Let us introduce you to the special minicollection Rataj Art x HF created in collaboration with a young pop-artist Josef Rataj. It is a range of men´s tees with unique prints. Each of the designs was firstly painted on the canvas. That is what makes Palette T-shirt, Cruiser T-shirt and Rage T-shirt real originals. Do you wonder how the whole collabo came into being? Keep on reading and you will learn more.
Josef Rataj is a young painter from Pilsen, whose work cannot remain unnoticed! How comes? Josef devotes his creations entirely to pop-art style! He absolutely fell in love with it during his stay in the US that had a great impact on his further work. As it is typical for him, he jumped head over heels to this challenge and soon gained new skills and experience. Thanks to them, he found his place on the contemporary Czech art scene. He masters speed painting on large scale canvas, which unleashes an amazing show. His performances are accompanied by music and dance so his version of pop-art is not only a visual experience! There is so much more to say about his work! Read through our interview and learn more about this collabo.
All designs appearing in Rataj Art x HF collection were originally painted on the canvas. How did you come up with the idea of using these three motives as prints on T-shirts?
Yep, it was exactly like that. At first, I painted all the prints from this minicollection on canvas using acrylic colors. That is what makes them real originals with their own stories behind. This is what I see as essential difference as compared to the common PC graphics that gives raise to the majority of current prints.
So what is the story behind Palette, Cruiser and Rage designs? What was your inspiration?
My personal favorite is the print of Palette T-shirt. Because its abstractive look merging pop-art is very close to my signature work led entirely by emotions and perceptions of the world surrounding me. Next two designs, Cruiser and Rage, unite one activity that we both, me and Horsefeathers, love – skateboarding. This time, uncharacteristically for HF, it was approached by my pop-art style. All the prints also show my passion for adrenalin. I love this feeling and I can say it is something that motivates all my action in life.
How does your creative process differs when creating your painting on canvas compared to transferring it on the T-shirt?
I need to draw my painting bit simpler, to make it applicable to the T-shirt. But it still retains the style typical for pop-art. Of course the print needs to contain fewer colors compared to the canvas. But the creative process and the pop-art element remain yet the same.
How did you enjoy your collabo with Horsefeathers?
This collabo represents a fulfilled dream to me. The idea of having some of my designs in HF collection emerged many years ago. The reason was obvious. Not only wear I the clothing of this brand my entire life, but also I have a close connection to Pilsen from where Horsefeathers comes. I love the opportunity to connect the brand with the world of pop-art a bit. In the US I spotted pop-art interfering with the fashion and I think this connection has bright future ahead. Sure thing is that Rataj Art x HF collection is truly exceptional for its unrepeatability. It is limited by this moment so if you miss your chance now, you won´t ever have any possibility to gain any of these items again.
Your signature work is closely connected to speed painting. Can you tell us what exactly is it and how does it look like in the real life?
Artistic technique called speed painting is nothing more than painting in limited time. The artist is given some specific period of time to finish the work. In my case the limit is usually around three or four minutes, in which I am able to finish the painting on large scale canvas. I began with this technique in clubs and I painted usually portraits of famous singers, Hollywood stars or sportsmen. I soon noticed it draws a big attention so I wanted to push it further. At the moment I perform as the forerunner of music shows where I paint portrait of the given interpret, barehanded without any template. Just to add, the canvas rotates all the time.
Wow, this is what we call adrenalin! How did you come up with an idea of painting in front of the big audition?
I was driven by the need to show my work immediately. I didn´t want to paint something with oil colors and wait for the reaction till the time I put my piece to some exhibition. Here we go again with my beloved adrenalin. It is a driving force of my work.
During your performances you bring together painting and dance. How does it look like?
Yes, you´re right. My intention is to interconnect a trio art – dance – music. This is what fills up the entire performance with energy and contributes to the atmosphere in which I love to create my works. Our crew is called Colores Heroes and my role at the stage is to be a director who controls his colors. Each of them has its mission that needs to be accomplished together in the interplay with the others and it helps me to finish the piece. The entire show is inspired by my dreams, watching the world around me and of course by American pop-art.
It sounds almost unbelievable! Do you have something up your sleeve for your show in Pilsen? It will take place on June the 17th and you will officially introduce Rataj Art x HF minicollection there.
We can´t wait for our show in Pilsen not only because I love the city, but it will be also the first performance of our current formation there. I give you a hint you can look forward to a lot of acrobatics and the show will leave you speechless. Come and you´ll see by yourself.
Ok, it will be definitely worth coming! Tell us something more about the way how you get down to painting. We know that you´ve stayed for some time in the US. How did you get to the United States and what influence did this have on your further work?
Maybe I will inspire someone by this story… so I will say it honestly. Whole story begun with me hanging around, I didn’t know what to do and my life wasn’t going in the right direction. I knew I need to something with it. I felt an immense desire to paint and thanks to the fact my grandpa was an academic painter, I dare to say that I also have talent for it. I just needed some push and the journey to the US helped me in making the move. At first I was driven by urge to meet new places and faces. Later on I realised that this place is of a great importance for me and I always love to come back. I approach some of the locals and we established friendly ties together, which had a crucial impact on my work. I can say I found myself in L.A. I also spent some time homeless on Venice beach and this helped me to realise my further direction in life. I deeply believe that the art is in everyone. In US I started to paint and I gave up everything what has been making my world till that time. I sacrificed everything to get where I am now but my journey is still not coming to an end. The rest is still unwritten.
Pretty intense inspiration for your work…
Inspiration for me is everything what surrounds me. It is spontaneity, everyday life, feelings and emotions. Artistically I derive my works from combination of pop-art and abstract art, I am inspired by foreign art scenes and of course I have to mention the iconic Andy Warhol.
Thank you for this interview. Tell us one last thing – where can we meet you and what are your plans for the summer?
You can see me during any event connected to Drive House, which is a project I am closely cooperating on with producers of Drive show on Ocko TV. I consider it to be my home for now and I strongly believe this will be the place where all my crucial works will originate. I would love to catch up with you also during some of my workshops, where I can teach you how to do speed painting. As for my plans for the summer, I will have a lot of performances, for example you can see me on Votvirak music festival together with a rapper Sharlota. Right now we´re introducing a performance called The Little prince in Rock Opera Praha. But one of my most anticipated shows takes place on June the 17th in Olympia, Pilsen. I can’t wait to introduce you to the Rataj Art x HF collection! This is going to be huge! I hope I’ll see you all there!