Kveta Pacovska . An Illustrator from Prague
Kvĕta Pacovská (born July 28, 1928) is an 84 year old artist and illustrator. She majored in Graphic Art in the Prague School of Applied Arts and mainly worked in graphics, conceptual art and artist book fields. She won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration in 1992, recognizing her “lasting contribution to children’s literature”. Her picture books still captivate children’s minds of all over the world with fantastic color combining, geometrical composition and unique stereoscopic beauty.
She was famous as a graphic designer and has had more than 50 exhibitions since 1961 when she started drawing picture books for her own children. As a mother, she worked with a great zeal to show her children her work and for the last 50 years, she wrote approximately 50 picture books. It was Kveta’s love and responsibility for helping her children’s future, and her memories and respect for her own grandmother (who gave her an initial interest in picture books), that formed two of the driving forces creating a desire for Kveta to illustrate her own picture book world.
Kveta says “In great music, there is original rhythm. That music is in a harmony that any other music cannot copy. The music with a beautiful and harmonious melody, is pleasant for even children and old people and it’s the same with my pictures. I don’t want to draw a picture book just repeating the same patterns.” She said that whenever she started new work, she tried to always make it feel like it was her biggest idea. Her philosophy is that the most important thing for the picture book is a love for the children. Without thinking and feeling for the child audience , the imagery would be lifeless and the picture books themselves…dead. As a Graphic designer she has lectured in the Academy in Berlin from 1992 to 1993 and in 1999, and received an honorary doctor’s degree of design from Kingston University, England.
Her works surpassed the limitation of paper book and ascertained the possibility of picture book as a 3-dimensional artistic object. She achieved recognition and was awarded the Deutsche Ugendliteraturpreis in 1991, The Hans Christian Andersen Awards in 1992 and Johann Gutenberg award, the most honorable prize for book designers, in 1997.
The work, which made her become world-famous, is an experimental book design (as below) that she has been doing since 1950’s. Her book form is beyond the limit of a fixed book and print production. It suggests a new possibility of the book as an object which is three-dimensional and stimulates the senses. These books induce the instinct for play by using interesting materials such as Aluminum and tracing paper. These experimental books give children lots of possibilities to develop their imaginations and encourage their own creativity.
She strikes me as the funkiest 85 year old I’ve seen for a long time. Superb work Kveta.