Andrew Valko was born 1957 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and came to Canada in 1968. He received his Diploma in Graphic Design and Applied Arts from the Red River Community College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and also had the opportunity to study printmaking with Toshi Yoshida at Yoshida Hanga Academy in Tokyo, Japan that catalyzed the artist’s interest in printmaking, and in combining paint and print media.
The artist says about his œuvre, “Different artists or personalities lead to different styles. I am not primarily a realist. A lot of people think that when you are doing a realist painting, there’s no abstraction. In fact, it’s all abstraction. I paint the light, not the objects. I want it all to be there but it has to have content, composition, colour use, subtlety and beauty. Beauty is very important. I want the painting to be good on all levels. Like a craftsmen or builder, you have to start with a foundation.”
Valko explains, “I have major themes such as the swimming pool series, the motel series, the drive-in movie screens, and women with weapons. I have become interested in the prairie landscape. I love the sky and the light, and the small town in the middle of nowhere.” Valko’s subjects almost always include the figure within an architectural setting. He notes: “I keep a file of slides. I’ll get an idea and go round and take images. I get ideas all the time but have certain themes that appeal to me. I have sketchbooks where I do drawing. I develop the characters and story and put it together. I might have a model come in.”
The female form is a reoccurring presence, often represented within the pleasure grounds of travel and escape. The artist explains, “A lot of my work is painted in night light, a time of melancholy and transitions. I hardly ever paint a daytime picture. There is more mystery and a suggestion of menace that could be real.”