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"You can consider a skateboarder as an artist" • Kamil Zajíček




Maybe you already know the painter and skateboarder from Ostrava, Kamil Zajíček. We've already established cooperation in the past and made interesting instructional videos.


This time, though, we introduce you to this talented artist even more through an interview in which we talked about Kamil's pop surrealistic creation and the interconnection of skateboarding with fine arts.






Hello Kamil. We're happy for the chance to question you! In the beginning, could you tell us about your beginnings in fine art?


Given that I've been skateboarding since I was a kid, I was surrounded to some extent by art from an early age, thanks to skateboard graphics, animated advertisements in skateboard magazines, stickers, and so on. I think it's something that happens to every skateboarder, whether he or she wants it or not. Art gets into their subconscious.



What about art was so interesting that you've dedicated yourself to it till nowadays?


I found interesting the process, freedom, peace, and joy from a finished work or improvement and mainly the fact that a person can create their own world without boundaries. After some time, it becomes a routine and a part of everyday life.




We must agree! If we understand it correctly, has art been associated with skateboarding for you since the beginning?


Practically speaking, yes. Even when a person is choosing a new board in a skate shop, it's actually a kind of catalog of art, a gallery. After some time, the skateboarder orients himself in a wide range of styles and brands and based on what graphics style he likes and whether the board fits in size and shape, he then keeps buying those boards. It's always a great feeling of which you'll never tire.


You can buy boards not only for skateboarding but also for interior decoration and collection. For many skateboarders, it might be the first impulse for their own creation, which also happened to me around the age of eighteen when I started doing pixel art in Paint on the computer and slowly switched to watercolor as a self-taught. Great inspiration for me was a scene in California and local web portals like fecalface.com and juxtapozemagazine, where I discovered my favorite artists.





Talking about skateboarding, do you consider yourself rather a skateboarder or artist? Do you think these two fields have something in common?


I skateboard for a much longer time than I paint, it's also something that directed me to the painting, but the number of hours spent on a skateboard is significantly lower than hours spent with a brush in hand. I'd rather not classify it as both are a big part of me and interconnect nicely. When I get tired of sitting and concentrating, I go skateboarding and move, and when I'm dead tired from skateboarding, hurting everywhere, I look forward to relaxing while painting.


I would also add that you can consider a skateboarder as an artist. It's hard to call skateboarding only either a sport or art. Some skateboarders compete and collect points in world cups, having hard training. In this case, it's obviously a sport (e.g., Nyjah Huston). On the other side, some skateboarders skateboard in exciting places and do atypical tricks and performances. Those focus mainly on video, photos, and the overall cultural impact of their projects. Therefore they fall more into art (e.g., Mark Gonzalez).



Interesting! We learned something new. You project your love for skateboarding through the creation of original paintings on skateboards. When and how did this idea come about?


I've had a dream to design a board since childhood, and I didn't expect it to come true. After a few years of painting in my beginnings, companies started contacting me, and I was excited about it. It's an honor even today when I see my designs on skateboards or meet someone on the street with a board from me.


Those first several designs were always created from paintings on paper or canvas. Only in the last two years have I started painting with acrylic directly on a board, so there isn't so much work on the computer. At first, I was afraid of painting directly on the skateboard because of the uneven shape of the board, but then I took a liking to it and found out that it is actually easy to paint on it, and you can get used to it.





How would you, in a nutshell, describe your artistic style to our readers? In what way do you think it's unique?


I paint in a style that is classified as pop surrealism. I try to paint diverse worlds according to my own imagination, characters often with big eyes, and scenes in which I also put real animals, plants, and other natural elements.


Ideas for pictures are greatly influenced by the place, where I am, and what I feel at that moment. I like to include in my works relationships, spirituality, and folklore. I paint even for children, more in fairytale style. Themes change, return and develop during the process of their elaboration.


As far as technique is concerned, I use mostly acrylic on canvas and wood, miniature brushes so I can play with details, quality lines, and patterns, and create contrast with bright colors. Undoubtedly some imperfections are also part of my style. Some things are more demanding for me to paint, and there's room for improvement, but I try to level up my art skills.





As we touched on favorite art techniques, tell us more about them. Do you have, for example, any favorite products from KOH-I-NOOR you got to like during your artistic career?


I like more layers of acrylic so that everything is intense, and I tone with water a lot towards the end. It's a remnant from the past when I only painted with watercolor on paper. I like to paint on canvas with a thicker edge which I then paint black and varnish the entire painting with a glossy varnish at the end.


From Koh-i-noor products, over the years, I took a liking to the pop-aquarell papers and artistic inks, and I swear by classic school watercolors.



Inks and watercolors are timeless classics! Are you more of an experimenter, or do you stand behind tried-and-trued methods? Whether it is the choice of technique, background, or motif.


I experimented more before when I was testing colors, materials, and brushes that would suit me, and there were really a lot of them. Today, I tend to stick with what I have tried and try to improve in technique and composition. When it comes to experimentation, it often ends up in the trash, and I value my creative time too much for that, so I'm banking on certainty.





Do you create only with classic art techniques, or do you also use new media in your work?


I stick to my techniques, but from time to time, one finds out that something can be done differently and suddenly makes a change that strongly reflects in his style without planning it or expecting it to happen. These are so-called happy accidents, as Bob Ross would say. For example, I didn't intend to switch from watercolors to acrylic. It came about spontaneously. If you create regularly and dutifully, those changes and upgrades will happen on their own.



Skateboards and other artworks of yours are available for purchase. Do you also create custom designs, or do you only realize your own ideas?


Before, I was afraid of custom creation, but lately, I'm not opposed to it unless it's some portraits of people. I can't draw people. When I do, it's some fictional ones with funny anatomy.





Where do you take inspiration the most often?


I like to look at the works of my favorite artists on the Internet, on art portals, and on YouTube, but less than when I started. I get inspiration everywhere in my surroundings, including street art. I like to look into galleries when I walk around, and I am also inspired by friends and my girlfriend, who also create.



While we're on the subject of favorite artists, are there any whose creations readers should definitely not miss?


Absolutely. I have many favorite artists, among which belong, for example, Mark Whalen, Joel Rea, Tiffany Bozic, Henry Gunderson, Pat Perry, Jim Houser, Ten Hundred, Interesni Kazki, Andrea Wan, Kelsey Brookes, Bo Bartlett, Andy and Ben Kehoe, Rebecca Chaperon, Low Bros and mainly Greg Craola Simkins.





Thanks for the tips! Do you have an artistic dream that you would like to realize in your life?


I would like to illustrate a book, paint an album cover for a band I like, design a snowboard or skis, a wine label, or perhaps create a design for some legendary global skateboard company. But if none of this happens, that's ok. My biggest dream is to keep painting all my life, appreciate it, and enjoy it.



We'll keep our fingers crossed! Where have your works appeared and are you planning any exhibitions soon?


My works have appeared in schools, galleries, stores, on beer, coffee, skateboards, clothes, in hotel receptions, and even in restaurants. The last project was the boards for the holes on the golf course. Quite a few opportunities have come up over the years, and I'm happy about it. In the future, skateboard wheels with my design and coloring books for children should be released.




Thank you, Kamil, for this interview, and we wish you lots of success not only in the art but also in life!



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