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Artist Spotlight

 Artist Spotlight: Andrej Dúbravský

 Artist Spotlight: Andrej Dúbravský


Young men and rabbits portray the complex rituals and events of growing up. And then there are some pugs.

Slovakian artist Andrej Dubravsky was born in 1987. Since 2008 he has been studying at the University of Fine Arts in Bratislava. In his large-scale works Dubravsky explores controversial themes, examining intergenerational relationships; elements of submission, coercion, and complicity; popular porn, S/M., etc. Dubravsky 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.

The Advocate: Why are you an artist?
Andrej Dubravsky: 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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