Exclusive interview with illustrator Tomáš Motal!!
If you are a fan of the Czech comic book scene, you are sure to know who Tomáš Motal is. He made his mark at Comics TRAUM won in two categories, the best art and the best short comic book. His stories are filled with darkness and indescribable mysteries, which granted him an undeniable place in Czech popculture.
Our exclusive interview with Tomáš will reveal to you what kind of protagonists he prefers in his stories, what is he missing in the Czech comic book scene and what he want to achieve with his art.
- In your work you utilize detailed art of buildings and various architecture, it is known that your childhood in Olomouc greatly influenced your art. When it comes to people or settings, which one do you prefer?
I love architecture as a whole. I always had a soft spot for factories, railways, panel buildings, stadiums and all the things you can see on the outskirts. When I was a kid, rather than drawing people, I was interested in drawing the city, trains or an abstract stuff. Even when i was studying, I bounced from the figure drawing lessons more often than not.
In my books I tell stories though, and people make stories. So i had to bite the bullet and learn how to draw people as well. But what i love the most when doing art is the pure fantasy.
- Your protagonists are usually broken people, struggling with economic problems and bizarre situations, living on the outskirts of society. What attracts you about telling stories about people rejected by society?
I consider myself an empathetic man, especially when it comes to outsiders - both real and fictional. I was never the cool kid on the block, I am neither a social butterfly nor a popular person.
To be honest, I'm an outsider too, so it is only natural that my stories are about these people too. My favorite genre is noir, and noir is built on losers. I am frightened by perfection.
- What is your opinion on the current Czech comic book scene?
Honestly, I don't know. I have some friends in the scene, but at heart I'm a recluse. And about the releases here? For every one good original comic book released there is ten books which are mediocre at best. The Czech scene is stale, no-one wants to try anything remotely unique. All you are getting now are books about history events, hockey players, comics for kids and tenth re-edition of the Rapid Arrows. But some other genre? Sci-fi, horror, or crimi story? No-one does this here.
It is same as with movies or TV shows, but this is all tied with demand and with money. We love to inhale our own farts here and refuse to try something new. Why even try, when those farts can get you the cold hard cash you crave.
- You did artwork for the magazine A2, for Olomouc based Mimokolektiv, and also you did a collaboration with the clothing brand of your partner, KRAS. What kind of commissions do you like to do, and what commission work you rather reject?
To be blunt - it can't be crap. The idea must make some sense to me. I don't want to end up as a sell-out illustrator, who is shitting out one commission after another, and is too burned out to do any personal art. I want my work to have a soul, some kind of idea behind it, not a scentless, flavorless advertisement junk.
I can't work at all with people living in an entirely different world, like a corporate or marketing people. I tried to work with them, but it was like we spoke with different languages. We just couldn't get through to each other.
- This is your premiere with the SickFace brand. Our new collection is named "The Future Is Now“ which also reflects your work well. How would you describe your design for the collection?
Hah, well if I'm honest with you, I was fulfilling the task you gave me. Post-apocalyptic warrior in a mecha suit, inspired by the Fallout series. But if you want me to make up a story, the warrior in the picture is me.
I'm the one in the mechsuit, right on the barricade protecting the last remains of the humanity itself. I'm fighting the hordes of evil people, dumbasses, misinformers and spineless assholes, nazis and similar vermin. I'm fighting until my day comes.
- You are somewhat a renaissance man, you are known in the comic scene and you do illustration commercially, but that's not all. People may also known your band Schwarzprior. Are you planning some new tracks, or are you solely focused on comic now?
It's difficult. Life kinda messed this one up. When you're 25 and at a college, you have all the time in the world for a band and such, but then you are 35 and everything changes. I'd love to invest more time in my music, but it's hard. What I'm doing now is very time costly.
People evolve with time, have their own lives, loves, jobs and so on. Friends come and go. Illustration is keeping me afloat, so it is only logical that I consider it my priority. But i still didn't give up on the music, so maybe, when the time is right...
- What is your ambition when it comes to art? Do you want to break into the mainstream or is underground scene better for you?
Well, what do you mean by that question? How do you define mainstream or underground? I think that what I do is mainstream, but a high quality one. The only thing that makes it seem underground is the fact that I'm doing it all by myself. I am not interested in using any fancy marketing, my work is known by the word of mouth.
Nonetheless, I consider myself an artist, not a salesman, and it shows. I don't want to make art which my few horny friends will gobble up, and play pretend the one true underground though. I want to prove that you can do mainstream well.