s WHAT THE FREAK IS GOING ON - Swarm mag

WHAT THE FREAK IS GOING ON

While being often likened to Charles Burns, Tomáš Motal's one-of-a-kind personality, distinctive underdog humour and outcast characters never fail to make his black and white illustrations and comic books stand out on their own. Welcome to the creepy vortex.

Is your place of birth reflected in your works?

In my comicses, I often depict the time of my childhood, the first half of the 80s in Olomouc. It’s a kind of romanticized idea about exploring a new world in the ruins of its predecessor. The infiltrating western influences, technologies, pop culture, fashion. The time of “the wild East” inspired by 80s movies. The peripheries of housing estates, decommissioned trains, factories, garages and warehouses. The romanticism of deterioration, expansion and tragedy.

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Any projects and collaborations you would like to mention?

With my partner, I’ve collaborated on a series of backpacks bearing my illustrations for the Czech KRAS label. The series of urbanist-themed illustrations depicted important places of my childhood and coming of age in Olomouc. Furthermore, I pursue music – as a singer and songwriter, I’m part of the SCHWARZPRIOR band. And as an occasional actor, I’ve acted in the movies Vienna Calling (2018) and Morava, krásná zem: III Genesis (Moravia, O Fair Land III.) (2019). I like to do guest appearances in rap songs by BADMA FACE, Řemdih a Benzin (Flail and Petrol), DBKL (2020). I’m fond of working with similarly sick people. 

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Your works are pretty recognizable. From where do you source inspiration?

I’m a Peeping Tom. I like to watch people, how they behave, their expressions, their movements. How they look and react in various situations. The uglier or stranger they are, the more they attract me. Where a normal person would avert their eyes, I begin to perceive. I love the city, architecture, a walk on the periphery, industrial, high-rises, but also castles and mountains. I’ve always sourced from pop culture a lot. Movies, video games, comic books, music, and that haven’t changed since childhood.   

Do you sense a return of the medieval theme into art? Be it its aesthetic, ideology or philosophy?

The medieval theme can be understood from many angles. For SCHWARZPRIOR, I wrote a song called Středověk druhej (A Second Medieval Age), which is post-apocalyptic in a sense. I’ve always been interested in the more somber shades of art. A kind of a periphery of art. In movies, music and comic books, I’ve always searched for darker themes. That reflects on the people I surround myself with. One could say that I’m always surrounded by a certain kind of mysticism, fondness for lowliness, irony, darkness. So I feel a constant influx of medieval themes.

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How would you define your style and technique?

Regarding my style of drawing, most often, I come across comparisons to Charles Burns. The atmosphere gets likened to Frank Miller, Mike Mignola. And I’m completely OK with that. I’ve never thought about it. I’m not a theoretician, I just do what I can. As a kid, I was defined by Kája Saudek, Simon Bisley, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, H.R. Giger, Akta X, David Lynch, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott, Akira, Matrix, Tetsuo and Spice Girls. Heaps of things.  

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What’s your forecast for the next years in the art world, if you were to play a prophet?

Firstly, I would not like to be a prophet. Regarding technologies, as an author, I’m a bit creeped out by the idea of a machine, either hardware or software, as an author of artworks. In the sense of a machine being a proper, world-famous celebrity. And such a time will surely come. And I’m curious about it. Regarding tools, I would like to try out the creation of artificial memories from Blade Runner 2049. At the same time, I’m observing that trends come and go and the value of honest handiwork is still relevant, I think. So I guess it’s cool.

 

If you could choose any medieval weapon, which one would it be and why?

I’ve immediately thought of a crossbow and I don’t even know if it’s a medieval weapon. It carries with it a piece of technological progress, an indescribable type of elegance, sexappeal and deadly dangerousness. As to why I thought of it is more likely a question for my psychologist. 

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Is there a recurring theme/story/being connecting your works?

I think it’s a certain corporeality. Touches, body disruption, various bodily deformations, fluids, blood and very often teeth. Material-wise, I use leather and latex a lot, e.g. in character costumes. Most of the time, I draw ugly people. Pretty people scare me. I would say that I often process the theme of maturing, I depict family relations a lot. The child-parent relationship.

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Any bigger projects coming in 2021?

This year, I have several projects coming up. Of course, I continue working on the TRAUM comics series. That’s an essential project of my self-presentation. And then there are projects I can’t share much about. Some comic books, TV series, music. I would like all of it to turn out well and me being satisfied with a job well done.  

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BIO / Tomáš Motal is a self-described “comics artist and author, illustrator, white trash, and person with autism.”

Born in 1987 in Olomouc. Graduated from the High School of Woodcarving in Tovačov as an artisan woodcarver. A graduate of the Faculty of Arts in Ostrava. A paranoid schizophrenic with thinning hair, neglected teeth and excess weight. Tendencies towards addictive substances, susceptible to emotional mood swings, in possession of a strong social phobia and a sense of antisocial humour. Lyricist and frontman of the SCHWARZPRIOR band, occasional actor and comics creator. His creative outlet is comics and its aesthetic projects itself into all drawings and illustrations. Motal’s works are characteristic for their convoluted narrative structure, sombre and mysterious atmosphere, black humour, irony, grime and industrial. An obsession with the bizarreness of humankind, braque interpretation, body horror and white-trash aesthetic. The heroes are lost cases, stray characters without prospects. 

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CREDITS

ARTWORKS / Tomáš Motal @motal_tomas

INTERVIEW / Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__

TRANSLATION / Františka Blažková @st.feral

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