Interview with Zdeněk Kvasnice and Jozef Ondrik from Prague-based Deep Throat studio.

LIGATURE: Hello Zdeněk and Jozef how are you?

Jozef: Hm…Good! Not exactly chilled, sometimes depressed, a lot of things are in progress! More money more problems…

Zdeněk: I’m feeling great.

L: Can you introduce yourselves?

DT: Of course! We are a small independent studio based in Prague. Before starting the studio we met each other at university at the department of graphic design in Zlín. We were joined by the will and the need to run a debate within the subject and by the possibility of contributing opinions different to those that were around at the time. While studying at university, we each worked independently or collaborated with other artists. But we both knew the work of each other. In early 2010 our paths separated, Zdeněk started his Master’s studies at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and me (Jozef) at Gerrit Rietveld Academie … Today, apart from managing the studio, we teach classes, we do workshops, we take part in discussions and occasionally write some texts…

L: How did you come to start up the studio?

DT: As we mentioned earlier, we were classmates at university in the small Czech city of Zlín (bachelor program). We have known each other since 2008. After our studies (Jozef – Gerrit Rietveld Academie) (Zdeněk – Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague), we met again and worked together on a project (it was visual identity for a fashion house from L.A.). This project was a total fail from the start to finish, but funnily it made us stronger and brought us closer together and that’s how it all began. In 2012, we established a graphic design studio, which has served as an open space for collaboration and a discussion about graphic design and how it relates to practice. At present, our studio has three members. Our crew – Zdenek Kvasnica, Jozef Ondrik and our new member Matus Buranovsky.

L: Where does your interest in design come from?

Jozef: Even before I knew how to write I drew a lot. I sketched everything that had arrived from the west after 1989. For example Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, first Nintendo’s cartridges, chewing gum packaging and so on. As a child, I responded to the visual a lot, and it has probably never stopped. From technical drawings I got to architecture, through which I tagged the city with various inscriptions – tags, I made street art, read books and liked films of different genres and it all merged together and catalysed smoothly to graphic design and typography.

Zdeněk: I do not know where it came from. I studied electrical school and after that IT at university. I was a normal kid who would stare of the window at school and at home, day by day. I never drew, I learned how to express myself artistically during college where I took art classes. It all probably started with my interest in expressing thoughts in other ways, not just verbally, because I could never speak and when I did I would only say foolish things.

L: Would you like to talk about one of the recent projects you designed?

DT: No prob! One of our latest long-term projects is the redesign of visual identity of an art gallery. Every month, together with exhibiting artists and the curator, we prepare a “unique” visual. For each artist we create their own short-term “unique” identity (logo, symbol, sign) that ends with their exhibition. It is more of a formal approach rather than conceptual, but it seems less worn out and flexible in terms of thinking about visual identity and the needs of the institution. In addition to its formal appearance, a symbol or a logo always reflects the concept of the art exhibition, in a metaphorical way. Shape, surface, pattern, color, material, dimensions. These are the parameters that change from logo to logo and indicate the form of the exhibition.

L: How do you feel about the current design scene in Prague?

DT: Over the last few years, things have changed a lot. There are not only bigger graphic design agencies but also small independent studios and many freelance designers. Furthermore, a new type of designer has emerged. A person who simply buys a computer, cracks a graphic software and does design on the side. Individuals and studios are now more specialized than before. You will find here good typographers, illustrators, web designers, or designers working with CGI and VR technology. Finally, designers are making their own exhibitions, starting to publish their own publications, and are more than just clicking guys, some of them become co-artists. The media are slowly starting to write about this small “design scene” and foreign designers are talking about it … We are happy to be part of it and we are looking forward to new impulses and new blood coming. Just a few years back, in order to see quality graphic design, you had to travel to Germany or Holland. But today you do not have to go anywhere, all you need is right here maybe in less intensity but it is…



Interview:
Dennis Moya
Tiffany Bähler

Published:
11.2017

Pictures:
©Deep Throat Studio

Categories:
Design
Graphic Design
Interviews