Starting out as a graffiti artist on the streets of Prague, colours and their compositions have remained the most important part of Jan Kaláb’s work.
The relation to colour could not be more obvious than in a body of work called the rainbow series. Jan Kaláb’s paintings are abstract and start digitally. He plays with different hues and tones in the computer first, digital models are made. Then, the physical process begins and the entire process starts anew. You never get the same colours in real life.
Prague’s infrastructure lends itself perfectly to making art, allowing for light-flooded studio spaces where Kaláb can work, sometimes with multiple assistants at a time.
One piece can take up to a couple of days, and Kaláb is often helped by multiple assistants. Layer after layer is applied onto the canvas under the careful look of his eyes. But not all works can be made in his own studio, there are large fibreglass sculptures which the artist designs and later returns to finish the colour in a paint box. The result will be perfectly coated, shining and reflecting the light like a car fresh out the wash.
A drawing from his sketchbook is scanned, tweaked and experimented within the computer. Then, a shape is cut out from plywood and additional layers of wood are added. Lastly, the canvas is stretched and Kaláb’s hand comes into play. He doesn’t like to project the image onto the canvas – the flow depends on millimetres and isn’t about calculation alone. It’s a feeling.
Rings of meticulously selected colours run across and seemingly beyond the artist’s organically shaped canvases.