Artist Spotlight: Andrej Dúbravský

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com June 11 2011 3:00 AM ET

 Slovakian artist Andrej Dúbravský was born in 1987. Since 2008 he has been studying at the University of Fine Arts in Bratislava. In his large-scale works Dúbravský explores controversial themes, examining intergenerational relationships; elements of submission, coercion, and complicity; popular porn, S/M., etc. Dúbravský handles his work with irony and wit. He counters his wet-on-wet traditional technique with more brutal and experimental painting. With his playfulness, allusions, and mixing of styles he creates a new world that features not only rabbits and humans but also the various props and absurd situations in which the heroes find themselves. Upcoming shows: "Boys Toys," Czulosc gallery, Warsaw; "Volta Show," Basel, Switzerland.
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The Advocate: Why are you an artist?
Andrej Dúbravský: Nobody asked if I want to be an artist. I suppose I have always been ... but now I'll have a diploma from school. (Hope I'll be more attractive with it for the guys in the bars.)

What catches your eye?
Now I am very interested in puberty, maturating, and the culture of teenagers. It's fascinating me how I move away from it — it's kind of depressive but very inspiring! Also I always loved to paint simple aquarell [watercolor] faces; you can sometimes express everything in one portrait.

Tell us about your process or techniques.
I just switch on my iPod and I can start to paint with acrylic or oil colors, usually. I use photographic sources like cheap porn or use my own library. When you see it on the canvas mixed with my life and acrylic, there's a brand new meaning suddenly — that's what I love in painting or art in general.

How do you choose your subjects?
It's like "I have to paint this right now!" It's more about passion — I try to use my mind like a filter, but passion leads my brush.

How do you describe your work?
There are plenty of art theorists — let them do the work!

What makes a good artwork to you?
Good artwork has to irritate me, attract me. It doesn't matter if it´s a painting or performance or video. I just have to feel I want to see and know more about it.

What artists do you take inspiration from and why?
I really love Rembrandt because of his self-portraits. Fragonard, Watteau — their romantic, intimate landscapes. I am fascinated by traditional painting which is about subtle lights, atmosphere, and facial expressions. Of course, there are a lot of artists from this century I like, for example: Lady Gaga and Hannah Montana (ha ha).

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