Artist in profile: Kamil Pleca

Kamil with his paintings outside Sheila’s hostel

The lounge area in a busy city centre hostel is not a typical place you expect to find an artist at work, especially a painter. As backpackers and student excursions march up and down the hostel from one area to the next and in through the communal areas to sit, eat, drink and socialize or have a sing along, Kamil Pleca is to be found sitting in the corner with a pencil or paint brush in his hand touching the canvas with meticulous dexterity, oblivious to his surroundings.

The lounge area in Sheila’s hostel Kamil uses as his studio

There are a few regulars here, some only weekdays others permanent. The rising cost of rent and lack of available places in the city to rent is keeping establishments like this afloat during the quiet season. Many find it hard to relax in this hectic environment they must now call home. They are like me surprised to see an artist at work in this busy, vibrating hostel. I’ve been using the hostel for a couple of months now on and off and just like any other resident here, I wondered are times that bad that a talented artist can’t find a place to live and work?! So I sat down with Kamil Pleca to find out what his backstory was and where is he going with his work….

The hostel’s storage room comes in useful for Kamil

Q: Where did you learn your skills as a painter?

A:  “I learned where I grew up Krnov in Czech Republic from my father, he was an artist working with metal mostly, carving faces out of metal and bronze. It was communist country back then and he was working for a state department doing art but also selling stuff away from the eyes of the government that may not have been allowed through the state department. He also had a full-time job installing windows and doors. My parents split up when I was small.Our house was full of his paintings on our walls. My brother is also an artist, he is involved in graphic design mostly doing advertisements”.

Q: Where have you lived before Ireland?

A: I was in Czech for most of my life. I’ve been in Ireland for 14 years now. At first I was living in Thurles doing construction and had my own business doing renovations, converting offices to apartments. But my wife and I split and so I moved to the countryside, a place called Littledon beside Thurles to get some distance but to be still close to my kids. After Littledon I moved to Cork, living across from the Opera house and now here.

Kamil shows the diversity in his work which often involves bespoke sizes

Q: Were you painting at the same time all this was going on in your life?

A:  I was painting up till two years into my marriage and then stopped, my oldest daughter Sona is the only one that does some drawing. I started again in 2017, so it had been nearly 20 years in the difference. The first piece of drawing I did when I started back was of Finbar’s cathedral and the first painting was what I call ‘quietside’, a cup of coffee on the table in the corner. But I’m getting better everyday. I like to draw structures from a distance but I don’t have my prescription glasses for this (he laughs).

Q: Where do you see yourself going with your art?

I’ve never had any formal training in art but in school my teacher recommended I go to art school. But my mother wanted me to go to a normal school and get normal work and that’s what I did. But now I’m doing this full time but loved to have full time earnings from it. I’m doing custom pieces for friends at the moment, these are 3D projections on canvas of their children’s faces. I’d like to start doing large murals so I’m very reasonable if anyone wants my style or any of my paintings, they should get in touch.

If you like any of Kamil’s paintings, wish to hire him for custom work or simply bounce ideas off him you can contact him on mobile: 0851772051

By Paul Carton

Online Editor