„Be brave. No, be superbrave. The world will try to shape you and change you and make you fit one template and it is very easy to agree to all this. But be careful that you do not trade yourself for others, because that is all an illusion anyway. So every time you feel a bit nervous about doing something because ‘what will others think’, be very brave. Express yourself, never mind your heart beating so fast with fear. And I promise that the more you do this, the easier it gets and the better people who stick around you are for your soul.”
With this very inspirational quote by a peculiar and energetic artist Nikol Greplová, we continue our presentation of participants in Sketchbook Station project.
Nikol Greplová was born in 1996 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Today, she lives and works in Oxford where she studies Fine Arts in Oxford Brookes University. While growing up, Nikol wasn’t completely sure about her artistic capabilities and her high school teachers helped her to build up self-confidence by impelling her to practice daily. Today, university professors have a different role for her – they stimulate her to broaden her vistas, to leave her familiar comfort zone and to grow by discovering numerous possibilities of artistic expression.
Inspired by the quote by her favorite writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, „It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”, Nikol Greplová seeks to explore many stories hidden behind a seemingly ordinary person, appearance or object. It is only when the observer fathoms a secondary meaning of the artwork, hidden behind first impression that attracts us to a specific piece, that communication between artist and audience begins.
Nikol Greplová’s artistic expression is primarily based on depicting of human figure. Inspired by experiences, struggles and joys of human life, she uses aspects of daily existence as a starting metaphor for examining depth, intricacy and meaning of life.
This young artist’s main endeavor is to establish communication with the audience and to receive feedback, either in the form of observer’s connection with the artwork or by inducing emotions. To accomplish this, Nikol usually sets out from personal experience which becomes a trigger for a new topic, then she elaborates on a universal topic familiar to everyone. Generally reflecting on people, the artist concludes that all of us have the same uncertainties, fears and secrets we reluctantly discuss. Right here lies a unique capability of art – it communicates without judging, i.e. it doesn’t point fingers, rather it unites.
Creative process of Nikol Greplová resembles a typical course of human life. Although an artwork is preceded by creating and elaborating the plan, often unexpected things occur during the process and an individual is forced to follow his instincts and believe he will make the best out of it. However, even if he fails, sometimes a mistake should be simply allowed to gather strength to start over. Emotions present during creation include the whole spectrum of feelings, from excitement of starting something new, to panic when first problems arise, to happiness after they are surmounted, as well as usual frustration and delight of finally completing the artwork and presenting it to the audience.
In her second university year, Nikol is totally dedicated to exploring diverse artistic media to discover which expression suits her best. Working with clay, shooting video and making sound installations are only a few of more artistic modalities she has tried so far, while she has a special affinity for elements of sound, light, language and utilization of used objects as well as making of objects floating in air. In the area of sculpture and conceptual art, she currently explores the features of church candles’ wax to interpret faith and examine its necessity in our life, while in the field of illustration she’s focused on experimenting with watercolor, India ink and rapidograph in order to transform her portraits into abstraction and to accentuate expression and emotion.
Given this is an international project encompassing a broad audience, Nikol Greplová felt a strong need to communicate a very significant topic in her artwork, a topic she has recently came to grips with – the importance of taking care of oneself. All of us should be better to ourselves because the way we treat others always proceeds out of the fact how we feel and are we truly satisfied with ourselves. This thought was interpreted by Nikol through the motive of a female portrait, continuing her characteristic principle of a personal starting point becoming a universal topic. She takes the flower motive as a metaphor of a new beginning within us: a seed should be planted where we were hurt because every ending is a seed of a new beginning. The message Nikol wanted to share through her artwork is: “…be gentle, take care of your wounds and grow them into a garden, take them as a source of your beautiful strong personality”.
To find out how a renovated garden of the human soul interpreted by Nikol Greplová looks, you will have to be patient until Sketchbook Station final exhibition. Until then, we invite you to think about how much do you care about yourself and how much about others? Do you act with the idea that others will be happy if you are happy or do you sacrifice yourself for others?
You can find out more about Nikol Greplová’s art on her webpages:
Also, we invite you to meet a wonderful and diverse group of Sketchbook Station project participants we have introduced so far:
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