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Michal Papánek: I'm going my own artistic way

Who is the successful Slovak painter Michal Papánek? 

Original article to read  TU

Michal Papanek is a visual artist who was born on 17 March 1980 in Bratislava. His artistic abilities began to manifest themselves in early childhood. Once in primary school he painted a famous portrait of Mona Lisa, which became a school success and his painting was hung in the bowels of the primary school for several days. The origins of his artistic career go back to his early childhood: "I started painting and drawing in art class in elementary school and people told me that I could paint nicely".

His artistic journey continued a few years later with his choice of high school and college, which influenced his later artistic work. He graduated from high school with a degree in design and decided to Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. He chose the field of theatre management, which he didn't finish because he didn't find himself in it and after a year he decided to quit his studies at the university. Michal openly admits: "From early childhood I was much closer to fine art. Even then I was aware of its considerable influence and intense impact on my own perception of my surroundings and my own life."

After completing his year-long studies at college, he supported himself with a variety of jobs, some of them of an artistic nature. One of them was working in a gallery where he sold paintings. When asked if it was important for a painter to graduate from college with a major in art, he replied as follows: "I don't think it is essential to have a university degree to be a painter, but it is essential to have talent." In addition, it is aware of the positives and negatives that result from the absence of higher education and higher qualifications. "I know that not having a university degree closes the door to many professional, artistic spheres that I could penetrate with my art, but at the same time I retain my subjective and unique artistic style, which reflects my strong desire to do what I enjoy, without any influence or interference from an external institution." 

Michal Papánek's work is full of diverse materials that help him to grasp the works in a broad complexity with regard to the integrity of the work. He uses brushes, spatulas, sponges, sponges, pegs, nails, wire, etc. He talks about his non-traditional components that he uses: "I'm learning the magic of new kinds of metallic and neon acrylics. I bring my own insight to the paintings while exploring the coexistence of colors and their flexibility on a bounded canvas." 

In his paintings you will find various hidden messages and messages. He finds ideas for creating images all around him. He regularly goes to nature and urban environments, in which he takes his own photographs from which he paints his specific images. He also draws inspiration through conversations with people based on their life stories. He explains about his creative process: "The themes for the paintings are diverse. I create for people and their feelings, which I transfer to the canvas as required. The canvas, the muse and my relationship with art is my mission". 

What inspired you to become a painter?

In my opinion, this is a tricky question. I think I'm inspired by creation. And it inspires me to keep creating in the spirit of "the journey is the destination". At the same time, I think I'm good at it. I've been making paintings for six years now. I was inspired to make paintings by a vision of what I could accomplish.

Do you remember your beginnings within your artwork and when you realised it was the right path for you?

Yes, when I sold the first painting. (Laughs) When I started painting, I practically did it for myself and in my spare time. Mainly for that reason, to fulfill my personal needs and to do something useful. I have a positive relationship to painting and to art as such. I was very inspired by my first success when I sold my first painting. And that encouraged me to pursue art even more. Assuming that it would be meaningful to me personally, which I was still searching for in art.

What does art, painting, mean to you?

Self-realization. Painting for me is a way for a person to express themselves. To give something of myself outwardly, to realize myself in a way that I find intrinsically fulfilling and fun. In my opinion, painting is something that is mysterious. When one starts to create something, one doesn't know what will come out of it and sometimes the process of creating paintings is a long one. So gradually during the process of creation I see or come to elements that I then incorporate into the painting itself. However, it happens to me that the painting I originally wanted to paint turns out to be completely different from what I originally intended. These are the things I enjoy about art. At the same time, I'm doing something for people, and if I see that they like my paintings and buy them, it makes sense to me.

"Every creation is unique, individual and inspiring."

- Michal Papanek

What painters have influenced you and your work?

For example Pablo PicassoMarc Chagall. I like to read different books, talk to other painters, and look at other artists' paintings. These are the things that inspire me. I have been inspired by some painters but I would say I go my own way. I try not to be influenced by anyone and to develop my own artistic style.

What kind of paintings would you like to paint in the future?

I would like to paint paintings that would be appreciated by the professional art world and I would like my paintings to be talked about.

Who or what is your inspiration, muse when creating paintings, what do you like to paint?

I paint a lot of paintings on commission. I try to follow a broad portfolio of creative themes. I paint what comes to mind, what people want. The themes for the paintings come from different walks of life.

What are your visions for the future in terms of artistic creation?

For me it is a great achievement that I can create at all and that I am progressing. I am happy to have my own studio, which allows me to afford to paint more paintings. I would love for painting to continue to be meaningful to my life, and I would also like to be able to make a living as a professional artist in the future.

Has your muse left you and how do you react to this situation?

I feel like it leaves me several times a day. But it's a process that keeps me moving forward within the painting of the images because I'm trying to seek it out. And that's a certain stage of creation. I try I get inspired by different things, whether it's on the internet or by going out into nature or into the city regularly, where I create my own photographs to paint pictures from. This process of finding the muse is not easy, but the harder it is, the better and better quality paintings I later create.

Which work are you most proud of?

I have the feeling that neither work was ever finished, even though in fact it was. But that's kind of my internal battle that's always going on because I'm an artist.

How do you perceive fine art in Slovakia?

I do feel that there is a lot of competition these days and there is a lot of everything. For me personally, however, competition means trying to improve. To keep pushing myself and to be better. Good competition is never bad because it is healthy.

What do you do when you're not painting?

I have a lot of activities, I'm involved in a social project, I meet people, I do different sports that help me switch off from painting. In my spare time, I look for the muse in all aspects of my personal life, as I like to socialize and get inspiration for painting through talking to people as well.

What effect does loneliness have on your work?

Solitude helps me to create because I have to concentrate. And solitude is ideal for concentration, because it allows me to immerse myself completely in painting. Although, on the other hand, I do have moments when I turn on the music full blast. And for example, when I'm going through a bad time and I feel sad, it's the art that helps me, and I get even more "into it" in those moments.

What are you most grateful for in your life?

For everything. I am grateful for the fact that I can do what I enjoy, for my individuality, for the fact that I have been given talents that allow me to realize myself and to live a life that I like and that I want to live, at least in part.

 What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Don't give up. There is no need to give up, even if you think you can't do it anymore. Persevere in what you enjoy, because the art world is something that this world needs, and maybe even more than ever before.

How can people get to your works?

Through public or private exhibitions, openings. My paintings can be viewed in more detail on my personal website or on the basis of social events and also on my page Art Papanek on Facebook.

Michal Papánek has been painting as part of his artistic activity for more than 6 years. During this time he has had several exhibitions at home and abroad, sold more than 120 paintings, some of them to countries such as Germany or the USA. His goal for the future is for his paintings to become not only an artistic but also a financial investment for his clients.

Author: Alex Vaculik