Technique: pen drawing
Size: 420 × 594 mm
The urge to create this artwork
The years 2006 and 2007 are quite long ago in my life. At that time I was still looking for myself in my work, looking to satisfy the urge to create something majestic, although I was very young and lacking many things. Especially the artistic experience, which I do have today. What I did not lack though was creativity, passion, and stubborn, almost ugly patience. I was so obsessed with desire, vigour, and hunger for artistic charge and impression (which I have now) that I constantly tried to shut myself off and isolate myself from people who appeared normal, ordinary, poor, and petrified in the working class life with remnants of the post-communist era normalization. I couldn’t tolerate any criticism that would seem to step between me and the visions I was building – I wished to be fully imbued with them, even if to the point of schizophrenia. An almost auto-narcissistic, delusional need to rebuild this wretched and imperfect world with my own honorary visions of hell. This was also the time when I began to set up foundations for the Infernalismus art group.
Technical aspects and reasons for using plain materials
When it came to technicalities, I was already a terrible detail-oriented perfectionist. Unfortunately, in terms of knowledge of materials, I was a simpleton, who could not be satisfied with traditional academic drawing tools. It’s worth noting that I could draw at that time. This artwork should indicate the level. Paradoxically though, I was totally incapable as a painter – my brushstrokes looked like those of a kindergartner.
In traditional drawing, I was irritated by the constant enforcement of techniques with charcoal and red pencil. It seemed to me as if the art schools were governed by a totally misled doctrine of what was or wasn’t artistic, while the Western world was bursting at the seams with free-spirited creativity, flaunting the dark and terrible works that were then considered a crazy and uncultured fad in our country. Whether I was in northern Bohemia, Jihlava, or Prague, the most popular type of art one could do was to either blindly copy the old masters, paint kitsches for Germans from across the border, or simply dye and glue a rag on a canvas and charge five times the minimum wage for that. The inspiration drawn from the works of H. R. Giger was scorned with the words “Some day you’ll grow out of it and stop painting these monsters.” Understandably, I missed painting without consciously admitting it, and today I can’t get enough of oil techniques. However, due to the abhorrent experience with tempera and cheap watercolors at school, it took me a long time to overcome the inner resistance, which meant, most importantly, to overcome myself. Meantime I turned to pencils instead. I found them extremely easy to work with, they provided rich and shiny coloration, and unconsciously I wanted to use them to approach the level of painting. The fact that it was technically impossible, even with the greatest of efforts, was something I had to experience personally.
In terms of materials and technical execution, this was an unfortunate combination that I was only able to make up for many years later. A pen drawing on a regular bleached A4. The surface of the paper causes problems from the start, plus the bleached pulp is very susceptible to damage over time and disintegrates on its own as it ages. With the acid component contained in the pen’s ink, this process is irreversible. The fact that I counted the hours as I worked and came to the conclusion that I had spent 326 hours drawing gave me a great incentive to look around for better materials, which already then led me to discover new, totally unexplored techniques.
Theme of the drawing
That period of my life was very occult, plus I was (still am!) in the habit of making new creations and neologisms. At that time I also tried to create my own strange language, quite different from anything known and, in truth, from myself. In the same manner, I created completely different symbolism rather intuitively and then guessed the meanings.
Somehow, that was also how many beings formed in my mind, and two of them, the ones depicted in the drawing, were Khatys and Khariel. Khatys was the god of fear, anxiety, and phobias. In contrast, Khariel is the eternal warrior who transcends his own death. That is why he is a bizarre fierce skeleton. In order to escape his own mortality, he reached the form in which he just doesn’t die and simply goes on and on. Like Khatys, he was meant to be synonymous with divinity, regardless of mortality.
The motif is a critique of society from the time when even though I was a strong individualist myself, I wrongly thought of society as a collective. That was a big mistake in my life, from which I have probably learned enough by now. At least I hope so.
At that time I perceived the whole of society as phobic and inwardly fearful. I saw the mass of people condemning their own almost sacred potential and many talents to fit in, to live for socialist imaginary miracles in a modern figurative perspective. To stay put, to fit in, to submit, to kill oneself on the inside, to live for some abstract illusion with no visible result. Even back then I already was a die-hard free thinker. It seemed to me that the essence of the collectivist spirit was about transfer of inner strength and power from the hands of an unceasing fight for life into the hands of unceasing fear. I tried to put all that into this drawing.
I shall leave interpretation of the other symbols hidden in the artwork up to the viewer.
Fate of the Work
It’s funny to think of the time when this work held the position of the most challenging for a while. It is not so anymore.
After I finished drawing this work, I took it to my cousin to have it scanned into digital form at the graphic studio where he worked. When returning it to me, he apologized saying that he had had an accident and torn the drawing. He had made a hole of about an inch at the bottom of the work. He felt awful about it, but of course I just forgave him right away. To this day he is the man whom I hold in high esteem.
The sad thing is that the work got lost in 2014 and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere since. That happened at a pagan center where I had a studio. But that’s another story. A pity though.
proofreading / editing: Arianne Perrier
web design: Brbla