Jarka – From Feminist Commune to Art Mom

I met the artist I knew as “Jarka” (pronounced Yarkah) when I was just a teenager. She was a true Bohemian and suggested everything an artist could be: independent, beautiful, and free. I remember her studio was a hangout for a certain topless African-American model who she did some beautiful portraits of that showed Jarka’s fascination with and understanding of Greek art history.

Jarka wore clothes she sewed and designed herself (loose fitting, wide legged pantaloon suits that included ties so one could ride a bicycle), looked like a bronzed brunette Grace Kelly, and told stories about Ayahausca trips, life in a ‘feminist’ commune where forks were prohibited, and climbing the Himalayas. Today Jarka is happily married and settled, with two daughters. But to me, she will always be that iconic Boheme.


Jarka Jaroslava Sobiskova: When I finished school (UW Wisconsin, Madison, 1993) I decided to go back to the Czech Republic. I wanted to be part of the post revolution rebuilding of the new era. I landed a great job working for Dasha Havel in the Civic Forum Foundation. It was great team to work with and I met many interesting people and could be part of forming of the new republic. I was offered promotion but I could not commit. I knew that if I chose this career I would never go back to my art, so I quit.

Jarka Jaroslava Sobiskova: Painting is my world that is where I feel best at. It heals my soul that is why I can’t give it up. Through the many years of art making I went through many different media and styles-abstract, realistic, decorative abstract, then again beck to realistic. It is constant exploration.

I use variety of media to express myself: encaustic, acrylic, clay, and felting. The last six years I have been working with wool doing wet felting. This process is like this magical journey. I meet the farmers I get my wool from. I go visit when the baby lambs are born and when the wool is harvested. All that experience becomes part of the artwork. Starting working with wool was a natural progression. I always love to work with texture. That is one thing which connects all my work.

Jarka Jaroslava Sobiskova: One thing I regret is that my paintings got smaller. I love to paint big. It is difficult with large pieces; it is hard to store them, and not many places can show them. Now since I started to work in fiber, I can do larger work, and when I am done I can just fold it up.

Jarka Jaroslava Sobiskova: Most of my inspiration comes from nature and my feelings. My art it is like an extension of me. As I said before making my artwork makes me feel good and I hope that it has the same effect on the viewers.


(c) 2010, The Hollywood Sentinel.