Of Projects, Slovenia and Music: an interview with Romeo Strakl

  • Of Projects,  Slovenia and  Music:  an interview with Romeo Strakl
24 Mar 2022 0 Comments
- You are a polyfacetic artist: you design CD covers, you create comics, you write books, you paint. What do you enjoy the most in your artistic life? 
- True, I am active in very different areas of art. It is hard to answer which area gives me the most satisfaction. I find that each provides something unique which makes it exciting and attractive. For example, design of the record covers has to take into account the music itself and wishes of authors. With comics, in contrast to painting, you have to tell the whole story in a sequence of pictures. I feel I have the most freedom when painting and in graphics. 

- You manage Art Roba. What does RoBa mean? 
Art RoBa is brand name under which I am creating together with Barbara Borlovan. The name had double meaning, »roba« means »stuff« in Slovenian language but is also combination of first two letters of our first names. 

- You have many drawings that show the capital city of Ljubljana. Why does Ljubljana attract you? 
Ljubljana is a small but beautiful city. It offers tons of attractive motifs that simply call to be expressed artistically. Even though I am from a different part of Slovenia. I fell in love with Ljubljana during my school years in Design High School (1977-1981). In addition to that, Barbara is a native of Ljubljana and we spend a lot of time there looking for subjects to paint together. 

- Do you prefer drawing outdoors or in your studio? Do you draw from memory or photography? 
I draw or sketch outdoors, in the nature very rarely. My work is created at home on my work desk. I do take photos often as a base for my drawings though. 

- You work using thematic series, like rocks. Do you like to observe nature and its changes? 
- I like to work on thematic series. When I am attracted by a certain topic, I try to address it from different angles. With rocks and sea I was trying to use as many different techniques as possible. That is why it contains drawings, water colors, acrylics, collages and silkscreen prints. 

- What other themes do you like to paint and draw about and why? 
- The motif before rocks and sea was sea gulls. Besides water colors I even used some in my short comics strips. 
We mentioned Ljubljana before, I like old city centers and towns. With water color technique I covered Vipavski Križ, Ptuj, Maribor and my home town Sveta Trojica. 

- How and when did you come up with the idea of creating comics? 
- I am working on comics since early childhood and more intensively since High school. My father introduced me to this genre of art so I »blame« him for infecting me with the love for it.

- What are the main themes of your comics? 
- Themes of my comics are very diverse. In the beginning I immersed myself in Science Fiction, mostly under influence of French comics school (Moebius, Druillet, Bilal,…) Later I was using music lyrics (CZD, The Who, Petra Kolmančič, …) as storyline for comics and lately haiku poetry. I also got involved in the project “Slovenian classics”, which were published in Mladina magazine and in book “Slovenian classics in comics”.

- How do you begin a comics, with a drawing or with the story? 
- I always start with the story. However very often the storyline is already linked to some design ideas I bounce around in my mind.

- Who are the target ages for your comics? 
- Adult audience.

- What do you think an artist must possess to be able to create comics? 
- Mostly the ability to tell stories using pictures. Artist must have a feel for positioning and of course a lot of will power. Work on comics is a long process that requires a lot of time and persistence. 

- Apart from the drawing and the comic you made covers for CD. How did you land the opportunity to create the poster for the Bob Dylan concert? 
- Designing media covers, especially for vinyl records is for me one of my favorite processes. The opportunity to combine drawing / photography / picture and words is very exciting to me. Of course work on CDs is similar but the size is so much different that its limitations have to be taken into account. 
The poster for Bob Dylan concert in Ljubljana (1991) was requested by the agency that organized the concert. It was later noticed by the »Art Rock Gallery« in San Francisco and they wished to include it in their offering. I happily agreed and sent them series of posters printed in silkscreen technique. 

- One of your other musical projects is your book The Who. What is the book about, and how long did it take you to write it? 
- I have been The Who fan since the mid-seventies. At that time, I started collecting their vinyl records, which later grew into collecting everything related to the group. I currently have over 1200 pieces of music media (vinyl, CD, DVD, cassettes, etc.) and I decided to write a book about my collection. My first book “Story about collecting” (2009). I also described all official albums from the group in my collection. In a similar way in 2017 I documented all bootleg, The Who albums I have in my collection. I took the time for writing and I also designed both books and drew some illustrations.

- What are the challenging aspects of working as an artist? 
- To create something interesting and also enjoy doing it.

- Are there any upcoming projects for the near future? Tell us more about this? 
- Barbara and I are organizing a new Art RoBa studio where we will also be able to run workshops and have a small gallery. 
In addition to everything else mentioned I also work on Slo Pop Art project. Together with Dušan Hedl we are creating large format graphics in silkscreen technique focusing on Slovenia motifs in pop art style.

Tags : Meet our artists

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