Born 1953 Bratislave
Long-time illustrator Peter Klúcik was asked to illustrate J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit soon after communism fell in 1989. For this project he created around 40 illustrations that were rich in detail and conveyed the mysterious atmosphere of the book very well. But the publishing house commissioning them failed to adjust to the market economy and lost the right to publish the book. A second one approached him, but only for the book’s cover. Then a third publishing house appeared on the scene – after the Tolkien-mania prompted by the 2001 release of the first film in The Lord of the Rings sequence — but this was denied the copyright.
After all that, Klúcik made a decision: “I have had it with illustrations. I am going to paint!” He switched from illustration to painting, and since then he has been creating a fantasy world of mysterious animals using oil on canvas. He finds inspiration in the real animals he sees in books and on television documentaries, such as tigers, zebras, and rhinos. To these images he applies his wild imagination, twisting their bodies and playing with their fur and colours until they are transformed into new, unknown creatures living in fantastic surroundings.
Before he gave up illustration, Klúcik created pictures for around 40 books, including Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. But the book that enabled him to expand his imagination the most and brought him to the path he later set out on was the last one he illustrated – Tolkien’s The Hobbit. From the evil-looking but funny hairy squirrels to the curly tails on the flying dragons, it was an easy transition to his dreamed-up world inhabited purely by animals.
1994, 2011 – Epreuve d’ArtisteGallery, Antwerp, Belgium