Rozhovory

Otázky a odpovede – o dobrých impulzoch, dôležitých ľuďoch, využitých a nevyužitých šancách, užitočných nápadoch. O dizajne a dizajnéroch, ich cestách k víťazstvám, o prekážkach, víziách alebo naplnených snoch. O tom, že dizajn má veľa podôb a pomáha meniť svet k lepšiemu.

Obľúbené tagy tejto kategórie:


Velvet Generation: Robert Paršo

Slovenskú verziu rozhovoru nájdete tu.

The interview was created on the occasion of the Velvet Generation exhibition taking place at The Embassy of the Slovak Republic in London as a part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of November '89.

Portrait of Robert Paršo in his mobile home-studio in Kaplna, Slovakia (© Šymon Kliman)
Portrait of Robert Paršo in his mobile home-studio in Kaplna, Slovakia (© Šymon Kliman)

How old were you in the time of the Revolution, and where were you at the time? What was your impression of the events then?
Throughout high school, I wanted to be a car designer. In 1989 I got the University of Technology in Brno, and as a Slovak, I was automatically included in the “foundry technology” because the East Slovak Iron Works “will need us”. There was a bit of hope that after two-three years, I would be able to transfer to Zlín and study the automobile design I dreamt about. During my studies, I visited the Moravian Gallery. It had a quite extensive library of foreign literature; there I found a thick English book about all possible types of design with a detailed description. I found the entry graphic design, and since then, I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer.
As for my experience of the Revolution, it was super, suddenly we had the chance to change everything. When the demonstrations began, I was precisely in the middle between Bratislava and Prague. As a Slovak student, I didn’t run home, but first, we went to Prague to see what was happening. There we experienced the atmosphere, euphoria. Then it started in Brno. And when I finally went home after a few days, it was just beginning in Bratislava, so I experienced three starts of the Revolution in a sequence.

Probably it didn’t come day-to-day when the changes occurred. For example, at school.
Students started a strike, and the school closed. We occupied the ground floor of a tall office building, professors stopped going to work, and there were just meetings and discussions. We were going to nearby factories; we presented our demands for independent elections, the abolishment of one-party rule, and so on.

So we could say that you were in the middle of it?
I was never personally in the strike committee. Instead, as a solitary, I drew and wrote various committed and witty posters and stuck them up here and there in Brno. People gathered at each and read them immediately. It was only when I put out about fifty posters that I noticed some gentleman walking behind me and tearing them down. So I provided some secret agent with a healthy stroll around Brno.

And then the school reopened? What did you do next?
Yes, unfortunately, the school reopened. But I was already into dropping out and seeing what’s next with life. At that time, everything was harder, the whole family put their hopes in a person — he’d once get to college — and when I dropped out; they were very disappointed.

When you were still at school after the Revolution, was it visible that something changed there — that it was less strict, for example?
We were meeting with new professors. Textbooks were being rewritten — because before, all started with someone inventing something somewhere but it was useless because, in the Soviet Union — they did it a hundred times better. There was always something political in the introduction. So I hope that it disappeared, but I didn’t experience it after because when I got to the Academy of Fine Arts, there were no such things anymore.

What did you do after dropping out of the school in Brno? Were you already decided you wanted to go to AFAD?
I was in such interim at the time. I came back to Slovakia from college, where I had to get a job. So I got a job as a cleaner at the Military University and Pedagogical School. My boss, lieutenant colonel, didn’t care how and when I’d do it, but the building I was in charge of had to be clean. So I bought roller skates and with them, I cleaned really fast.

Have you had any artistic ambitions at the time or at least your projects?
As a cleaner, I had a cleaners’ cubby-hole from which I made my own studio where I painted and drew in my free time. In the meantime, all my friends were called up to the military, I thought they’d forgotten about me. But one day, I received the call-up papers — start in Brno within 24 hours. So I went. The quite funny thing was that during morning exercises, I was looking toward the dormitories where I had lived only half a year ago. My ex-classmates were just returning from beer, and I was trotting in a military tracksuit.

So you went to the military right after the Revolution?
We started in the army right after the Revolution, and the so-called seniors immediately ran on us and started bullying us, bossing us around, and blackmailing us. We were defending ourselves by saying that the Revolution had already taken place if they haven’t noticed. That we’re all equal now. But they were locked up in the barracks during the Revolution when we were doing all kinds of events outside. They took away their radios, locked TV; and a political commissar, raised in Moscow, frightened them that the enemy out wants to abolish our socialist establishment. Simply, they were in an emergency and ready to go outside and use the live cartridge and shoot us. So they did not experience the Revolution in such euphoria as we did. Finally, we agreed on compromises. Later, I got mad at our starting year because before the “juniors” came in, everybody got a promotion. I decided to leave the military. I said my stomach aches, went to all kinds of tests. They found out that I had a small dot in my stomach. So they sent me for follow-up treatment which I intentionally ignored, and finally, I got an exemption from military [modrá knižka].

How did you then find yourself at AFAD?
After the military, I returned to my old job. But there was no way I'd look at the bucket and broom again after the military. So the boss transferred me to a military club where we were making posters, scenography, cinema programmes. Later I worked as a driver at the Slovak Design Centre; I learned to work with a computer there. In the meantime, I was attending Laco Čarný's preparation course for the application exams at AFAD. Then I was accepted to graphic design at my second attempt.

How did your study at AFAD look like? Especially as regards pedagogues, graphic design study itself?
The school was our second home, we were there nonstop, we had great teachers. They put up with so many things, far beyond the frontier of graphic design that wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else. The thing is that I was always in opposition. When they told us what to do, said I could do it, but I didn't want to. I'll do something nobody would think of because anyone can do what they are told. For example, when I was at Painting, I told myself I wouldn't even touch colours. So I made a small remote-controlled bulldozer that picked up colours, and it was possible to paint with it quite well.

Could you characterise the nineties somehow? Were they specific in a way, either at school, art or generally in society?
The interesting thing was that artists were founding various associations and groups, there were so many. There were a few saying I'm a solo artist. The Academy was full of quarrels because everyone tried to push something through, and design didn't seem to belong there. But it was also about the persistent opinion that an artist is supposed to be independent and draw from his/her own internal resources. And according to the others, we were just waiting for a client to create a visual based on the client's needs and take money for it. That's why I had a problem to say whether I was an artist or not. But they were rather interpersonal factors. Another turning point also came in the old methods: Computers were starting to replace rulers, compasses, ink, sharp pencils, original photographic techniques — that was another revolution — technological.

During the studies, did you have any opportunities for stays abroad, internships, or work in your field?
Many students left for Saint-Étienne; Slippery Rock, America and elsewhere. These were great opportunities for us who lived for many years in communism. I decided to go to Ljubljana. So shortly after the war, I travelled around all Yugoslavia. And of course, we were all working to provide for the studies. I started as a graphic designer in a foil-cutting company. Later I worked in one then prestigious graphic studio, September, and drove to another studio on weekends — Reco in Senica. And just before graduation, many of us went to advertising agencies like Mark BBDO. For us, it was also important, as for every artist, to get our things seen. We had a kind of aims and so we "checked" that we've got the first book, the first billboard, the cover. We started with any work with great joy and enthusiasm.

They call you Stupid, and you've also had a company/studio with the same name …
As for my nickname "Stupid"; it started at school. Back then, I told myself that once I graduate, I want to have a big studio, famous as Pentagram; that's why I first need to think up its name. So I tried everything possible, but everything I invented already existed. So I thought I'd try "bad words". And they were available then, so I came up with the STUPIDesign. This resulted in the Stupid nickname. This has opened my creative possibilities because you can do anything you want with a nickname Stupid; you get away with everything because you're "stupid".

You've tried many positions in graphic design — starting with an advertising agency, freelancing, to a pedagogue. Besides, you had many other jobs, activities, established cultural spaces …
I do graphic design mostly because I don't do the same thing every day. I hate repetition, boredom; on the contrary, I love everything developing, and there're not only new clients but also new technologies, everything.
After school, I went to an advertising agency where they paid well but squeezed us like lemons. When I was already sick of it, I left and started my dream STUPIDesign. I also took in a classmate from photography, following the Pentagram model in Britain where there were several partners from different art fields to be able to solve complex projects. But it developed a little differently.

How did it work then, and how did you establish the Buryzone space?
Since we were fresh graduates, we had open doors for students; they could work there on technologies, even the school didn't have. They often helped us out, and we actually provided kind of casual internships.
It worked like this for about two or three years, we had an office in a building from which the other tenants gradually left. I got the idea that we'll make a gallery from the entire space. We used to go to all the exhibitions, but when we started to work, we were too busy, so we told ourselves that exhibitions could take place at us. This led to setting up the Buryzone club which was open every Friday evening, and anything happened there.

Were you focused on something? What exhibitions did you do?
Our STUPIDesign had there the first exhibition about the group we founded — Friends of STUPIDesign. For a graduate, it was a problem to get to some established gallery. Everybody was getting kicks out of and trying to exhibit the generation of our professors; they were all occupied, so we opened up space where we could present ourselves. We didn't specialise, we exhibited painters, sculptors, but also designers; and we were also interested in theatre, performance, new media …

Besides that, did you have other projects?
An exciting experience was my teaching at AFAD in 2001–2006. With students, we tested several creative approaches on various entertaining topics. For example, thanks to the concise design, we convinced a part of the public that we represent MASA (Mars Affairs Space Agency) and that they'll fly with us to Mars in 2020. Later in 2008, I founded the FreeDom gallery in my new house and succeeded in organising a couple of exhibitions and international workshops there (within the Multiplace festival, Rural Poster, TypoTopo). The Trnava Poster Triennial was such a coincidence that in 2000, they asked me to make a visual, catalogue, everything for the Triennial. Then I returned there when I found out that there's nobody to continue doing the Triennial. The old gentlemen who had been doing it until then had no one young to had it over to, although I'm such an in-between generation.

Regarding your work, do you think that in socialism, you'd be able to do what you've been doing or your professional life would look differently?
I can imagine doing that also during socialism, but a revolution in technology also arrived. I can't imagine how the establishment would deal with it. As in Cuba, or in China?

The Revolution gave people latitude — an opportunity to start doing other things …
Some people, me, for example, would have big issues in communism. The Revolution came to my rescue because sooner or later, I would have ended up in prison with my teeth knocked out. It was then called Februárka (a police station in Bratislava) – if you were a nonconformist, they took you off the street and beat you. Hardly anyone remembers; people think that everything was fine. There's a generation lamenting that the Revolution didn't come earlier, but there are also people unhappy with the new era; they say, "There's too much freedom now, system disappeared, organisation, planning, securities — all that was here before." But I prefer the uncertainty, and especially the possibility of personal freedom rather than the security of someone indoctrinating and planning your life.

With the hindsight of thirty years, could you now sum up what's changed here in the field of graphic design? Regarding the conditions, possibilities, but also the field itself?
It's necessary to ask whether graphic design exists or not. Once "promotional graphics", later "graphic design", is now rather "visual communication". My problem with today's graphic design is that the time disappeared. We lack time to find a strong idea and to give it quality realisation. There used to be one person having time for that. Today, even though more people are working on one project, it's a rather collective work, they seldom generate the best idea. And the problem with the design and the entire creative industry is that it's subject to trends. And a large fraction of creators follow these trends. The people driving those trends stick out, or they do their own things which are so special you can't match them to anything and those, I appreciate the most.

Could we say that the situation after school for the current generation of graduating designers is easier than it was for you?
It was easier for us. I feel it on myself that the amount of information needed to start working wasn't that big, and I personally didn't want to get influenced. But today you can't decide not to look. You turn on your phone, open door, sit in a car — some opinion, art style, something is simply everywhere.
And there's also paralysis active when you have too much choice. Or you have such big role models in front of you that when you walk out of the school, you may get frustrated by how long it'd take to achieve similar success. And many want it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow at the latest. We were willing to build a company for ten years and achieve success gradually.

Could we say that your experience with the former regime reflected on your work or on your attitude?
I don't think that the era influenced me so much because it ended in my 18 years. Of course, I've lived through it, and I'm lucky that I'm aware of the difference between "before" and "now". I was fortunate to be almost a grownup when it was over. But childhood here was quite fine, there were Pioneer Camps, we were collecting beer caps and Coca Cola cans; we begged the truck drivers from Turkey to throw one to us. (These were the only manifestations of foreign graphic design here.)
The regime played such a peculiar game with us: When you cooperated and didn't make trouble, you could do well. That security is perhaps what people miss the most, and insecurity is destructive for many.

Robert Paršo, graphic designer, artist, and organiser, lives in Kaplna and Bratislava. He designs publications, visual identities, but in his work and life, he is more of a new dadaist than a typical graphic designer. He is the founder of several civic-cultural initiatives: the gallery and club Buryzone which inspired the whole cultural generation after the year 2000, or his own gallery FreeDom. And he is the curator and organiser of the Trnava Poster Triennial.

Interviewed by: Barbora Komarová, Mária Rišková
Translation: Katarína Kasalová






Rozhovor bol vytvorený pri príležitosti výstavy Velvet Generation konanej na Slovenskom veľvyslanectve v Londýne ako súčasť osláv 30. výročia Novembra '89.

Portrét Roberta Parša v jeho mobilnom dome-ateliéri v Kaplne, Slovensko (© Šymon Kliman)
Portrét Roberta Parša v jeho mobilnom dome-ateliéri v Kaplne, Slovensko (© Šymon Kliman)


Koľko rokov si mal v čase prevratu a kde si v tom čase pôsobil? Ako si tieto udalosti vnímal?
Počas celej strednej školy som chcel byť dizajnér automobilov. V roku 1989 som sa dostal na Vysoké učení technické v Brne, s tým, že nás Slovákov automaticky zaradili na „slévarenskou technologii“, lebo východoslovenské železiarne „nás budú potrebovať”. Bola určitá nádej, že po dvoch-troch rokoch by som mohol prestúpiť do Zlína a študovať vysnívaný dizajn automobilov. Počas štúdia som navštevoval Moravskú galériu, ktorá mala celkom bohatú knižnicu zahraničnej literatúry, kde som našiel hrubú anglickú knihu o všetkých možných typoch dizajnu s ich podrobným opisom. Našiel som v nej heslo grafický dizajn, a odvtedy som vedel, že chcem byť grafický dizajnér.
Čo sa týka môjho prežívania revolúcie, bolo to super, odrazu sme mali možnosť všetko zmeniť. Keď sa začali robiť demonštrácie, bol som presne v strede medzi Bratislavou a Prahou. Ako slovenský študent som neutekal domov, ale najprv sme sa išli pozrieť do Prahy, čo sa vlastne deje. Tu sme zažili tú atmosféru, eufóriu. Potom sa to začalo v Brne. A keď som o pár dní konečne išiel domov, práve to začínalo v Bratislave, takže som zažil postupne tri začiatky revolúcie.

Asi to nebolo zo dňa na deň, keď nastali zmeny. Napríklad na škole.
Študenti vstúpili do štrajku a zo dňa na deň sa zavrela škola, obsadili sme prízemie vysokej administratívnej budovy, profesori prestali chodiť do práce a boli len mítingy a diskusie. Chodili sme do blízkych závodov, prednášali naše požiadavky na slobodné voľby, na zrušenie vlády jednej strany, a tak ďalej.

Takže sa dá povedať, že si bol v centre diania?
Osobne som nebol nikdy priamo v štrajkovom výbore. Skôr som si ako solitér kreslil a písal rôzne angažované a vtipné plagáty a vylepoval ich kade-tade po Brne. Pri každom sa zhromaždili ľudia a ihneď ich čítali. Až keď som vylepil zo päťdesiat plagátov, všimol som si, že za mnou kráča nejaký pán a všetky ich strháva. Nejakému tajnému som teda urobil zdravotnú prechádzku po Brne.

A potom sa škola naspäť otvorila? Čo si robil ďalej?
Áno, na nešťastie sa škola znova otvorila. Ale ja som už bol nalomený, že tú školu nedokončím a uvidím, čo bude so životom. Vtedy bolo všetko ťažšie, celá rodina vkladala nádeje do človeka, že sa raz dostane na vysokú a keď štúdium zanechal, boli veľmi rozčarovaní.

Keď si po prevrate na škole ešte chvíľu bol, bolo vidno, že sa tam niečo zmenilo, že to bolo napríklad menej prísne?
Stretávali sme sa už s novými profesormi, prepisovali sa skriptá, lebo predtým všetky začínali tým, že niekto niečo niekde vymyslel, ale bolo to nanič, lebo v Sovietskom zväze to urobili stokrát lepšie. Vždy na úvod bolo niečo politické. Dúfam teda, že to vymizlo, ja som to potom už nezažil, lebo keď som prišiel na Vysokú školu výtvarných umení, tam také veci už neboli.

Čo si robil po ukončení štúdia v Brne? Už si bol rozhodnutý, že chceš ísť na VŠVU?
Vtedy som mal také medziobdobie. Z vysokej školy som išiel naspäť na Slovensko, kde sa bolo treba zamestnať. Tak som sa zamestnal ako upratovačka na Vysokej vojenskej a pedagogickej škole. Môj šéf, podplukovník, nechcel vedieť, ako a kedy to urobím, ale budova, ktorú som mal na starosti musela byť čistá. Kúpil som si teda kolieskové korčule a vďaka nim som upratoval naozaj rýchlo.

V tomto období si už mal nejaké umelecké ambície alebo aspoň svoje projekty?
Ako upratovačka som mal upratovací kumbálik, z ktorého som si spravil vlastný ateliér, kde som si vo voľnom čase maľoval a kreslil. Medzitým boli všetci moji kamaráti povolaní na vojnu, myslel som si, že na mňa sa zabudlo. Ale jedného dňa mi prišiel povolávací rozkaz, do 24 hodín nástup do Brna. Tak som išiel. Celkom vtipné bolo, že na ranných rozcvičkách som pozeral smerom k internátom, kde som iba pred polrokom býval. Moji bývalí spolužiaci sa ešte iba vracali z piva a ja som už klusal vo vojenských teplákoch.

Takže si absolvoval ešte po prevrate vojenčinu?
My sme nastúpili do armády hneď po revolúcii a takzvaní starí na nás hneď nabehli a začali nás šikanovať, buzerovať a vydierať. Bránili sme sa, že vonku už prebehla revolúcia, či si to nevšimli. Že už sme si všetci rovní. Ale oni boli počas revolúcie, keď sme my robili všelijaké akcie vonku, zavretí v kasárňach. Odobrali im rádiá, zamkli televízor, a politruk, vychovaný v Moskve, ich strašil, že vonku chce nepriateľ zrušiť naše socialistické zriadenie. Mali jednoducho pohotovosť a boli pripravení ísť von s ostrými nábojmi a strieľať do nás. Čiže oni tú revolúciu neprežili tak euforicky ako my. Napokon sme sa dohodli na kompromisoch. Neskôr som sa naštval na náš nástupný ročník, lebo všetci sa pred nástupom nových „mladých” nechali „povýšiť”. Rozhodol som sa, že idem z vojny preč. Povedal som, že ma bolí brucho, išiel na všetky možné vyšetrenia a zistili, že mám v bruchu nejakú malú bodku, takže ma poslali na doliečenie, čo som zámerne nedodržiaval a nakoniec mi dali modrú knižku.

Ako si sa potom ocitol na VŠVU?
Po vojne som sa vrátil do pôvodnej práce, ale kýbel a metlu som po vojne už nechcel ani vidieť. Tak ma šéf preradil do vojenského klubu, kde sme robili plagáty, scénografiu, programy kina. Neskôr som robil šoféra v Slovenskom centre dizajnu, tam som sa naučil robiť s počítačom. Medzitým som chodil k Lacovi Čarnému, na prípravný kurz na prijímačky na VŠVU. Neskôr v roku 1994 ma na druhý pokus prijali na grafický dizajn.

Ako vyzeralo tvoje štúdium na VŠVU? Najmä čo sa týka pedagógov, štúdia grafického dizajnu samotného?
Škola bola náš druhý domov, boli sme tam nonstop, mali sme skvelých pedagógov. Prepieklo sa mi u nich toľko vecí, ďaleko za hranicou grafického dizajnu, ktoré by mi inde neprešli. Bol som totiž neustále v opozícii. Keď nám povedali, čo máme robiť, tak som si povedal, že to by som vedel, mohol, ale nechcem. Urobím niečo iné, čo by nikomu nenapadlo, lebo hocikto môže urobiť to, čo mu povedia. Napríklad, keď som bol na maľbe, tak som si povedal, že sa ani nedotknem farieb, a preto som si vyrobil malý diaľkovo ovládaný buldozér, ktorý tie farby naberal a dalo sa s ním celkom dobre maľovať.

Vedel by si tie deväťdesiate roky nejako charakterizovať? Boli niečím špecifické, či už na škole, v umení, alebo všeobecne v spoločnosti?
Bolo zaujímavé, že výtvarníci zakladali rôzne spolky a skupinky, bolo ich strašne veľa. Málokto išiel, že ja som sólo výtvarník. A vysoká škola bola plná sporov, lebo každý sa v rámci svojho smeru snažil presadiť a dizajn ako keby tam nepatril. Ale to bolo aj o pretrvávajúcom názore, že kto je umelec, má byť nezávislý a čerpať zo svojich vlastných vnútorných zdrojov. A my sme podľa ostatných iba čakali na klienta, aby sme vytvorili vizuál na základe jeho potrieb a zobrali za to peniaze. Preto som aj ja sám mal problém povedať, či som umelec alebo nie. Ale boli to skôr medziľudské faktory. Zlom nastal aj v tom, že staré metódy – pravítka, kružidlá, tuš, ostré ceruzky, pôvodné fotografické techniky začali nahrádzať počítače, to bola ďalšia revolúcia, technologická.

Počas školy ste mali už nejaké možnosti zahraničných pobytov, stážovania alebo práce vo svojom odbore?
Veľa študentov odišlo do Saint-Étienne, do Slippery Rock v Amerike a inde. Boli to veľké možnosti pre nás, ktorí sme dlhé roky prežili v komunizme. Ja som sa rozhodol ísť do Ľubľany. Precestoval som teda krátko po vojne celú bývalú Juhosláviu. A samozrejme, všetci sme si privyrábali na štúdium. Ja som ako grafik začínal vo firme na vyrezávanie fólií, neskôr som robil v jednom vtedy významnom grafickom štúdiu, September a jazdil na víkendy do ďalšieho štúdia, Reco v Senici. A tesne pred koncom školy, išla väčšina z nás do reklamných agentúr, napríklad Mark BBDO. Pre nás bolo tiež dôležité, ako pre každého výtvarníka, aby naše veci bolo vidieť. Mali sme akési méty a tak sme si „odfajfkávali“, že už máme prvú knihu, prvý billboard, obal. S veľkou radosťou a nadšením sme išli do hocijakej práce.

Teba prezývajú Stupid a mal si aj rovnako pomenovanú firmu, štúdio...
Čo sa týka mojej prezývky „Stupid“, začalo sa to na škole. Vtedy som si povedal, že keď raz školu dokončím, chcem mať veľké štúdio, slávne ako Pentagram, preto si najprv musím vymyslieť jeho názov. Tak som skúšal všetko možné, ale všetko, čo som vymyslel, už existovalo. Tak som si povedal, že vyskúšam „bad words“. A tie boli vtedy voľné, tak som si vymyslel STUPIDesign. Z toho vyplynula prezývka Stupid. To mi otvorilo kreatívne možnosti, lebo ako Stupid si môžeš robiť, čo chceš a vždy ti to prejde, lebo si „stupid”.

Ty si si v tom grafickom dizajne vyskúšal mnoho pozícií od reklamnej agentúry, po freelancera až po pedagóga. Okrem toho si mal mnoho ďalších prác, aktivít, zakladal si kultúrne priestory...
Grafický dizajn robím hlavne preto, lebo v tej práci nerobím každý deň to isté. Neznášam opakovanie, nudu, naopak, milujem, keď sa všetko vyvíja a sú nielen noví klienti, ale aj nové technológie, všetko.
Po škole som išiel do reklamnej agentúry, kde dobre platili, ale zas nás žmýkali ako citróny. Keď mi to už liezlo na nervy, tak som odtiaľ odišiel a založil som si ten môj vysnívaný STUPIDesign. pribral som aj spolužiaka z fotografie, po vzore Pentagramu v Británii, kde boli niekoľkí partneri z rôznych výtvarných oblastí, aby sme vedeli riešiť aj komplexné projekty. Ale vyvinulo sa to trochu inak.

Ako to teda fungovalo a ako ste založili priestor Buryzone?
Tým, že sme boli čerství absolventi, tak sme mali otvorené dvere pre študentov, mohli u nás pracovať na technológiách, ktoré nemala ani škola. Občas nám vypomáhali a my sme vlastne robili akési nezáväzné stáže.
Fungovalo to takto normálne asi dva-tri roky, mali sme kanceláriu v budove, z ktorej postupne ostatní prenajímatelia odišli. Dostal som nápad, že z jedného priestoru urobíme galériu. Kedysi sme chodili na všetky výstavy, ale keď sme začali pracovať, nestíhali sme, tak sme si povedali, že sa výstavy môžu konať u nás. Z toho vznikol klub Buryzone, ktorý bol každý piatok večer otvorený a dialo sa tam všetko možné.

Boli ste na niečo zameraní? Aké ste robili výstavy?
Náš STUPIDesign tam mal prvú výstavu o skupine, ktorú sme založili „Priatelia STUPIDesignu” – Friends of STUPIDesign“. Vtedy bol problém pre absolventa dostať sa do nejakej kamennej galérie, lebo všetci fičali sa snažili vystavovať generáciu našich profesorov, všetky boli obsadené, takže sme vytvorili priestor, kde sme sa mohli prezentovať. Neboli sme špecializovaní, vystavovali sme maliarov, sochárov, ale aj dizajnérov a zaujímali sme sa aj o divadlo, performance, nové médiá...

Okrem toho si mal aj ďalšie projekty?
Zaujímavou skúsenosťou bolo učenie na mojej VŠVU v rokoch 2001 – 2006. Otestovali sme si so študentami množstvo kreatívnych prístupov na rôznych zábavných témach. Napríklad sme vďaka koncíznemu dizajnu presvedčili časť verejnosti, že zastupujeme MASA (Mars Affairs Space Agency) a že s nami v roku 2020 poletia na Mars. Neskôr v roku 2008 som vo svojom novom dome založil galériu FreeDom a podarilo sa mi tam zorganizovať zopár výstav a medzinárodných workshopov (v rámci festivalu Multiplace, Rural Poster, TypoTopo). Trienále plagátu Trnava bola taká náhodička, že v roku 2000 ma oslovili, aby som robil vizuál, katalóg, všetko k trienále. Potom som sa tam vrátil, keď som zistil, že trienále už nemá kto robiť. Starí páni, ktorí ho robili dovtedy, to nemali komu z mladých odovzdať, hoci ja som taká medzigenerácia.

Čo sa týka tvojej práce, myslíš, že by si v socializme mohol robiť to, čo si robil alebo by tvoj profesijný život vyzeral inak?
Viem si predstaviť robiť to aj počas socíku, ale prišla aj technologická revolúcia. Vôbec si neviem predstaviť, ako by sa s ňou to zriadenie vysporiadalo. Ako na Kube, či ako v Číne?

Revolúcia dala ľuďom iný rozlet, príležitosť začať robiť aj iné veci...
Niektoré osoby, napríklad ja, by mali v komunizme veľké problémy. Že prišla revolúcia, bola moja záchrana, inak by som skôr či neskôr skončil vo väzení, alebo aspoň s vybitými zubami. Vtedy sa to volalo Februárka (pozn. policajná stanica v Bratislave) – ak si bol nekonformný, zobrali ťa z ulice a zbili. Málokto si to pamätá, ľudia si myslia, že všetko bolo v pohode. Je generácia, ktorá plače, že revolúcia neprišla skôr, ale sú aj takí, ktorým nová doba nevyhovuje, hovoria – ‘teraz je príliš veľká sloboda, stratil sa systém, organizácia, plánovanie, istoty, všetko, čo bolo predtým’. Ale ja mám radšej tú neistotu a hlavne možnosť osobnej slobody, ako istotu, že ti niekto indoktrinuje a naplánuje život.

S odstupom tridsiatich rokov by si teraz vedel zhrnúť, čo sa u nás v oblasti grafického dizajnu zmenilo? Čo sa týka podmienok, možností, ale aj samotného odboru?
Je potrebné sa pýtať, či ešte grafický dizajn je, alebo nie. Kedysi „propagačná grafika“, neskôr „grafický dizajn“ je dnes skôr „vizuálna komunikácia“. Čo mi v súčasnosti vadí na grafickom dizajne, je, že sa stratil čas. Ten čas chýba, aby sa našla silná myšlienka, aby bol čas ju aj kvalitne zrealizovať. Kedysi mal na to čas jeden človek. Dnes, hoci na jednom projekte pracuje veľa ľudí, je to akoby kolektívne dielo, ale málokedy vygenerujú tú najlepšiu myšlienku. A problém dizajnu a celého kreatívneho priemyslu je, že podlieha trendom. A veľká časť tvorcov ide po tých trendoch. Z nich vytŕčajú ľudia, ktorí tie trendy zavádzajú, alebo si robia svoje vlastné veci, ktoré sú také osobité, že sa nedajú s ničím zlúčiť, a tie oceňujem najviac.

Dalo by sa povedať, že súčasná generácia dizajnérov, ktorí končia školu, to majú ľahšie, ako ste to mali po škole vy?
My sme to mali ľahšie. Cítim na sebe, že to množstvo informácií, ktoré bolo potrebné, aby som mohol začať pracovať, nebolo až také veľké a ja osobne som sa ani nechcel nechať ovplyvniť. Ale dnes si nemôžeš povedať, že sa nebudeš pozerať. Zapneš mobil, otvoríš dvere, sadneš do auta, jednoducho všade máš nejaký názor, výtvarný štýl, niečo. A ešte tu pôsobí paralýza, keď máš príliš veľa vecí na výber. Alebo máš pred sebou také veľké vzory, že keď vychádzaš zo školy, môžeš byť frustrovaný, koľko bude trvať, pokým dosiahneš podobný úspech. A mnohí to chcú dosiahnuť zajtra, najneskôr pozajtra. My sme ešte boli ochotní si desať rokov budovať firmu a k úspechu sa dostať postupne.

Dalo by sa povedať, že tvoja skúsenosť s bývalým režimom sa niekde premietla do tvojej tvorby alebo aj do tvojho postoja?
Nemyslím si, že by ma až tak ovplyvnila tá doba, lebo skončila v mojich 18-tich rokoch. Samozrejme, prežil som to a mám to šťastie, že si uvedomujem rozdiel medzi tým „predtým“ a „teraz“. Mal som naozaj šťastie, že som bol už takmer dospelý, keď sa to skončilo. Ale detstvo tu bolo celkom fajn, boli pionierske tábory, zbierali sme o vrchnáčiky od piva a plechovky z Coca Coly, žobrali sme u tirákov z Turecka, nech nám jednu hodia. (To boli pre nás jediné prejavy grafického dizajnu zo zahraničia.)
Režim s nami hral takú zvláštnu hru, že ak si spolupracoval a nerobil problémy, tak si sa mohol mať aj dobre. Tá istota je asi to, čo najviac dnes ľuďom chýba, a neistota je likvidáciou pre mnohých.

Robert Paršo, grafický dizajnér, výtvarník a organizátor, žije v Kaplne a Bratislave, tvorí publikácie, vizuálne identity, ale v tvorbe a živote je skôr novým dadaistom ako klasickým grafickým dizajnérom. Je zakladateľom niekoľkých občiansko-kultúrnych iniciatív – galérie a klubu Buryzone, ktorá inšpirovala celú kultúrnu generáciu po roku 2000, či vlastnej galérie FreeDom, je kurátorom a organizátorom Trienále plagátu Trnava.

Zhovárali sa: Barbora Komarová, Mária Rišková

Téma Udalosti Ocenenia Knihy Rozhovory Zbierky Užitočné
Dizajnéri Štúdiá Newsletter