It was the year 2004 when I immigrated to the United States from Slovakia and start further developing my painting passion. Following the guidance of an inherited talent from my parents for painting and creativity led me to the path of exploring instead of accepting modern principals.
I gained a curiosity in studying traditional painting techniques, and the process of creating a painting in the layered technique. I desired to control balance in the tonality of my painting. Bright smooth gradients in the light, sharp definition of brushstroke and deep color parts of my renderings without being dully dark. That was the goal I wouldn't give up or compromise. This goal led me to explore different painting mediums and the way in which they could change the appearance of a painting and the creative process as well. After trying a wide variety of traditional mediums, I realized that the modern formulation of paints and the properties of used pigments couldn't really be changed or the effect was insignificant and not worth the effort. With many issues with thinning, drying, holding the brushstroke of just simple adhesion layer over layer I realized the paints I was using aren't created or suited for layered paintings. After trying different paints and pigments from many creators I experienced for the first time a 'feel'. A 'feel' that some colors, mainly natural earths are just speaking a different language to me. They inspired me. On the other side the vibrant but flat color expression of modern colors got me lost on my creative path. Mixing paints with nowadays pigments that are created mainly for industrial use, often misguided my natural 'feel' and pushed on me their psychedelic vividness, alternating my vision with the purpose they were created for: the brightest in tone, strongest in covering the most vividness, and a vast variety in colors. I found myself constantly fighting these attributes. With that much conflict I turned away from creativity and start discovering the origin of colors. This is the point where my new adventure started.
Reading about old masters and their techniques, I was guided step by step through antique books and manuscript translations finding myself reading more and more about these traditional pigments made from minerals. I began making notes about the preparation processes and collecting mineral specimens. After preparation of my first pigment, malachite, affirmation came. The 'feel' was real, the color was talking to me in a never before seen green color. Completely immersed in my discovery, I was working on pigment after pigment: cinnabar for red, azurite for blue. The new color 'feel' kept enhancing my vision and thirst to discover more. Working over pages of recipes after recipes, collecting more specimens from different locations and fine-tuning each process to produce the best version of the color was my daily routine. Fra Angelico blue pigment was the hardest. Right from the first step, back then, crushing the rocks, with hand tools. The trial-error frustration ended after four years, when I extracted the most beautiful blue from the rock. This was a life-changing experience. Color by color I created a collection of classical pigments. The transparency and various particle sizes of traditional pigments are unique properties, not known in the modern variety of pigments. Using customized equipment for the cleaning and refining of traditional pigments, I was ready to share my achievements with the world. At the beginning of 2010 I created my first informative website www.masterpigments.com. Soon afterwards I was contacted by many artists driven by the same 'feel'. Master Pigments became an online store.
After opening the online pigment store, I was working my daily job and on the side I kept making by hand my own pigments from scratch. I kept developing additional materials from the 'old' world driven mostly by the passion for art. With the help of like minded individuals and modern technologies, I was able to conquer challenges associated with making traditional colors and create my own line of oil paints 'Via GAZO'. After developing a minimally contaminating method for grinding and cleaning minerals into pigments, I used the same principle for milling pigments into paints by using the ceramic rollers in my mill instead of the metal ones.
Each paint has its own unique properties based on the pigment used. Milled to perfection in linseed oil, benefiting from variety of pigment particle sizes, the paint keeps a very fine grit without being overly gritty or completely flat/dull. Finding the 'right' oil was another challenge and the progress was delayed many times. The linseed oil I use is hand washed and cleaned by traditional technique. This technique produces a very lean, fast drying oil without use of driers or cooking. The developing process and testing of paints is time consuming and a very long road, but this is a dream of mine I'm not willing to compromise. My main priority is to create the paint without using extenders or additives so that the paint therefore keeps its original properties and extensively benefits from painting mediums used by an artist. They are easily mixable with oil painting medium of your choice. The paints created this way open-up completely new color dimensions in creativity, the world beyond the color.