Petra Stefankova


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The artist outside of the hub

I have a past of a world traveller – I have been to places such as Western Australia, Rhode Island, California, New York and many cities in Europe. I lived in Prague, Dover and London many years ago. I studied or worked as a freelancer there too. And I spent my whole childhood in Bratislava, where I was born. During my childhood, it was quite popular to travel for holidays abroad – for example, Tunisia, Greece, Spain, Croatia or so.

At the moment I shuttle between the capital, Bratislava, and a small village in Zahorie area of Western Slovakia. It is surely a huge difference in my lifestyle because I am not inside the hub of creative events and the professional community. I am surrounded by a small number of neighbour’s houses – we have a filmmaker, a customs officer, a lawyer and people from some other backgrounds here. They usually work in their gardens and around their houses when they are at home, which is actually not the work I tend to do too often.

Zahorie does not provide much visibility to the artists, there are just a few public galleries and museums. Therefore I am more focused on my creative work and (mostly online) marketing side of the job. This opportunity to slow down provided me with the space to explore my creative outputs more actively. I try to draw every day. I sketch many ideas and compositions until I am happy with at least one of them. Then, the process depends on whether it is appropriate to draw it digitally or use traditional acrylics.

The art market, either for commercial illustration or fine art, is very small in Slovakia. So I feel quite dependent on the interest and trust of foreign commissioners. They allow my creativity to flourish and stay alive. So if you are just reading this and have something in mind, do get in touch. I really love to hear from you.

The Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic Award

I feel very honoured to announce that I became a laureate of the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic Award 2019! I was awarded for the long-term international presentation of Slovak visual arts abroad. Other ten artists from all backgrounds of professional arts have been recognized by this prestigious prize including the amazing opera singer Titusz Tobisz and the principal ballet dancer from Vienna State Opera, Nina Polakova. I would like to thank the Minister of Culture, Ľubica Laššáková and the jury, that made this decision. Cítim sa veľmi poctená, že môžem oznámiť, že som sa stala laureátkou Ceny ministerky kultúry Slovenskej Republiky za rok 2019. Bola som ocenená za dlhoročnú prezentáciu slovenského výtvarného umenia v zahraničí. Medzi ocenenými z rôznych oblastí profesionálneho umenia sú napríklad úžasný operný spevák Titusz Tobisz a baletná sólistka Viedenskej štátnej opery, Nina Poláková. Ďakujem pani ministerke kultúry, Ľubici Laššákovej a tiež komisii, ktorá rozhodovala.

My noble life story until today

I spent many years living with my parents in the Bratislava city centre, in a large flat of one of the oldest Art Nouveau buildings. Both of my parents worked for national newspapers and I literally felt like being raised in a very noble manner. This starting point of my life gave me the confidence to be a helping hand to my peers. With a basic internet knowledge of the old days, I built a community forum for them online. I even organised competitions for young artists and animators with some publicity and sponsors.

When I moved to England between 2006 and 2010, I was suddenly celebrated as an artist-illustrator when I won a nationwide talent competition organised by Channel 4 television called 4Talent Awards. As a direct result, I was invited to the Royal Society of Arts Fellowship in London. This shifted my life completely, I was part of luxurious events at different historic landmarks of London. I got to attend the same events as many representatives of British or foreign nobility. To name a few, it was a private view of the Rubens and Brueghel exhibition at the Buckingham Palace Gallery, networking meetings at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and many more. Princess Royal introduced the President’s lecture at the RSA House and I was honoured to be there too.

Later, while still living in London, I supported illustrators from Slovakia and the Czech Republic and helped them to find projects abroad, so we made a contribution to international publishing. I brought and presented a selection of Slovakian animated shorts to a festival in France and flew to Western Australia to give a lecture about computer art.

However, in 2011, I had to come back to Slovakia. I lived and worked in a beautiful house in the Western Slovakia countryside. It became a time of some intense introspection and family life. I did not wish to lose my connections to the UK, so I began volunteering as the RSA Connector. I promoted the RSA in Slovakia and nominated a number of interesting personalities from Slovakia, France and the UK to the Fellowship successfully.

I was also sitting at the board of the Slovak Art Forum (Umelecká beseda slovenská) in Bratislava for two years. The office of this visual arts society was on the premises of Matica Slovenská in Bratislava, the Slovak cultural and historical organisation. It was quite interesting to see all the pictures of the famous Slovakian leaders from the past such as Ľudovít Štúr hanging on the wall behind me.

When my children’s books got published between 2016-18 I delivered a number of creative workshops for children in libraries and schools across Slovakia. I always had a passion for sharing my work experience in the arts, so I also gave lectures at universities.

I am still curious and open to new chances that my exceptional life brings me. So do not hesitate to get in touch if you wish to propose a collaboration, project, art commission or so. I will always be happy to respond.

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