Lockdown Art Stories: Budapest Art Factory
Budapest Art Factory interview
“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said German culture minister Monika Grütters. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now”.
These lines, coming from the German government in March 2020, confirm my thoughts about the role of artists, especially now. This is why I was asking artists at Budapest Art Factory a few questions about the current situation. I was curious about how they are doing, what they are thinking, under lockdown?
If you haven’t already, sign up to the Budapest Weekly Newsletter to get updates about Budapest stories!
– How can artists in Budapest now help society? How can artists, with their creative courage, point to a better future?
– Márta: I bet if someone buys a painting from me, I will transfer the full purchase price to the Hannabi team, who are producing masks at the moment.
– Florek: Artists are normal people like anybody else, so, first of all, they should follow general recommendations from experts. Those artists with interesting content can possibly attract people in the online world. And they can regularly feed their followers with good new works or entertainment.
– Do you get any extra inspiration from such a historic situation? Do you guys feel more motivated now? Does isolation change much in artistic work?
– Márta: All the hustle and bustle have stopped, so the studio is quieter. Most of our artists stay now at home. Only three of us go to work, although we have nine studios. The phone does not ring, there is no need to organise anything. Pretty much everything has been postponed. This gives me more time to paint, but I can’t tell you how long it takes for me to enjoy it. But I have a great fear of the economic crisis that could seal the coming years, our lives. I look forward to the miracle that will alleviate that fear.
– Florek: My choice of topics is not affected by the current situation. Somehow I spend the same time and energy for my art production as before, and even more. Of course, as an urban Plein air painter my choice of locations will become more and more limited.
– How do you intend to (re)connect with your audience in these circumstances? What new tools and platforms you would think are going to help to achieve this?
– Márta: We try to be a regular presence on Instagram, Facebook, look back over the past few years, and show life in the studio.
– Florek: Luckily, I have been using social media (Instagram, Facebook, my website) for some time now. So the only task is to keep the level of activity up. We don’t need new platforms, hopefully, this crisis will be over soon.
– What you would think the single biggest change is going to be in the art world in Budapest once this crisis ends?
– Márta: Huge crisis, hungry artists, Armageddon. It all depends on how long the current situation is. I’d rather be pessimist now.
– Florek: I do not expect any big change once things have gone back to normal.
– Is there any “Lockdown” piece of art produced recently that you can share with the readers?
– Márta: Of course, there is new work and readers can see them below in my bio.
– Florek: Yes, I painted some parked trucks near our studios (see below in my bio) because the situation pushed me to explore my immediate surroundings more. Normally, I would not see the beauty in such simple things around me.
– Is there any way for art lovers to support your work, and how?
– Márta: We have two publishing studios in Budapest Art Factory, so we are waiting for two enthusiastic artist colleges to join the Art Factory team. Until the end of this crisis, we are offering half-price studios. It would save our situation. At 600 m2 there is a good distance from everyone, making it a safe place to be.
– Florek: Have you ever dreamt about owning a Ford Mustang? Forget about it. A good art piece on your wall can bring you the same joy, plus it is a good investment.
Márta Kucsora (1979, Szeged) completed her studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and then at Montclair State University in the USA. Her works have been featured in both domestic and international exhibitions. These include Blue: Matter, Mood and Melancholy at the 21 Century Museum in America, Time for Painting at the National Gallery, and Traditional Techniques at the Kunsthalle. Her works are represented by Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts and have been exhibited at renowned art fairs. For example, at Art Paris, Masterpiece London, and BRAFA in Brussels. Márta Kucsora‘s abstract techniques are related to the works of modern artists of the 20th century, who themselves pushed the boundaries of traditional painting. These include Simon Hantai, Helen Frankenthaler, Judit Reigl, and Francois Fiedler.
Juraj Florek is 100% urban Plein-air painter, his idealism motivates him to reinterpret Plein-air painting and adapt it to the current post-industrial landscape. He is not shy away from the difficult environment, the selection of locations of dysfunctional “Stalker environments” of industrial architecture, or the seemingly unobtrusive corners of the present-day city. He is a painter seeking their unadorned truth. At the same time his painting represents the honest „celebration of everyday life”. This explores the author’s social environment and his joy of life in the city.