a huge wave of joy and euphoria. Indescribable feeling, enormous moment of my life. The happy message was enhanced by the fact that I was just spending time with my family at the every moment.
Did you expect it to happen? No, I didn’t expect myself to win. I was well aware of the quality and equal abilities of all other finalists.
Are you expecting your artistic life to change in any aspects thanks to this? I am not expecting it to make a 180-angle turn. But I’m a realist and I realize that ŠKODA Art Contest is mainly a great PR stunt for me. Every project I do, I approach with responsibility and I look forward to any potential future challenges so it would be even better if such challenges came in the form of cooperation with such renowned brands as ŠKODA.
ŠKODA ART CONTEST 2017
Before our group of six artists could even meet in Prague all of them had to answer the contest call placed on social media or at relevant schools. For the potential contestants to be nominated, it wasn’t enough just to register but to also include CVs and reference works. Those had to be send by June 11th, 2017, the latest and basically meet just one parameter. Simply put, the works had to be two-dimensional.
The team that picked the contest finalists comprised of an architect, marketing experts, and artists. Besides evaluating the primary assignment criteria, the “jury” focused on ensuring that there is a wide variety of art techniques used in the Art Contest.
Among the six contestants, there should be painters, graphic artists, draughtsmen, or, for example, someone who uses the graffiti approach. Gender balance was naturally also taken into consideration. The contest had no requirements on the artists’ educational background and there were also no limits concerning nationality.
June 27th, 2017, finally saw the chosen artists get together at the Showroom premises. At 9 AM sharp they took a hold of their tools of choice and started bringing their visions to life. There was a 10-hour limit to create their works and even though some of them finished literal minutes before the time ran out, all of them managed to beat the clock.
Czech National Bank was baptizing its new artistic direction and a new look, which embodied into the artistic project called Passage of Czech Design. The official opening and launch of the passage took place on Monday 19th December, 2016.
The baptism of new Passage of Czech Design was joined by Governor of Czech National Bank Mr. Jiri Rusnok, Mayor of the City of Prague Mrs. Adriana Krnacova, Mayor of Prague 1 Mr. Oldrich Lomecky, Director of Decorative Arts Museum Mrs. Helena Koenigsmarkova and Project Director of Passage of Czech Design Mrs. Stepanka Zinkaizlova. The ceremony was opened by cutting of the ribbon by the above persons.
The new interior is decorated with showcases of conceptual parts of unique artists and designers. These include Mr. Jozef Gaspierik, Slovak painter based in Prague, with his naïve-Cubist paintings with elements of street art, as well as a platform ArtBees representing the works of students of Applied Arts and other art schools. “We are inspired by the operation of passages in European cities, where passages serve as an art and design exhibitions, forums, such as selling points, as well as a place for meeting with artists and designers and the public. We have equally great artists and committed public here. That is why by opening the Passage of Czech Design, we are giving an opportunity to meet and to confirm that Prague is the city that understands them”, says the Project Director Mrs. Stepanka Zinkaizlova.
Part of the event was also the presentation of the exhibitors, fashion performance of young fashion designers and the press conference devoted to the Czech designers and to strengthen their influence in Czech Republic. Passage of Czech Design thus represents one of the ways in which a visitor can shorten the way through Prague via passage, and can get inspired by the beauty of Czech artistic creation and applied arts.
said by Luka Brase (formerly Lukáš Brašeň) on its joint exhibition with Jozef Gašpierik in Palace Eriksson close to Prague’s Old Town Square.
RETURN OF THE LOST SON
At the opening, which was under great public interest held on September 9, 2015, there was a speech made to the visitors by Mr. Peter Weiss, the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Prague and as a musical interpret guest the exhibition was joined by tremendous South African jazz singer Melanie Scholz.
Both authors are Slovaks, Luka is a bit of a nomad, who travels as a professional artist through the Europe, Jozef Gašpierik is a dedicated amateur painter, who works in financial sector in Prague.
The exhibition is the result of a project to support emerging Slovak artists living abroad, which has been much discussed in Slovak House in Prague as well, which could be continued as well as was initiated by a project Flow East Art Hub, which provides talented artists studios in the city center for free.
Luka Brase is a painter, illustrator and photographer, which is currently on his European tour. He arrived to Prague after his last exhibition in Norway. A native of Dolny Kubin, Slovakia, has had 10 solo and 13 collective exhibitions in European galleries. Besides Slovakia he exhibited in Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Great Britain or the Netherlands. He is the author of illustrations for the book Candidate by Michal Havran and Maroš Hečko.
Jozef Gašpierik is a straightforward artist, presenting a unique combination of artistic styles, the perfect fusion of acrylic and ink applied to the canvas. His greater inspiration is the woman as whole and everyday scenes of life. The works are, of course, primarily a visual expression of the inner imagination of the author.
Both artists have also created a unique joint work – painting on the glass.
The 5* Eurostars Thalia Hotel in Prague hosts Jozef Gašpierik’s exhibition, Be different. This Slovak artist looks at the human body as a composition of lines and asymmetrical shapes. The opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday September 7th at 7pm in the hotel, along with a presentation by the artist.
The naive-cubist painter expresses his emotional freedom in the style of children’s drawings, which creates teh effect of street art. Black lines creates multiple abstract forms whitch produces a number of hidden images.
“The aim of my work is to create a collection of questions that reflect the state of mind of the observer. This is the reason that i don’t reveal more, I leave room for imagination and fantasy and discovering hidden images consisting of a mix of bold lines and contrasting colours,” explains the artist.
He was born in 1983 in the industrial heart of the former Czechoslovakia. Jozef Gašpierik mixes acrylic paints and creates collages that portray human feelings and arouse the observer’s empathy.