Story behind The Rabbits

In 2008, I was living in a dormitory, in a small room with three roommates. There was one bathroom and kitchen per floor and for furniture I had only a bed. At that time I considered it luxurious, as I was used to being homeless.

During the day I was at my job in another part of the city. My salary was tiny, my boss paid me less than other workers because he knew it was easy to manipulate me. On my way home, I was looking for expired products left under the counters at a food market or something in the trash near big grocery stores. My weight was 42 kilograms with a height of 175 cm, so I was almost blown away by a strong wind. My teeth were rotten, I dressed in old clothes and I was weak and tired all the time. Bridges with my troubled family had been burned long ago and I hadn't developed any strong friendships yet. It was the most lonely and desolate period of my life.

My neighbours were rosy-cheeked students from a nearby university and they hated me. I didn’t blame them, because I was always depressed and mean. With some of them, I became real enemies and I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. When I walked along the endless dormitory corridor to my room, I stuck close to the wall, almost clinging to it, trying to be invisible.

My only joy was to work on my drawings. I had printer paper that I stole from work, a black pen and my bed as a working space. I was drawing from imagination, I also studied art history and anatomy from books I got in a library. At that time I was especially interested in the Northern Renaissance and Albrecht Dürer in particular. One day I was making a copy of his rabbit watercolour, but something went wrong. When I finished drawing his head, I suddenly drew him a costume, then the dead wolf and the rest.
I didn’t know where it all came from and I didn’t care what it all means. I just gave in to impulse and made a series in this style. The shy victimized animals became strong and aggressive in my drawings, so strong they could even kill a vulture. When I moved to a better place, I abandoned this graphic series.

I drew my next rabbit ten years later in 2018. At that time I was renting my own place, but it was in a hazardous half-abandoned building with a crazy alcoholic landlord, who liked to spontaneously check the apartment. As always, I found my foothold in my work. I painted a lot and I often put paintings on a sill rail, facing the window so that they dry faster. One day I was walking past my house and saw two rabbits in my broken windows. They looked like they were guarding the apartment. At that moment I realised what they mean to me! In my dangerous, unstable world, these rabbits are my protective animals, my guardians.
When I draw, I don't know exactly what I'm doing right away. This is not because I don't like to think, but because visual art has its mechanisms and I use that instead of inventing a verbal idea and then illustrating it. I follow my imagination, rules of composition and art taste. It is interesting for me to understand and describe these processes post factum, but I never analyse it while I paint.

“The Rabbits are not what they seem” is a paraphrase from Twin Peaks. It both reflects my love of David Lynch’s work and the nature of my rabbits. My guarding animals are literally not what they seem: if you look closely you will see they have snake’s eyes and lion’s nails. I symbolically empowered these herbivores, so they don't need to hide and run all the time.

The key difference with the old rabbits is that in 2008, they were killing and torturing wolves, which personified my enemies. Now the rabbits are self-content and the aggression of early drawing has gone. They don’t need a beheaded predator around them to show their power, as now they are bright red and full of energy, no matter how hazardous their habitat. ⠀


I was eventually evicted from this apartment by my drunk landlord, but my rabbits will always live as a local attraction on Google maps.