Articles and Interviews > For Mother Nature's interview with Frantisek Strouhal

For Mother Nature's interview with Frantisek Strouhal


Tell me about your artistic process.

I use the ancient art of oil printing on watercolour paper to create my work. The process requires skill and precision, but also patience and deep trust.

To create my artwork, I use photography, digital collage, contact printing and lithography inks on watercolour paper. The paper is soaked in a gelatin bath and then dried. In the meantime, a digital negative is made, and contact printed under UV lights on the sensitized watercolour paper. The paper then becomes the Matrix for applying lithography inks, building layer upon layer to create the desired image.

You can watch the whole process here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7zEFwqznz0

What inspires you? Where do you begin?

My artistic ideas just come from the inside: moment in, moment out; feelings in, feelings out. My internal monologue shapes itself as a vision, an image which I sketch on a sheet of paper. To materialize this vision, I capture the figure of live models with my 4x5 camera. These portraits are integrated with previously collected images of landscapes, architectural details, and still life in a collage effect, situating the personage in an imaginary environment.

And then what happens?

My studio, being the brightest room in our house with its skylights, is facing the mountain range, surrounded by fruit trees, and in the summer the delicate smell of wild violets scattered in the grass, and the luxurious scent of the lilacs. I prepare myself to ink the Matrix. It is then that I feel in perfect harmony with myself, totally in the moment. There is no time. My creativity just flowers. I enjoy the process of bringing the light out of the darkness in the artwork by erasing, clapping, and rubbing some of the inked layers off. The piece all of a sudden has a life of its own and is guiding my next move. I’m totally driven by it.

You can watch the inking process in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqoWBXNvy8A

What do you do when you are unsatisfied with a piece?

When I am unsatisfied with a piece, sometimes I just put it aside then come back to it later. If I think I can improve it then I work on it till I’m happy with the result. If I see that it will not be possible to work with it then I start all over again or create something totally new.

Tell me about your use of people in your artwork, be they man, woman, or child.

Working with my models, being man, woman or child, in the studio, our time together is usually nothing less than magical. Between shoots, we sit comfortably around the coffee table; the room dim with candle lights, we are open, honest and share the depths of our hearts.

I love to work with the human form. The human form is essential to my artwork. It is the most universal symbol of beauty that stirs and satisfies my mind and heart.

Behind the camera in my studio, I can be who I am and see you truly.

I need to see

or I will perish.

This need to see

allows me to create

everything with passion.

It allows me to really see you.

In the stillness that arises

It’s uncertain who is speaking

and who is listening.

“The fog of our conditioning evaporates in the rays of our authenticity.”
 

How do you hope to affect viewers with your artwork?

I believe that by creating a work of Art I contribute to the work of the universal awakening of humanity, and help people to experience joy, and peace in themselves and also, remove and transform the cause of prejudices and fear. A work of art can help people grasp the nature of their sorrow and give them the ability to understand how to transform the negative and develop the positive in themselves.
 

What led you to combine photography, collage, and oil printing?

While studying my craft and its history, I stumbled upon the Bromoil and Oil Printing processes, and immediately began learning and experimenting with these methods. And also, being fond of the more classical and elegant aesthetics within any art form, I gravitated to nineteenth-century techniques, combining them with modern technology and a multimedia approach. This synthesis of procedures eventually led me to a breakthrough that would come to define my artistic life. The years of work culminated in my Art Embracing Awareness portfolios.


You have a very distinctive artistic style and voice. What would you say to artists hoping to develop their own style and voice?

I think artists would benefit if they would stop long enough to truly acknowledge strong works of art from the past -- in order to see how those powerful directions can be applied today. A lot of the art of today appears to have lost its soul. Some of the most praised work of today is little more than a conceptual aberration. In my opinion, this is the end result of intense academic programming. It is a shame.

 It has long been argued that art schools are churning out “more of the same”. Additionally, it has been suggested that many art school graduates have failed to learn the basics.

Every artist should have a personal commitment to live with infinite care by putting intelligence, love, and art at the service of the world outside. We should strive to uplift the spirit, express care, and show gratitude and appreciation for all. By doing this, we can make a huge difference in the lives of ordinary people... while improving the public image of “The Artist”.


Tell me about your book, ILLUMINATIONS: Art Embracing Awareness.

Over the past few years, I have with my life partner Chantal co-written a book titled Illuminations: Art Embracing Awareness, along with my son Jakub.

Our book approaches the mystery of life and healing through the various platforms of the beauty of art and prose- what delights the eyes opens one to deeper levels of awareness. “ILLUMINATIONS” is a revealing portrait into our inner quest to understand and reconcile past traumas, forgiveness, gratitude, love, and most importantly the awareness of the present moment.

This collection of writings provides a unique opportunity for the reader to learn more about themselves and their interactions with the human society and the natural environment in which we live out our days.

We were looking for expressions that fed the soul and quieted the mind. We distilled into prose/poems the decades of study about spiritual psychology, anthropology, and science.

You can see the book trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLZibS86L3c&t=4s

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Much of humankind has forgotten we are ourselves nature, and that we belong to the Earth. Each person has a personal responsibility to say “Yes” to a more conscious way of living. Our role within nature should be one of subsistence, rather than commercialization. We have exploited the world for too long and the consequences of doing so are everywhere. As everything is related to everything, we have no right to interfere with the livelihood of any other species. In fact, our cognitive ability and understanding of nature require of us to maintain the integrity of the environment. So we must change how we influence the land. We must respect the natural order of things and find a way to live accordingly.

I also like to emphasize the relation of art to the dignity of man and the importance of the human spirit in art.

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RETURNS AND EXCHANGE Special orders are non-returnable.Regular orders can be returned within 7 days of receipt in their original packaging. Please notify us by phone or email before the return. The client is responsible for returning the item(s) pre-paid and insured to Frantisek Strouhal, 4227 Slocan River Rd., Winlaw, BC, Canada, V0G 2J0. Credit issued will not include original shipping and insurance charges. We reserve the right to not accept a return and may require a repair fee if the item has been at all damaged. While our policies are firm for obvious reasons, we will do everything we can to work with you and make sure your experience with us is positive. We package all artwork with great care and attention to ensure they arrive safely. Should an item be damaged in transit, make note of the damage with the delivery agent and contact us at frantisekstrouhal@gmail.com, 250-226-0018, within 48 hours of receipt. We will refund the full purchase price plus shipping for any artwork irreparably damaged in shipping providing the delivery agent is notified immediately of damage (It has never happened yet !!). All art is scanned and checked for accuracy in terms of colors before it is posted on the website. Each computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone may depict a photograph with some variation in color depending on the calibration of the screen. We are unable to provide refunds based on perceived color differences.

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