50 years ago, artist John Krajicek, nine years old, and took home first place in his elementary school’s art contest. 50 years later, he held his first art show.
“It’s something that has always been with me, the need to create, the love for art,” Krajicek said. “But painting is just something I’ve dabbled in over the years. I never even considered doing something like an exhibit, until maybe a year, two years ago.”
Inspired by local Bryan-College Station artists, Krajicek began to paint again. He had his first art show in March, displaying his paintings at the Village Café in Bryan.
For his third show, Krajicek’s paintings will be featured in the SEAD Gallery’s “Abstract Expressionist Texas” exhibit, which opens this Thursday, June 16. The show also features artist Thomas Cavaness, and will stay in the gallery until August 13.
“I’m very thrilled about this exhibit and opening, and happy to be sharing it with Thomas,” Krajicek said. “I think he’s a fine painter, and I hope people turn out and enjoy what they see.”
The abstract expressionist art movement began in the United States after World War II, when a collective of artists sought to create with deeper substance and impact than the realist paintings of their predecessors held. Krajicek said he’s been drawn to abstract art from the time he was a child, intrigued by the mystery of the style.
“A beautiful painting of a sunset, or a bowl of fruit or something is incredible, you know it’s an incredible feat, but I feel, standing in front of a painting like that, I understand it. There’s not a lot of mystery to me,” Krajicek said. “But when you stand in front of a something by Joan Mitchell or one of the abstracts, like a William DeKooning, that mystery, that lack of ability to understand it, it always drew me, always compelled me.”
Krajicek paints in his office in his house, keeping his brushes and paints out and ready for use the moment inspiration strikes. When it does strike, Krajicek said that it often seems out of the blue.
“Now I don’t think that’s how it actually happens,” Krajicek said. “I think the creative process involves working your ass off, trying and trying and failing, and somewhere beneath the conscious, something is bubbling, something is happening, and then suddenly it comes out. And when it comes out, that’s when it seem like it arrives out of left field.”
Painting in an abstract style allows for unique methods of interaction with the mediums themselves. When uninhibited by the boundaries of creating something recognizable, the artist is free to dance with the paint as they please.
“There’s this feeling of, just getting something on the canvas and then responding to that, so it’s this, it’s almost like a battle,” Krajicek said. “Battle is a strong word, [it’s] a tension of responding to what’s there and responding to that and responding to that, and especially when you’re painting something abstract.”
Krajicek is also a member of the band Leavenworth, and relates the songwriting process to the painting process in the sense that a “flow state” is optimal for creativity.
“When it’s working well, [there’s] the feeling of it coming out of nowhere,” Krajicek said. “There’s a sense of that flow state, when you get into that state of creating, [and] you’re completely absorbed in the present moment. There’s no thinking about yesterday, or even five minutes ago, or what will happen later, but just really in the present moment.”
Krajicek’s paintings will be featured in the SEAD Gallery’s “Abstract Expressionist Texas” exhibit from June 16 to August 13. The show also features artist Thomas Cavaness, who you can learn more about here.