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A Magazine for Sheffield

Robert Proch: Land Without Footprints

We’ve been passing Robert Proch’s work back and forth between the Now Then team for over a year now, trying to find a slot for him in the mag. With the opening of his new solo exhibition, Land Without Footprints, at Lazarides Rathbone in London, it seemed like the perfect time. What continues to fascinate us about Robert’s work is the sense of constant movement captured in a single frame. His newest work is somehow more complex, with figures swallowed up in a matrix of colours and shapes. We caught up with him via email from his native Poland. How did you get started as an artist? It’s hard to find a precise beginning actually. Since I can remember art was a natural pleasure - doodling on paper, books, pictures or my grandparents’ wallpaper. Nothing has changed really. I hope it will continue. How do you plan your murals? In a way they look quite digital, even though they are painted. Nowadays it has become a less precise process. There’s a general idea, sketched on a piece of paper with a rough colour plan (these usually have to be organised earlier). The main figures and movements show up on a wall directly from this small sketch. The rest is developed in process. You get better results with each new wall when you start to consider accident and intuition as tools. What techniques are important to your paintings? I work only with acrylics and some touches of spray paint on walls. With my studio work I work only with acrylics. So far I haven’t lost interest in these materials and techniques. I’m still curious about what might be found. How do you spend your days? Regular days are based around the studio and my family and friends. I like routine and rhythm when it comes to studio time. When working on a painting I need some kind of peace. Of course, from time to time this needs to be crushed. This happens when I start work on a wall or go on another kind of trip. Getting some kind of experience – go, see, meet – then back to the routine again. How has your approach to art changed over the years? It became my regular job at some point. No better thing could have happened. Are you still doing animations? You can really see the influence that animation has had on your murals and canvases. I got my animation experience from the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. I have to admit, it’s one of the major influences I feel in my painting. I was working in this medium around 2005-2012. I was seriously dedicated to it, pushing painting away a bit. I considered being a filmmaker focused on short animation, but over the years it became too heavy to continue. You’re in front of a computer for hours and hours, day by day. It had to crack at some point. Jumping back to painting with both feet was like a breath of fresh air, but my paintings would look totally different if not for this experience. What are your favourite outdoor places to paint? If the weather is great and people around are kind, everywhere is great to spend time, but I miss painting in abandoned areas as I used to do years ago. Tell us about your new solo exhibition, Land Without Footprints, at Lazarides Rathbone in London. I started on this set around June/July. We spent almost half a year settling the final date. The show theme is focused around digitalised environments and relationships between people. I’ve moved one more step into abstract feeling with these paintings. The whole set contains 15 acrylic canvases. This exhibition was originally supposed to be at The Outsiders in London. They decided to close the label in the middle of preparation, but at the same moment they offered me their first-floor experimental space at Rathbone. It turned out to be a great move. The show looked way better in this space. Attendance was way above my expectations. Crazy evening. I’m happy. Good advice you wish you'd been told earlier? Don’t care so much about what other people think or say about you. [imagebrowser id=53] )

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