We introduce a new article series: Brno Expats Have Talent!
While most public events have been put on hold for a long time and it seems that no one does much – there are no concerts, performances, happenings or exhibitions – the people who have art and creativity as part of their lives are still here.
We decided to highlight them. While we might not be able to see them live, we bring a small snippet of their art to you through a short video. In the coming months, we will publish interviews with people from various fields – musicians, creative artists, dancers, performers, designers. We hope you’ll enjoy this series! Feel free to drop us a line with your feedback or suggestions of people or fields.
CARLOS LOPEZ (Peru) – photographer
Watch a video made by Carlos: “Why Photography Matters”
How long have you been practising your art? How was it visible in your home country?
I was surrounded by art all my life; my father being a sculptor was always a motivation to do something creative, first with poetry in my early teenage years and then photography when I chose it as a career in 1998 when I started my photography studies back in Peru. Since then I have been making images. My first job was in a newspaper where I mostly documented daily events (from press conferences to riots) and I did no personal work. Once here in Czechia I have been doing mainly personal work on different subjects on my initiative.
Is it your main source of income or a hobby?
It is not my hobby, it is my profession but as of now, it is not my main source of income. My “hobby” is doing that (my work as a team leader in an IT company). So I can say I make more money with my hobby than with my profession. 😀
There are two aspects in my photography, my personal work and my commercial, both very different as they serve different purposes. From the personal, I don’t expect to make money and I don’t do it for money. It is done for love and the need to express/release something regardless of what the spectator may think. The commercial part serves a customer needs and from that one yes, I get paid. Recently I just acquired a space to use as a commercial photo studio so this year I am giving a push to my photo business.
How do you find living in Brno as an expat and artist?
I find it very good. I love the punctuality of the public transport 😀 and in general I can say I haven’t had bad experiences. I think it is mainly due to the fact that I don’t expect the Czechs to change their way of being or I don’t complain why they are like this or like that, I simply accept them as they are. Learning Czech has made my life much easier as I can go to places where nobody speaks English and be almost like a local.
As an artist, I miss the art galleries being open till 20 or 21 hrs as all of them close here at 18 hrs. And there should be more of them! Seeing exhibitions in cafes is barely OK but not the best place to appreciate a painting or drawing properly.
Besides that, the proximity to Vienna is great and I like the Fait gallery which is next to Vankovka a lot.
Is it easy to practise your art here?
I think an artist can practise their craft anywhere. The only obstacle I could think of would be regarding the material (if you are a sculptor and want to work in granite, it would be expensive here, or find an audience if you are a performing artist like a singer or actor) otherwise I don’t find it hard to practice it. My work is very personal and that helps.
To clarify that, I can say that the access to art galleries/curators where to show your work is the main difficulty as it is a closed circle and breaking into it is usually through contacts but that is everywhere. There is an initiative called ExpArt which tries to give a window to foreign artists but they have been quite dormant the last two years.
How different is the audience/clients/market in the CR compared to your home country?
Hard to say. I could not give an answer as left Peru more than 12 years ago and the cultural scene has changed a lot. Last time I went back, in 2018, there were many new art galleries in Lima so that means that people want to consume (see and buy) art. Here (at least in Brno) I have not seen such growth but when I spoke to an art dealer (around spring 2019) he told me that the market was better than ever. So there are things going on but not seen.
Where do you find inspiration? Did Brno bring any new inspiration to your art?
Brno/CR has given me access to people and situations that would be hard to have in Peru (see images below) but besides that everything around has something to offer. Ideas come from books, movies, scenes you watch in the street, at work, etc. The hard work comes in twisting those ideas and trying to convert them into an image.
Stellar Sperm / Ignis Brunensis: This image is part of a series called “In a Not so Quiet Night” and was taken during the Ignis brunensis festival; we don’t have this kind of festivals in Lima.
Burnt Poetry: The image is from the series “The Solitude of Delirium“. The text is one of my poems translated into Greek. Here in Brno it is quite easy to meet people from different countries.
Do you cooperate with other expats or local Czechs?
Currently I have a couple of projects which I am now developing which involve two foreigners and a Czech organization, let’s see how it goes. Before I did the ExpArt fest in Fleda in 2016 and 2018 in gallery Schrott. Nothing else for now.
How can you practise your art now, in the strange covid times?
This can answer that question:
Is there any other area in art that you’d like to explore? What are you looking for right now?
In the long term, I have a poem which I would like to convert to a metal/rock opera, quite ambitious but doable if I associate with the right people. It has love, tragedy, philosophy and joy. Right now going back to portraits and exploring the ideas of love and desire in a new series.
What did you choose for your live input of this article and why?
It is my take on “Why photography matters.”
(scroll up to watch the video)
Photos courtesy by Carlos Lopez.