Hell School Sandro Dragoj

Technique: colored ink drawing
Size without mounting: 327 × 242 mm
Size in mounting: 515 × 413
Date: 28.12.2018

Motif of the work

This is one of several illustrations on the theme of the book by Dominik Fiala, in which an apocalypse of biblical proportions takes place. The school will get hit too, but I won’t get into much detail about this – let the readers find out for themselves when they buy and read this book one day. Plus I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for his fans.


This work was also one of the experiments in which I improved my technique to later arrive at what I call Brilliantis. It is a heavily colored ink drawing. I needed to see how it would fit, so to speak. In the end I used light preservatives. So part of the work was done with a steel point and the rest with a brush.

More previews of the work

Personal motif in the background

The author of this literary project has been repeatedly surprised with how ingenious I can be in my depiction of hell. This has its justification, not only but in particular with the present artwork. I see school and the school system in this country as hell. Seriously. The system where you hardly learn anything for life. The whole thing reminds me of a sort of prison for kids, where one must report in order to go to the bathroom, where one gets tested and graded according to how well he or she learns to parrot things. There is a commanding authority in the form of a teacher, the children’s community is divided into classes according to age. Bullying is common depending on the location of the institution. The natural tendency of learning from older friends is lost and trampled on, creativity is stifled, a child as a person cannot develop the basic need that he or she needs most in life – to be able to figure things out for oneself and choose what he or she wants to do, to start relying on own free choice. The principle of tolerance is cultivated instead of the art of saying no.

Although the classroom-based compulsory education system focused on grades, restraint, and originally military discipline is not proven to work for everyone, it is widely implemented throughout the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, it rather deforms the population instead of teaching it. Tragedies such as students losing their sanity and mental fitness are not unheard of. It is not uncommon for them to commit desperate acts of violence such as murder or suicide. I witnessed one such incident myself in my second year of elementary school when a classmate and friend, one year younger than me, killed herself by jumping out of a window at the end of the ninth grade. She had long endured family conflicts accompanied by verbal abuse for her poor grades. The price for her family was that the girl lost her soul and mind, felt deprived of any sense of purpose, and decided to end the ordeal by going into the void.

Even these days, the Ministry of Education still largely monopolizes education, and school models like Summer Hill or Rothbury are on the fringes of the law, needing concessions, exemptions, or being banned altogether. I have never supported blanket adoption of one specific school system or another. On the contrary, I think that (and I stand by this) it would be best not to impose any at all, and let people make their own choices. At least then children would not have to think that going to school is a punishment. Teachers would get a break from the little troublemakers because they would be able to send a naughty child home and keep the ones who show real interest in learning. Someone might not want to go to school at all – perhaps someone who would later kill their teacher. Everyone would be better off and less burdened. It would be great to stop thinking that computer games, horror movies, the satanic version of Winnie the Pooh, etc., are to blame for the absurd degrees of violence in schools.

proofreading / editing: Arianne Perrier
web design: Brbla

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