Within artist Radek Husak’s figurative series, we see the influence of the timeless tradition of the nude meeting elements of Pop culture from the 1950’s and 60’s. Having long been seduced by the beauty and perfection of the Classical world, Husak presents us with a very modern muse: the lithe and youthful man; channelling the look and movement of the fashion model in a neo-romantic way.
Steven: You bring such beauty out in your subject matter. What is the first thing that you look at in a man?
Husak: There are so many aspects of the male body that interest me. However, the part that I am naturally drawn to are the hands. I believe that – after the face – hands are the most expressive tools that we have. They can convey so many ideas and emotions and their complexity always adds sensuality to my work.
Steven: What is your earliest memory of creating art?
Husak: The earliest memory I have is creating potato stamps with my brother.
I am still fascinated by the simplicity of this mark-making. There is something satisfying and therapeutic about it at the same time.
Steven: How long does it take on average to create a piece
Husak: This really depends on the size and complexity of the composition.
On average, I would give myself around 4-6 weeks before I am happy with the result. The large triptych on display at Quantus gallery took nearly six months (on and off) to complete.
Steven: Does the current anti LGBTQ+ sentiment in Poland worry you?
Husak: It is seriously alarming how LGBTQ community is treated in Poland – hard to believe that such behaviour is tolerated in a modern democracy. I recently had an opportunity to exhibit some of my works in colour at Fotofestiwal in Lodz. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. I see that as a good sign that the younger generation seems more open and tolerant.
Steven: Who in the public eye would you like to capture?
Husak: Ufff… That’s a very good question! There are so many personalities that I admire. If I could choose one, it would be Stephen Fry. Not only is he a pioneer within the LGBTQ community, he is also a great personal hero. His trilogy on ancient mythology inspired a lot of my work.
Steven: When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
Husak: On my days off, you would probably find me in the British Museum admiring achievements of the past. This would probably be followed by a pint of lager watching rugby in my local pub.
Steven: Your work is stunning, and you give your subject matter an almost heavenly feel. Do believe in life after death?
Husak: As a very spiritual person, I strongly believe in life after death. There simply must be something on the other side. Whether you call this heaven, Elysium or Walhalla, it’s someplace beautiful.
Steven: Your subjects are all very natural. Do you feel men have become overly groomed?
Husak: I like all my models to come as they are. I embrace and relish in all the marks, scars, bumps and all their bodily imperfections. To groom oneself is to look after yourself. However, in recent years, those rituals have been taken to the extreme. Perhaps less is more. The patina of time is sexy.
Steven: Have you ever been subjected to homophobic abuse?
Husak: I am blessed with wonderful families here in the UK and Poland that have always protected me from abusive behaviours. However, luckily or not, I have only ever experienced verbal vitriol. It is important to raise your hand and talk about it openly. It’s the only way we can stop it.
Steven: If you could invite four people – alive or dead – to dinner, who would they be?
Husak: Oh, this is a good one! I would invite Angela Hartnett so she can cook something delightfully Italian; Stephen Fry, so he can entertain us with some spicy stories; Dame Elizabeth Taylor, because it’s her, and last but not least; Nigella, so we can have a deliciously decadent pudding to finish off.
Steven: If you were London Mayor for a day, what one thing would you change about the city?
Husak: Not realistic – but I would finally close Oxford Street to the traffic. It would be wonderful to stroll down without constant fear of being hit by a taxi or a bus.
Steven: What does 2023 hold for you?
Husak: I am currently developing some new ideas for sculptural works. Hopefully, I will have something to share mid next year. I also want to have more time to embrace ceramics; there is so much more I can do.
Check out Radek Husak’s work in person on online: