Martin Kalanda Interview

By Jason Clay Lewis | December 19, 2019
Untitled #4 (Stateless), 2019, Ink an acrylic on illustration board, 30" x 20"

Untitled #4 (Stateless), 2019, Ink an acrylic on illustration board, 30" x 20"

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Czechoslovakia. My family left and became political refugees in the early 80's. After spending a few months in a refugee camp in Austria we moved to New York. Have been here ever since working in art, film and advertising.

How did you first become interested in art and why you decided to become an artist?

Film was always my way into art. Everything about film making from per-production concepting, to the music, fascinated me as a kid. It was the work of art directors I didn't even know of from film makers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg that really made me want to create art.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I would draw and design scenes from 80's and 90's movies and that's where I developed most of my artistic skills both digital and analog. I probably had a handful of sketch books filled with Jurassic Park drawings.

What other artists have been inspirational to you in your work?

I was greatly influenced by filmmakers like Scorsese, Spielberg, Nolan, Cohen Brothers, Tarantino and cinematographers like Roger Deakins and Janusz Kamiński. In the world of fine art I always loved Chuck Close, James Terrell and the photography of William Eggleston and Stephen Shore.

Untitled #1 (Stateless), 2019, Ink an acrylic on illustration board, 40" x 30"

What can you tell us your work is about and a bit about your creative process?

My latest work is about dissidents, refugees and statelessness, the ever moving and shifting faces of the worlds migrants. I have been experimenting with using very simple illustration techniques and a combination of stream of consciousness and thoughtful detail work to create abstract portraits of an every changing dissident population.

Where can we see your work and any other projects you are working on?

Right now my latest work is at and on my Instagram @martinkalanda

Untitled #2 (Stateless), 2019, Ink an acrylic on illustration board, 40" x 30"

What has been your most amazing moment you have experienced as an artist?

This is always changing: from working as an Art Director for huge clients to having art shows in NYC. I once sold a piece for a few grand so that was nice!

How did you get involved and what has it been like being part of The Royal @ RSOAA?

I'm the Co-founder ;) We created the space to build a small community of artist and try to help each other build our work and visibility in the art world.

The Royal List Profile: Martin Kalanda