In the studio with Jan Kalab

We are excited to introduce the brilliant Jan Kalab to Rhodes Contemporary Art. 

 

As a graffiti pioneer in his native Czech Republic made his name in the late 90s. 

As his work developed, he found a new way to push his own limits and challenge himself by making 3-D Graffiti. Under the name of Point, he sculpted huge abstract letters he chose to put in the streets and on the walls. This was another form of graffiti, in daylight, and without a spray, but truthful to the spirit of competition and innovation of the urban scene.

In turn, these sculptures lead him to experiment with more abstract sculptural forms, a path he’s been exploring through canvas from 2007, using acrylic painting and brushes.

 

We asked Jan a couple of questions on his work, ahead of our Summer Group Show which will feature his work, and also a solo show, his first in London, in 2020.

 

I understand you were a big part of the Czech graffiti scene for a long time, how has your time in graffiti influenced your gallery work?
 
Difficult to talk about my own influences. I would say my work is aestetic, colourfull and dynamic. The question is if is it because of the graffiti influence. I think it is more about personality. What I’m pretty sure about what graffiti gave me is working ethic. Work hard, producing more bring better results.
 
 
You are renowned for your use of colour, what inspires your colour choices and combinations?
 
A lot of things. Sky and nature are the biggest inspiration. It is fascinating what kind of colour combinations you can find, how the colour tones change by different light. At the same time I feel somehow limited by the colour scheme. I wish there could be discovered some totally new colour one has never seen. It is some kind of my dream.
 
 
Your works have such a beautiful finish, how do you create your works? What is the process?
 
If we talk about my paintings. It begins by drawing a shape with a pencil. Than creating the custom stretcher frame, stretching a canvas, putting white gesso on it. After that comes the fun part of painting. I use to paint all brush, now I spray with a spray gun a lot. It gives me the possibility to play with shading. Use some delicate tones you don’t need to necessary discover right away. And of course I enjoy to put some brush lines to the paintings if needed. Once the painting is finished I spray transparent varnish over.
 
 
What do you hope the viewer takes from your work?
 
My work is obviously not narative. It is emotional. I’m trying to transfer an universal emotion which could be understood by anyone, even by an alien. I believe it’s possible to work very abstract, but create concrete feelings or recall certain memories. Same as flavour.
 
 
For more information on Jan Kalab's work and to register your interest in his upcoming projects with Rhodes Contemporary Art, email info@rhodescontemporaryart.com.
 
March 15, 2019