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Barbora Brezáková: You can get to know yourself through art.

July 10, 2010 by · 1 comment

Interview by Asya Draganova with Barbora Brezáková

I am happy to bring you an interview with the young artist from Slovakia, Barbora Brezáková. She is a student at Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK. This is how we met and how I first got familiar with her art… Choosing art for your profession is a big risk, but Barbora definitely possesses a talent which deserves that risk. I hope you enjoy this interview.


Thank you for accepting our interview invitation. It is great to have the opportunity to present such a young and interesting artist to our readers.
How long have you been into arts and how/when/where did it all begin?

I think it all began when I was a child, I always loved to draw…But when I was 12 I started to paint more and was also supported by my teachers and family.
There were also family problems which forced me to paint… I was driven and motivated.

What encouraged you to choose arts for your profession and what obstacles did you meet on the way?

It was a bit of an accident that I am studying art now…I studied another course in my country, and because I could not continue my studies, I decided to start all over again doing another course. This was a crucial point in my recent life, because I have always wanted to study art. I think that there is no such a thing as coincidence.

When I was 15 I stopped paining for several years, because I was not accepted in the high school specialised in arts. For me it meant something like “ If you are not good enough to be accepted in this school, you are truly not good enough, good enough to go to the Art Academy…” My country appears to me to be very competitive in terms of art education. For me there was no reason to continue if there is no prospects for me, but thanks God, I got my confidence back.


Why study in the UK? How do you feel now – two years after leaving Slovakia?

I feel OK. Actually, I had never dreamed about studying in UK. I was offered few universities where I could study and all of them were in the UK. The agency arranging this advised me to go to Canterbury because the art courses here are very good and the city is really lovely- and they were right (smiles).

How is university affecting you artistic work?

I love my department, there are lots of special people, tutors and students which I can call friends. The fact is that it’s a very supporting and friendly environment which effects me positively….it is really encouraging. There are also many things I can do: I can work in various studios ( ceramics, sculpture, print); I also do a bit of sculpture and am really enjoying sculpture. This year I did some maquettes for sculptures and also designed and made a stool ( on photos) for one project.

A stool

What are the main artistic influences on you? (in terms of styles, artists)

I don’t know, it is really difficult to say. When I started to paint, I loved Van Gough and also my work was at some point post- impressionistic. Despite my young age I didn’t draw reality that much and I instead chose surreal topics. I always tend to do something different, independent and new.

Lately, I looked at Rothko and Newman, both abstract expressionists. And also people compare some of my works to Cy Twombly’s paintings.

Barbora with her biggest work so far

If you had to describe the purpose of art in words how would you phrase it?

Art is to give. Art is to love.

What are the main topics of your works and would you class them as belonging to a particular category?

Usually, the works I make at Uni don’t have titles. I would call them spiritual if I can include all of my recent work. Actually, I paint from experience, it is important to me to have that personal tie to my art. Last year I did a “Cathedral” project, and a “Holocaust” project: those were more conceptual. My work is more automatic now, I just reflect my inner life.

What inspires you the most? What is the prism through which you look upon life?

God. To try to be human and true.


If you had to choose – what would you priority be: colour or shape?

First thought it is colour. I don’t know why, maybe because of that I am not a sculptor even though I approach ( to be ).

What materials and methods do you use in the process of creating your art works?

I do oil paintings. I would say I use gestures, I draw in the paintings with charcoal. But it really changes a lot, this year I worked much with watercolours, combined with charcoal` mixed media.


What does the future hold for a young artist like you? High hopes or fear?

There is a hope and I believe I am the right person at the right place. But, I want to stay humble…I will try to do my best and I will see.. There is lots of work to do.

What is happening in the near future? You will be in your third year soon – what follows?

I’ve started to think about an MA, probably in London.

If you free your mind completely… where would you see yourself in five years?

Creating art, exhibiting it.

When your art is bigger than you 🙂

I know you have attended an art therapy course. What did that bring to you?

The whole course brought much to me in the way you look at people’s problems and life in general.
We did many things: analyses of the drawings of abused children, people with mental health illnesses etc.

You say your works sometimes surprise you… Is art a way of getting to know yourself?

Definitely. I believe that you can effect the art you are creating and also art can effect you, it is a two sided process. You definitely can get to know yourself through art.

A detail…

What are your other passions?

Dance, yes, definitely dance and music.

Art is…

Life (laughs).. is this a psychological test, eh ?

Thanks again for this interview! Wish you luck and inspiration all the way to the top.

I thank you too.


Photos by: Zuzana Bartova

Barbora Brezáková was born on 30.01.1986 in Slovakia. She has been passionate about art since an early age. She recalls that during a German class at school the teacher asked the students to say what profession they would choose for the future. Barbora answered with no hesitation: “Die Kunsterlin”. “But that is not a real profession!” the teacher reacted.

However, Barbora kept on chasing her dream. At the age of 12 she was into crafts and drawing. She won a few junior competitions but her confidence collapsed after she was rejected from the Arts School she had applied for. Barbora’s mother supported her and believed in her daughter’s talent: Barbora tried attending various arts workshops but did not feel as if she could improve by working in a group. Art remained a hobby – she rarely created works of art but kept her interest and skills alive. She was interested in abstract, semi-figurative and ornamental art.

After high school Barbora did an Art Therapy course at University in Slovakia. In 2008 she dropped out to move to the UK and study art in Canterbury, finally making the brave decision to make art her profession.

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