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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

"When I paint, my musical skills improve, and vice versa" • Cleo






Social media is full of talented artists. Today, we're happy to introduce you to Cleo, a talented artist and especially a talented musician who uniquely combines musical work with works of art.


“If I paint, my musical skills improve, and vice versa, training on a musical instrument develops my perception of the fine arts, ” says Cleo, who began to combine the two activities over time.







Hello Cleo! Let's start with a simple question. How would you introduce yourself to our readers?


I'm Cleo, a professional musician and artist. Although I have studied music, I think music and fine arts go hand in hand. I try to pass on this idea in the form of original music and, at the same time, also create paintings on its motifs.




As we started talking about this topic, I must ask. Are your musical feats related to those of fine arts?


Musical and fine arts are incredibly close to each other. Even as a little girl, I liked drawing while listening to music, and it inspired me. But it was not until I studied conservatoire that I found out how deeply connected these activities were. During the first years, I sidelined the painting and drawing due to the time pressure, and very soon, I started to feel that something was missing in my work. After a few months, I felt l had reached a deadlock. I moved nowhere in art, I felt no joy in what I was doing, and nothing else occurred to me than setting music aside and taking aquarelle paints.


The feeling I had at that moment was beyond description! Suddenly, new paths started to appear, more doors opened, and so many possibilities with it. I was determined to keep this feeling, and although my main focus was still music, I locked it in a closet for one day a week and dedicated myself only to fine arts.


Soon I started to take note that it was not only about feeling whole again, but that when I painted, my musical skills improved, and vice versa, training on a musical instrument developed my perception of the fine arts. After some time, I started to combine these activities even more, i.e., depicting the same themes, composing music according to already finished paintings, and painting according to my composed music.





Wonderful story. Did you dedicate yourself to art also as a child?


I've always, more or less, dedicated myself to art. As a child, I already knew I wanted to devote myself to it. I just didn't know which path to take. I switched from piano improvisation and dance to drawing while listening to Vivaldi. Even though my parents educated me primarily on music after I had started elementary school, drawing was internally as much important to me, manifested by pictures among the pile of notes during lessons.



Unbelievable, you're a very versatile artist. Could you describe your artistic work in three words?


Fantasy, moody, full of colors.



You write songs, sing, play the violin and, on top of that, draw. How can you manage all these activities?


Sometimes, it's difficult, and you need to prioritize and make a schedule. The disadvantage of music is that if you have neighbors, you can't play twenty-four hours a day, and it helps me a lot in organizing activities. So I paint in the evenings.




Sometimes, the life of an artist is not easy. What are the principal motifs of your paintings, and where do you get inspiration?


Inspiration is just everywhere, in nature, weather, sounds, and mood… I would say that mood is the most important when it comes to my pictures. When I get the right feeling, it's simple to associate it with fantasy and then, for example, with colors. Perhaps thanks to those inward themes, the principal motif of my painting is often a female figure, and around there are represented thoughts and feelings that are naturally invisible.



Do you have any favorite artists from the contemporary Czech art scene?


That's a very difficult question to answer because today, in the age of social networks, I come across talented artists every day. I like the most to discover the ones that are not so famous. For instance, for some time now, I've followed the creation by @ailika_artist on Instagram. She deals mainly with realistic drawings of animals that utterly captivated me. I must also mention today quite a widely known and talented artist, my former classmate with whom I share my beginnings in painting, Ellienka.





Interesting tips. If you could meet any fine art artist that ever existed, which one would it be, and why?


Definitely Walt Disney. Even though it was more about animation, his work has been inspiring me since my childhood. I remember redrawing pictures from books, for example, about Bambi, and searching for videos from the Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs movie.


The way he breathed life into his cartoon characters and their stories is incredible, and just to imagine being present in the redrawing of each picture of his first fairy tales, I have goosebumps. While my classmates in puberty had posters of vampire idols in their room, I had Mr. Disney.



It just confirms your love of fine arts. What products from Koh-i-noor do you use most often?


Currently, I mostly use Brilliant watercolors. I've tried many different variants, but I always return to them. Sometimes, I supplement them with a drawing made with Mondeluz and Polycolor colored pencils.





Watercolors and colored pencils are timeless classics. Are there any Koh-i-noor products you would recommend to readers?


If I had to recommend only one thing, it would be Mondeluz colored pencils. When I started to draw with them some years ago, it gave me so many new possibilities. When I'm traveling, it's a clear choice. They function beautifully as ordinary colored pencils and also as aquarelle. I also think that if someone wants to start with artistic colored pencils, they are a great and affordable option.



We're glad to hear that! Is there any art technique you haven't tried yet, but are about to try?


I've been tempted to try oil painting for quite some time but haven't brought myself to do so yet. It's pretty far from everything I do, so when I decide to do it, I'll have to start from scratch (laughs).





With your talent and experience, you can certainly do it. Have you ever held your own exhibition?


I had only one exhibition, and it was when I was studying at the conservatoire. The school management held exhibitions regularly in the conservatoire vestibule, as drawing and painting were close not only to me but to other musicians as well.


If everything turns out well, something bigger I work on currently could come out in a year, but I can't say more about it. I hope that something comes up soon and that I will be able to share it on social networks.



In that case, we're looking forward to it. Where do your finished paintings go?


Most of the paintings go to my online store, cleo-music.eu, and subsequently to new owners. For example, with the release of music EP and speed art, the listeners always have the option to purchase original paintings from video. In essence, they can grasp their favorite song and hang it in their homes.


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