Miroslavo is a Czech painter based in Barcelona. A varied background drives him to explore new techniques, colour combinations and tools in the creation of highly expressive canvasses, each offering a bold point of view. His abstract paintings channel a vision that revolves primarily around human nature and innovation.
A: In Issue 99 of Aesthetica, we feature a photograph of you with a self-portrait painting – what you refer to as a “self-portrait of self-portrait”. What draws you to self-portraiture and why is paint a preferred medium?
M: After a certain period of learning and experiences, I usually have a need to rediscover who I am with this new knowledge. Making self-portraits helps me keep myself in check about my goals and aspirations.
And I prefer to use paint, because once you lay it down, you can’t take it back. It’s kind of like life. I like to appreciate the beauty of the moment with a pinch of adrenaline, and paint allows me to experience that.
A: Some of your abstract paintings have a free-form style, which is different from an arguably more structured approach in your industrial design work. Is this a purposeful approach? Or do you think overcoming design challenges also involves a free-form approach to see where new ideas can lead?
M: I think the most purposeful approach to anything is to use both of them equally. I believe the best creations are a balance of both worlds – ones that come from structured creativity.
Some of my paintings can feel more free-form – this is probably because at that point in my life, I was having a more structured approach in my industrial design work, so I was likely compensating in my artwork by applying this free-form approach.
But ultimately, I think you should place equal importance to both approaches, and let them work together as 50-50 partners. That’s where the true magic happens.
A: How has your art evolved over the past five years? To what extent do you think you have evolved alongside your work?
M: Well, five years ago, I bought my first case of pencils and started drawing. So it’s evolved quite dramatically and me with it. I have become more confident in myself, and I no longer doubt that I’m an artist and that I create art.
A: How do you see your art as a potential for good and ultimately for a more collaborative, integrated world? Has this point of view changed or evolved since early 2020 (COVID-19)?
M: As ambitious as it sounds, I really believe that my art has the potential to inspire social change and to speak to the masses.
The whole vision of my art is about integration, something I say very often, and about the fact that every person is capable of discovering and igniting their passion and having genius. It’s out there, available to everyone – it’s just a matter of who has the willingness and courage to go and grab it, and then create something amazing from it.
Of course, first, one has to discover those fundamentals and I believe that’s what COVID-19 had forced some people to do – to return to the basics and start questioning things like: Was I happy in what I was doing before lockdown? Is there a long-lost passion or step that I’ve been meaning to take but it’s just buried somewhere deep within? Is the way we as humanity were living up to this point good enough or do we need to change something?
A: You refer to yourself as a Designer, Artist and Inventor – is the order of these words important to you?
M: It is and it’s mostly determined by history. I started as a web designer when I was 13 or so. Then when I was at university came graphic and product design as well as photography and entrepreneurship. The artist and inventor came later, although I now realise that they were always present. Identity-wise though, I first associated myself with being a designer, so I usually put it first in a neutral context, otherwise I’m all of those things and more.
A: Tell me about the founding of the Miroslavo studio.
M: Well, the first idea for my own studio came in 2015. It was called Miroslav. I was going to offer graphic, web design and photography services and eventually launch my own line of products. However, in 2016, came a big change, I was moving to Barcelona to pursue my passions from there and that’s where I changed the name to Miroslavo.
It’s important to understand what preceded though. Before founding my own practice, I had a physical and online store in Prague. Even though I gained a lot of experience, working with renown brands and learning from famous fashion designers, I wasn’t happy with the status quo.
I wanted to live a more fulfilling life and I wasn’t going to waste another minute. While still having the store, I began drawing, sketching and inventing. Whatever inspired me, I redesigned it.
Eventually I designed a fashion watch, had it manufactured in China and submitted it to an international design award. To my and everybody’s surprise, I won and so began my journey as a professional industrial designer. At around the same time, my art was evolving, I participated in my first art exhibition in Prague.
Up to that point, I hadn’t painted anything in my life, so it was an exciting challenge for me and lead me to start painting. When I picked up a brush and started laying down the paint, I felt like I was born to do that. Right after that, I moved to Barcelona and soon, Miroslavo was born and so were the first canvas paintings.
A: What is the current focus of the business?
M: To build a consistent client base both for services and products. In industrial design and until now it was mostly one client, one project at a time. The focus is now to expand that capacity.
I have also started receiving commissions for artwork – people want me to use my style of painting but with their symbolism in mind, so I will focus on growing clientele in that field as there is a demand for it and I enjoy collaborating with clients. Also, having a substantial amount of original artwork available, the focus will be to sell it and develop multiple sales channels.
A: What is the start-up scene like in Barcelona?
M: It’s truly amazing. Barcelona is a very creative and dynamic city with a lot of cultural heritage and it really inspires you to do something. Plus, the location of the city, being near the sea as well as the mountains, and the sunny weather attract a lot of people to start something from here, whether it’s to join a startup or to start it.
A: What drives your mission to work on projects that embrace design and sustainability principles?
M: The need to do something good for humanity and our planet. To be a part of something bigger than myself but also to integrate new knowledge and be on the cutting edge of things. I want to live with the feeling that I’m doing the right thing and using my life for the greater good while enjoying the perks of doing so.
A: You have been working with TAPP Water S.L. to develop new product concepts and improve existing products, as well as packaging work. Do you enjoy contributing creatively throughout the design and manufacturing process? Do you find it challenging to balance some of practical aspects with some of the creative aspects?
M: Very much so. It makes me happy and really satisfied that sustainable companies like TAPP Water that reduce plastic pollution through their products repeatedly ask me to solve design problems, because I have the opportunity to use my talents.
I enjoy the manufacturing processes too, because it’s when the ideas and concepts are turning closer to reality. But most importantly I have another opportunity to solve problems and apply my extensive knowledge of art, design, engineering, marketing, business and sustainability to the process of product design and development.
A: What percentage of your time is spent as a designer and inventor and how much time do you spend painting?
M: It depends, but normally I would say designer at 60%, painter at 30% and inventor at 10%.
A: How do you think your practice will continue to evolve in 2021?
M: I think that I’m going to collaborate with new clients, groups and communities which are passionate about driving a social change, innovation and sustainability. I’m planning to invest significant time into self-development and education on these matters, so that along with the new collaborations will help me gain a deeper insight and develop my practice and knowledge further.
I’m also going to continue working on my own products and painting new canvases while innovating my techniques, tools, style, and expressing what I have to say in a more literal way while still maintaining the abstract nature of my artwork.
Last, but not least, I plan to close new business collaborations in 2021 that will grow the business further and open doors for new horizons.
All images are courtesy of Miroslavo.
The work of Miroslavo appears in the Artists’ Directory in Issue 99 of Aesthetica. Click here to visit our online shop.