DJG member Petra Bishai interviews new designer Mirka Janeckova, who is exhibiting with us now at the Barbican Centre.
PB: Your work has an organic, freeform and sea-like quality. Where does your inspiration come from?
MJ: I wanted to create a unique style of work and I spent a lot of time considering how to achieve this. I decided rather than looking at objects that already existed to look at internal sources of inspiration.
I was drawn to Surrealism and their methodology. In particular they used techniques such as automatic drawing and collage to inspire their work. Through my research I created my own version of automatic drawing.
PB: What is automatic drawing and how do yourself prepare for it?
MJ: I cut myself off from outside influences and draw what comes into my head. It’s like a stream of consciousness and actually quite a natural state for me.
Sometimes I have some random sketches or a photograph that I use as my starting point. I see shapes in my mind and translate them into drawings. For my materials I use dark papers with white watercolours and pencils. I know that my thoughts are not completely cut off from outside ideas but what I’m trying to do is to avoid any direct influences.
PB: When does your conscious mind come into your creative process?
MJ: When I move into my design process and look at technical issues. For instance the decision to use porcelain and silver was a deliberate one.
PB: How have your drawings changed since you started automatic drawing in 2013?
MJ: They have always been organic. People, just as you have done, often comment on the drawings being marine-like but for me the drawings are not related to this although all life comes from the sea.
PB: Coming from a land locked country, The Czech Republic, do you think you have an internal longing for the sea?
MJ: Yes for me there was always a magical notion of the sea and it was a symbol of freedom. I didn’t experience the sea until I was twenty. Maybe that’s why I have chosen to live on an island for the past eight years!
In order to explain her process Mirka brought along the tools of her trade and invited Catherine Hendy and me to try out automatic drawing. Both of us felt quite nervous about the experience and wondered what our drawings may reveal. We both chose to use sheets upon which Mirka had already placed some random marks. It took a while to get into the process but we did enjoy trying it out and in the end I didn’t want to stop, it was almost addictive. Here are the results of our first trial.
I love Mirka’s forms and her use of materials. In the future she plans to work with opaqueness and use light with the porcelain, which I am really looking forward to seeing.