“What fascinates me the most about optical illusions is their logical basis and the hidden jokes.”
Šimon Kučera is a Slovak abstract artist based in Bratislava, and he discovered his focus on geometric abstraction during his education in the art academy. Šimon is currently in his last year at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, where he also received his Bachelor's in painting.
In many of Šimon’s works, he explores human existence in the digital realm, which he deems an important aspect of modern human lives. His work is built upon composition, colours, and shapes. With these, viewers can often find the presence of optical illusion in Šimon’s work. His goal is to explore new display possibilities that transcend the conventional representations that we have today.
Q. What did you study at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava? How do you think your education influenced you in your artistic career?
At the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, I studied in the department of Painting and Other Media in the 4. Studio of Professor Ivan Csudai. I was most influenced by my professor, who supported me in exploring the medium of painting and my handwriting. Thanks to this approach, I had the opportunity to search and discover my personal visual language throughout my studies.
Q. What was your exploration of the arts like? And what led you to settle with geometric abstraction eventually?
In my first year at the Academy, I dealt with various painting styles and technologies. I was most interested in airbrush technology, which I persisted with for two years. During this period, I only created artworks with this technique. This process resulted in a remarkable series of painting with raster optics.
After two years of creating these abstract and non-concrete abstractions in natural visuality, a turning point came when I started to complete these works with geometric elements that I created using stencils. That was when I was enchanted by the power and mystery of geometric shapes.
Q. You seem to be very inspired by the digital environment. Could you share more about your understanding of it and how it translates into your art?
As someone who was born in the 90s, I was naturally fascinated by the world of digital technologies. I grew up with the birth of social networks and the building of web 2.0. I have always been fascinated by the aesthetics and complexity of this environment. I think that these factors have influenced my work.
The fact that I create my works with traditional painting techniques presents a kind of grasping the virtual environment into the real world. The so-called grasping of the ungraspable/virtual.
Q. Could you share with us your process of creating each artwork?
Every single work, whether a painting or a graphic, is carefully designed and planned before the actual implementation.
Before the creation of each work, there must come an idea or a key moment behind the creation of the image. Subsequently, this idea is processed in the computer as a sketch. The next step is determining the parameters of the work, choosing materials, colours and approach to realization. After these steps, I proceed to the realisation stage, from stretching the canvas, applying the prime layer, creating the painting itself with the addition of airbrush shaded effects to the final varnishing.
Q. You also seem to be playing with optical illusions. Could you tell us more about your fascination with it?
I have always been fascinated by optical illusions. From the noble forms we know from Renaissance art to the optical illusions incorporated in collector's game cards. What fascinates me the most about optical illusions is their logical basis and the hidden jokes.
Q. Your works are mostly very vibrant in colour. What is your approach to colour selection?
I have always been fascinated by the works of the modernists. Especially painters from the Fauvism artistic direction. What fascinated me the most about their works was the work with the unconventional alternation of colours. The approach of these painters is probably transferred to my thinking and perception of the colours.
Q. You mentioned that you are exploring new display options. Could you tell us what your exploration was like and what you discovered?
As a visual artist, but above all as a painter, I instinctively approached classic forms such as the square and rectangle as the bearers of my themes. It was the digital environment and dealing with virtual images that helped me free my subjects into new display possibilities. Thanks to this handling, I discovered a new composition building and approach to colour.
Q. You are also working with graphics and sculpture. How do you like them compared to painting?
In addition to my work in the studio, where I mainly focus on painting, I also create side projects that could complete my work. In terms of graphics, I mostly focus on the technology of screen printing and risograph. Sculptural works are still at a research level. I try to combine different technological approaches. For example: 3D printing, casting and welding.
Q. Do you have the proudest piece of artwork to share?
I probably wouldn't be able to choose a specific work. However, I feel a certain amount of pride in several projects I managed to create. I would certainly mention my last collaboration on collaborative artworks with my professor Ivan Csudai, which were exhibited at his exhibition MMXXII in the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum in Bratislava. Another collaboration that I am proud of is the long-term collaboration between me and the artistic duo Ondrash and Kasparek from Czech Republic, with whom I have already created several joint works.
Collaboration with Ivan Csudai
Q. Are you open to trying new mediums in the future?
Of course. I am very attracted to working with industrial materials such as aluminum, steel and plexiglass - with which I would like to use to create monumental works for public spaces.
Q. Could you describe your work in 3 words?
Innovations, perfectionism, rationality