Artist talk with Martin Kacmarek

'Cigarette', 2021,
Acrylic, oil and airbrush on canvas

50x50cm

Tell us about yourself.

I am 24 yo and born in Spišská Nová Ves in eastern Slovakia. I graduated from a secondary woodworking school- the department of promotional art, where we designed exhibitions and various commercial spaces. I took a break for a year  after school and later I applied to the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica where I am currently finishing my last year. As the school is still closed due to pandemic measures, I work in a shared studio with my girlfriend and friends. My current interest is painting, agriculture and cycling. I am very close to agriculture, `I grew up in a farm, where we picked potatoes, sowed in the fields, mowed grain and ordinary farm works. During elementary school, as kids, my friend and I used to track down agricultural machinery and we wanted farmers to take us for a ride on their machines. I even remember one incident when my friend and I drove a truck during a pea harvest and our parents had no idea where we were all day long . We also wanted to call the police while we were driving a truck and eating peas for lunch.

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Where did your passion for art begin?

I remember that when I was about six years old, my father taught me to draw a three-dimensional cube. I really enjoyed my father drawing various tractors, farms, still life behind the village and so on. That's when I started drawing, I imitated his drawings of tractors, until it was similar to his drawing. Later I drew various portraits, custom paintings, you know. In 2012, I started high school, where I started to devote myself more to art, we had figural drawing there, where I went to draw even after class ended. My classmate then introduced me to graffiti, and I really liked it and broadened my artistic horizons. I enjoyed painting and drawing the

'Mi o del tut arakhel belavo o bučaris', 2021,
Acrylic, oil and airbrush on canvas

180X190cm

landscape, views of the village and various scenery, so I began to devote myself fully to painting in the open air. I didn't know how to paint with oil paints, I often diluted oil paints with oil on my mother's hair, I didn't have a stand, so I often painted on my knees or I made the stand from wood. I liked it when I painted for dinner, the sky changed quickly and I had to paint quickly to capture it as it is, I painted and sometimes I didn't even know what I was actually painting, I only found out when I turned on the light at home. Of course, I also did graffiti, I took it as part of the plein air and interaction with nature and the environment.

How would you describe your work to someone?

I will describe it in one word "strange mix of hobbies“.

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'Narek', 2021.

Acrylic, oil and airbrush on canvas 

50x50cm

What are you currently working on?

I am currently studying for the final exams, fighting against pointless school systems, working on exhibitions, also working on my music EP but most of all I am painting, currently working on smaller formats and starting a new series of portraits of farmers or agricultural workers who are sometimes harmless and sometimes angry.

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?

I never say to myself, now is the right time to do a new series or, now I'm going for a new painting, sometimes I move around the studio around canvases with paint and brush and spontaneously paint shapes, rotate the painting and look for a shape that suits me for a portrait or figure . I don't like to plan things when I'm planning something, I'm so happy about it, but when I do, it's disappointing. Therefore, I prefer spontaneity and process. I like when a painting is created from "nothing" than when it is created from a sketch, I consider it a total sincerity of the moment. I work on several paintings simultaneously, I run from one to the other.

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

I have a lot of influences, my friends around me, computer simulators such as "Farming Simulator" I consume game aesthetics and filter it into my handwriting. I am also influenced by the instagram, various pages, agro magazines or local farmers and farm workers. I take influence as a fulfilment, without influence I probably wouldn't be able to work, I encounter questions like the internet and today's possibilities influence people to evil, or they deliberately avoid it from being influenced, but it should not be taken as a tragedy but look at it from positive page. Even if a person is not influenced by instagram, for example, he is influenced by something else, everyone perceives it differently, I perceive it as a source of inspiration, not only for artistic activity but also with bizarre agro photographs.

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MiKuno, 2021,
Acrylic, oil and airbrush on canvas

50x50cm

What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

I am planning to complete my driver's license for a tractor and truck. But of course I am planning exhibitions and one residence, you will be able to see my work at exhibitions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, and something is going to LA, but I will not continue, you will find out more on my instagram.