Jiří Pařík ( February 21, 1930 Prague – December 1, 1999 Prague) was a Czech painter, draftsman , illustrator, graphic artist and cartoonist. He was the son of sculptor Antonín Pařík. He belonged to the circle of friends of the famous writer Bohumil Hrabal.
When in a Prague antique store this past summer, I happened upon two personal notebooks of this artist so, of course, I purchased them.
The rare images you see here have never been published before and are from my personal collection. His notes give you a very rare glimpse into the creative mind of this unique individual.
Jiří Pařík’s Life
He was born on February 21, 1930 in Prague, and from his youth he devoted himself to drawing and painting. Sculpture was no stranger to him thanks to his father Antonín Pařík, a peculiar sculptor and creator of naive wooden statues.
As an illustrator and cartoonist, he contributed to the following publications: Mladého světa, Literárních novin, Kulturní tvorby a časopisů Výtvarná práce, and Plamen.
He liked working with ink and watercolors. If it was not a pure line drawing, it complemented the solid and clear contour line with distinctive colored areas that would in many cases stand as a separate abstract composition.
Pařík’s work is characterized by considerable exaggeration, wit and subtext.
Although it is not literature, it is worth looking at his pictures to “read between the lines”.
The drawings stylize with a certain predetermined intention, covering the inner content.
In my two notebooks, he added numerous notes and comments to each of the drawings.
It’s interesting to see and read his viewpoints and comments.
Surely, a side of the artist never before shared.
Frequent themes of his drawings included women, cowboys, lovers, couples, balloons, horses, birds, lions, dogs, etc.
From Bohumil Hrabal
“Jiří Pařík, made his drawings through the prism of the child’s eye to the classicity of himself. He broke away from the illustration and drew the melancholy humorous content of the remains of the old gallery culture in the children’s technique.”
“His poetics are approaching the mystery of Paul Klee, not unlike hundreds of children’s hands on the outskirts of Prague…”
“Which, with manic seriousness, rips the barracks to where their chalk reaches, and when the walls are not enough…”
“They continue to draw shots and animals and cartoon games into the asphalt of the streets without perceiving that it is getting dark, that they sniff them and lick the dogs, that the car horns shout at them: turn away, out of the way!”
Jiří Pařík through the eyes of his son, Martin Pařík:
“My father was sitting on a stone staircase in front of a gallery in Nerudovka, where he exhibited his picturesque vedute of Prague with girls dressed only in imagination, mingling with tender horses, the golden mane of lions or bird beaks, animals with human eyes and souls.”
“From wood and bark, cones and needles, and they all spoke in their silent conversation, though frighteningly motionless, yet at every moment ready to make the first move, and from the bowels of the exhibition hall tones of jazz…”
And the music and the drawings outside the window merged into the loud chord that trembled the hearts of passers-by, who turned the men into the Gothic cellars woven with laces, hung behind wooden pegs, hung quarters full of lines and watercolor spilled stains, and there the men in the hats and ladies with huge buns rested in silent wonder unlike when a man’s eye first saw the sea.”
“And the hoarse, throat voice of Louis Armstrong soothed and rocked on the waves, and dreams began to materialize and peel off the drawings: the beauties jumped from paper and danced, and balloons of the first ballooners hovered over their heads, and the smell of colors caused heady dizziness. Somehow it was then … or at least it could be.”
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