Filip Gyurkovský contemporary artist

Exploring Mortality and the Ephemeral with Filip Gyurkovský

Filip Gyurkovský is an emerging artist who started his artistic journey at a very early age.  In 2017 he moved to Barcelona and started working on his art career, focusing on the exploration of mortality and the ephemeral.

His artwork is a view into the unknown—abstract portraits with a realistic fragment. He uses texture to add complexity and mystery to his work.

We sat down with Filip to learn more about his artistic journey and his current body of work.

Tell us a little bit about where you grew up. Were you interested in art from an early age?

I grew up in Czech Republic and during that time I moved all over the country. It is a cliché to say, but I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I admired the older kids that drew things I really liked and that inspired me to try too. When I was little I loved drawing cars and planes. 

Around the age of 11 I discovered the fantasy genre, which swallowed me whole ever since. For a time, I dreamt my future path could be in the game industry where I could do concept art or illustrations, so I went to study computer design and drawing. After graduating, my aim was to improve my drawing, so I studied at the University of Ostrava in their drawing department. Unbeknownst to me, this department was heavily focused on contemporary art and using drawing as a tool for communication. Studying there flipped my whole perception of art upside down and got me interested in contemporary art.

Elisa by Filip Gyurkovský
Elisa by Filip Gyurkovský

Did where you grew up have an affect on your art?

More than the places, it was the people I met in different cities. When I moved from the capital, where everything felt uptight, and moved to a city that was hugely open to art, that gave me encouragement to do more daring things and not to follow the crowd.

What are your favorite themes or motifs in your artwork and why?

I really enjoy the sense of uncertainty that I achieve in my portraits. I think it gives my paintings a kind of mystery that can raise questions and feelings inside the viewer. I especially enjoy adding the last component of my painting which is a realistic fragment that is often represented by an eye and brings the whole painting to life. 

What are you passionate and curious about?

Overall, I love figurative expressionism and I am interested in anatomy. The human body is fascinating and very natural to us. However, my main passion is the fantasy genre. I love to draw orcs, skeletons, witches, etc.. But as I mentioned before, following my university studies, these themes started to feel too figurative and illustrative. So with my current paintings, I feel like I am combining these passions together, my love for fantasy and more expressive depiction.

portrait by Filip Gyurkovský
Face 2 by Filip Gyurkovský

Why did you come to Barcelona to live?

During my studies at University I had the opportunity to join Erasmus and I chose Barcelona as my destination. While doing Erasmus at the Universitat de Barcelona I met wonderful people and my girlfriend. That is why I finished my last year of university in Czech, got my degree and moved to Spain. 

Can you tell us about your current body of work?

In my current paintings I focus on working with an expressive figurativism, which I achieve by using an abstract tangle of strokes and thick layers of paint into which I incorporate a realistic fragment that serves as an anchor for the viewer’s eye. All together they are creating personifications of things that might worry us individually.

How does your work make people feel?

My artworks usually make people feel unsettled. The idea is to create a visually pleasing portrait that should evoke feelings of uncertainty inside the viewer. Therefore the results vary. Some people find it aesthetically pleasing without seeing anything further, or just the opposite. 

Chiquita by Filip Gyurkovský
Chiquita by Filip Gyurkovský

What challenges have you faced as an artist?

I think that the main issue is that I don’t take a mainstream approach to my artwork. I find that people might not understand what I’m trying to say with my art or even like the style that I use. Although everything has its audience, sometimes it is hard to find, and that can be a little discouraging. 

The biggest challenge I am currently facing is finding places to exhibit. I have a feeling that many galleries in Barcelona are oriented to a single style and do not accept anything different. The worst thing about that is that the variety of styles that the galleries exhibit here is very limited, therefore the art world feels a bit elitist and closed.

Where can people learn more about you and your artwork?

You can find me on Instagram (@filip_gyurk) and my website (filipgyurkovsky.com) where you can see my paintings, read more about my artworks and be notified about next exhibitions so you can visit my paintings in person.

Thank you Filip!

Thank you 🙂

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