Jan Kasparec Painter in Vancouver
We are launching a new series of interviews with interesting Czech and Slovak people living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We would like to introduce you to people who inspire and teach us to open up to new horizons, and share their experiences about life in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Please welcome our first guest, Jan Kasparec (35), a young and talented painter who works in the Commercial Drive area in Vancouver. His colourful art showcases a spiritual world of fantasy inspired by nature. Jan himself radiates peace, harmony and happiness from the inside out, and this is projected through the bright stars in his blue eyes. Plus, ladies, he is very sexy.
What are the three main reasons you paint? What are you inspired by?
When I first took on painting professionally, I was very driven and honest, but I was trying to paint images that would sell. I quit my day job because I felt that I had been only fulfilling someone else’s capitalist dream, but I worried about how to survive as a painter. Nevertheless, my reasons for painting have since changed dramatically.
Last summer I experienced an inner transformation that has altered my approach towards life, my expectations and desires. I no longer wish to be a rich and famous artist. I wish to paint to feel joy and to create joy for others. I wish to awaken people through my art. Painting has given me so much, I am so thankful for each new day before I go to sleep. Painting has opened up doors to a present moment. Painting has taught me patience, determination, courage and trust.
As far as inspiration goes, there is so much of it out there. We live in a beautiful but dying world. For me inspiration means being connected to the source and a power that creates lives in the present moment. There is no problem in the entire universe; the problem only persists in the human mind, while there is beauty and never-ending inspiration in a quiet mind. Our busy minds and thought patterns clog up our ears and cover our eyes and prevent us from seeing the treasures all around us and being inspired at every moment.
Having seen your Facebook page, it is clear that you are very spiritual. How did you get there?
Whatever I post on Facebook represents my message to my online community. My inner reality might be different. I naturally strive to live in harmony with my own words but we are all subject to wanting to be liked and approved by the society we live in since very early childhood. The first important step is to become aware of our own mental prison that we create along with our life programming. To become aware of our ego and just watch it as a cluster of thought patterns about us and others in our lives. The ego is helping us to create the movie of our lives and our thoughts that, actually, have nothing to do with our true essence.
Spirituality is commonly a very misleading concept. Being a spiritual person does not mean to do well, sit in a meditation pose under a tree or visit and preach in a temple or a church. If Buddha sat on the street, the crowd would just pass him by as he would be an incarnation of commonness. In my understanding, spirituality and inner experience is about being in spirit, being connected and truthfully reflecting an ocean of peace that we are an integral part of. Spirituality is about stopping to play while being unaware and to play truthfully. It’s a homecoming.
Unconditional love, joy, surrender and spreading good are just visible features of a spiritual person because being in spirit means to be one with a power that creates the universe and this power is always in harmony with all existence. Trying to understand spirituality or how to become a spiritual person actually delays this journey. Spirituality is always at the back of a mind, in peace, here and now. Efforts and ambitions are merely toys of the ego.
But to answer your question – my spiritual journey began as commonly as ever – with my birth. After my family and society have kindly or less kindly covered up my spirituality, it again started to awaken through obstacles and barriers that have appeared in large numbers on my path. But I have really started to awaken in the peace of meditation and I’m deeply rooted in the present moment.
Is pain, suffering, sadness or depression needed to find our true self? From your own experience, what would you advise to those, who are on a path, and to those who haven’t even discovered it yet?
It is not directly needed but it is often the suffering that brings awareness and the ego mind starts to crack up. We live in a space that we perceive as duality. The darkness is merely the absence of light but we would perceive light differently if it was not for the darkness. Our roles and games that we have learned to play to achieve temporary satisfaction and a fleeting feeling of happiness brought on by a piece of chocolate, career, our bodies or an attractive partner, carry a guaranteed feeling of dissatisfaction and suffering because any of these outer pleasures are doomed. As soon as this insatiable mechanism has been run so many times that it leads to an unbearable suffering or if the object of desire ceases to be available, then finally the awareness and consciousness come to the foreground along with the realization that happiness and peace only stem from the inside.
The problem does not exist in the outside forms but in our relation to those. An existing pain in our lives is unavoidable and suffering has been chosen freely. Suffering is a drama that we have created ourselves in our own mind. Great suffering shakes up our storyboard so strongly that we finally choose to rewrite it consciously, with a new awareness rather than with an automated response subconsciously learned in the past. For example, if we go through a number of failed relationships and experience emptiness and dissatisfaction resulting from having multiple sexual partners, then the message from our soul does not tell us: “keep on going“, rather it tells us: “get down on your butt, meditate, look inside of yourself and finally start loving yourself!“ This is why I am so grateful for any pain and suffering. It has brought me to the point where I am now. I am still a half-blind kitty but I have stopped to identify myself with my cranky mind and its definition of reality, its idea about the very me.
From my own experience I can recommend two things: try to be fully present here and now, whatever happens. Make friends with the present moment; make it a home, a cozy place. Always act as if you have freely chosen every single moment, even though it can be full of pain. Most people live in the past or the future and merely use the present as a tool to achieve something in the future, which is a total waste of time that has been assigned to us on this planet. It is the most stupid and at the same time the most common disease of humankind. We can only live fully and be absolutely happy if we are present here and now.
The second recommendation is about self-love. Self-love is a key that will open up the door to happiness. This happiness comes from within so nothing and nobody can ever take it away from us. Loving ourselves is the greatest service to the world that we can give out. It’s the opposite of being selfish. When we experience unconditional love for ourselves, this love shines through us like a light; it penetrates everything and everybody around us. People who lack self-love always act as freeloaders of the outside world, their partner, kids, the environment, etc. Hitler hated himself, Eckhart Tolle loves himself. Both of them gave out energy to millions of people.
I know it is easy to say, to love myself, but how can I do it? As for myself, I started by cutting out things from my life that kept me in the weeds. It definitely takes a huge load of honesty and determination. To achieve that honesty we need the light of consciousness that starts to shine through us when the mind is quiet, mainly in meditation. When the mind and body are engaged in an attack of abstinence while pushing the old desires and habits onto us to maintain its existence (to put us in the position of a victim or a judge), it is essential to gather all our inner strength, and in peace and love merely observe what is happening inside of us, acting as an observant, not as the main character. It is essential not to succumb, not to fall back onto the usual track to hell. To tell yourself: “I love myself so much that I will give myself the gift of freedom because I greatly deserve it.“ Then finally the beautiful day will come when the need to succumb to the old habits will be so weak that even a slight ray of consciousness will dissolve it in a few breaths. The next step is to stop trying to fill up the newly gained space with something else; to stop searching for the meaning of life and finally have life flow through us, without any resistance. In silence and space the love and creativity will start to grow. Meditation is the best tool to do this.
What is your life purpose? What ideas, emotions or experiences do you wish to awaken in others through your art?
My life purpose is to be a truthful reflection of my heart. If this means using my hands to bring joy and beauty to the world, which I feel inside of me, or to sit in awe and watch the beauty of this world and laugh, cry, dance or sing, that remains to be seen. In any case, I am here to serve others, without becoming greedy and dying in a palace with a beautiful car, I’m here to help, to become an inspiration for people around me. Every year it becomes clearer to me that I strive for less, and I actually receive and give more.
Recently you organized an exhibition of your work that had a great turnout of about 100 people. That is a lot of support for a young artist. What do these people mean to you?
True, this was the biggest event related to my work. People came for a number of reasons; there were friends, acquaintances, and a growing number of people who are interested in my work. The feedback that I received from this group mirrors the energy that I send out. That is a beautiful thing. It teaches me how to be humble. I do not thrive in the compliments or the art sales but in the heartwarming emails that I receive from people who were touched by my words and paintings. The same goes for messages that I receive from charitable organizations that received a portion of my earnings. I say to myself: “Boy, you are probably doing some good here but keep centered, do not feel too proud, do not fear any obstacles“. In this sense, these people function as a fan for my furnace. My fire glows without them but the unconditional love of the people flares it up even stronger.
What is the actual daily life of an artist like? How do you handle life‘s challenges? Do you live in modesty or luxury?
Naturally it is not easy to survive as an artist. But I can only speak of my own reality. This involves me working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day minimum. I often leave my art studio at 3am. At home I just take a shower and sleep; I do not own anything except for a bed. There are days when I’m so strongly connected that the time ceases to exist, I put everything else aside, I turn off my phone, I do not want to see anybody, do not want to interrupt the flow of creativity.
There are other times when things do not run smoothly and so I stretch my canvas, prepare frames or run errands to make my studio functional. I do not eat out; I cook and mix simple vegetarian meals in my studio to save time. Since I have stopped drinking and chasing women, I do not go out as I used to, I have actually cut myself off from social life. When you find a treasure inside, you stop looking for fulfillment outside; it is as simple as that.
In summer I spend a lot of time under the sun and biking but in winter I hibernate and if I am not traveling, it is hard to get me out of the house. Nevertheless, every day I find time to practice pranayama, yoga and meditation. In summer I do this under the open sky, in winter in my studio where I have created a peaceful atmosphere. I would not be able to work so hard without a healthy body and a controlled mind. I recharge in nature. From the outside it looks like I live a simple life but I have never been so happy and fulfilled as I am now. In my view, I am living a life of luxury. Abundance and love and other things cannot be bought as they come when we are living in the present moment, with inner harmony, and do not get influenced by outside circumstances. If my bank account shows a hundred or one hundred thousand dollars, it does not change my artistic touch. When on holiday I love to sleep in a forest anyway. I have stopped worrying because any challenge helps me grow.
Is there any funding from the Canadian or Czech governments for painters?
Yes, from the Canadian government. The Province of BC provides grants for artists and some are financially attractive, however, I have never applied for one and do not intend to. I want to paint, I do not want to ask for help and fill out paperwork. I do not know anything about the Czech government. I would welcome the opportunity if they offered sponsorship for my next exhibition in a larger space as the space of my current studio is limited. Also considering that from each exhibition I donate a large portion or the full revenue to non-profit organizations that help people that are falling off the edge of society. In this way the Czech Embassy would show our good will to the Canadian people.
How can we support you further?
Buy my paintings (laughs). Or just share my art on social media and come to my next exhibition. But the best support you can show is to enjoy my art. Enjoy my paintings if you like them. Read what I write about them and think about it. Forget about the dramas in your head, go back home – to your inner self, to the ocean of happiness that you harbour deep inside your heart, and most importantly – love yourself; then share and spread that love around.
10 ways to trust your inner self:
- Live each new day fully as if it was your last.
- Connect to your inner self and trust who you really are inside.
- Love yourself like nobody else in the world. Every day look in the mirror and say to yourself: I love you!
- Live in the present moment, let children inspire you.
- Do whatever you feel is right without thinking if others will judge you for it.
- Let go of the past, let go of the pain.
- Be grateful for every situation, even pain and suffering, because it is your unique opportunity to move forward and break free from embedded and programmed patterns and pathways.
- Watch your mind from the outside, monitor your thoughts objectively, and do not allow the voice of your ego to dictate your life.
- Take up exercise, re-evaluate your food intake and watch your mind from a distance.
- Be grateful for every moment and smile. You only live here and now. Namaste.
Big thanks to Jan for his beautiful words and we wish him the best of luck.
If you wish to support Jan in any way, please contact him directly through his Facebook page website:
Interview was conducted by Lenka de Graafova, CEO of LingoStar Translations Vancouver. We welcome your feedback through our Facebook page LingoStar Translations. This article is also available in the Czech language at dev.lingo-star.com/project/jan-kasparec-rozhovor-vancouver/.
Included in the photo below is one of the paintings that Lenka bought that is prominently displayed in the LingoStar office right now.