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Western Stone

Peter Kocak

Stone is my buddy - Slovakia copperplate painter, Kocak Peter.

His name is translated into stone from the Slovak language.

In the early 1990s, I got to know Stone in a very eastern way, full of metaphysical mystery. Maybe he saw printmaking works by me and other Chinese artists. His great interest of the oriental culture made him quickly write a letter. This letter, with an unclear address, was passed on to me hand from the well-known Chinese Red Gate Gallery. You should know, at that time, Slovakia was such a strange name for China. For his longing of China and the my curious yearning for Slovakia, we started to communicate with letters. Whenever I read his letters or replied back to him, I had to get someone to help me translate them. This is fourteen years ago.

In 1997, China exhibited four Slovakian artists work at an exhibition at gallery in China. This was Stones first time showing his exquisite engraving works in China.

But things did not go as I had planned. I traveled and moved ten times, and a lot of my mail was lost. Plus, between my heart surgery and recuperation, I lost his address, and lost contact with him. I began to miss this Western artist, who often shared countless art and life lessons with me in his letters. I had no way of getting in touch with him.

Fourteen years later, in 2008, coincidentally, he saw my name in list of investors for the "Beijing Studio Center" on the Internet. He wrote to me immediately and expressed his eagerness to come. He asked me to give him a real Chinese name, and I gave him Stone. This name was also a name that would help him get famous. I went to the airport to meet him but went to the wrong terminal. I also held a large sign that said "PETER" and waited for a long time. So, thanks to the magic and fate by God, we friends of many years finally met. By this time, we both had learned some English and could now communicate freely with each other. I now knew that while I was driven to study English, he was also carrying a dictionary, eager to learn English as well. He was no better than I.

Stone's personality is like his country's temperament. On one hand, Slovakia is a country with fairy tale charm; Stones inner heart is still childlike, like a real boy. During his visit to China, each day he had infinite amazing new discoveries: both modern and traditional streets, beautiful and delicious delicacies, the magic of calligraphy and grand Chinese ink, and also beautiful oriental woman... Everything is art, and he can hardly concentrate on making his own artwork. The sudden and mysterious Oriental culture shock continued to rock his mind. He often murmured: I am the child that never grew up, Peter.Pan flying to Neverland. Meanwhile he tapped his chest and winked: "Super" leads out the eternal mood of Chinese girls around him and the courage of men. On the other hand, his works have European tradition, filled with serious religious feelings. Slovakia is a Catholic country. His work is so exquisite, and seems as if they can use a fingers touch to read his work. His small pictures all show the inheritance of European culture and spirit, as if you can read the story of medieval prophecy like the Seventh Seal. But his works are also extremely contemporary, like beautiful strings of Paganini. You can see his one eye wearing a magnifying glass and crawl on the copperplate, precise and profound. And this is just his child-like temperament.

Stone love his Chinese name very much, as much as his love of calligraphy. He bought Chinese brush-pen and wrote "stone." His blonde braid and height of 1.80 meters, resulting in countless peoples raised eyebrows on the road. Sometimes I was too busy to be with him, but when that was the case, he could do things like go to Panjiayuan and chat art with dethroned old calligraphers for half an hour. The calligrapher didn't understand English, and he did not understand Chinese, their communication was all by body language and eyes, wonderful! Stone is extremely sensitive, and he can read your mind from your eyes. He knows acupuncture, and was capable of the Zen way... He loves his family and children, when you see him, you will see his beautiful wife and daughter's photos.

In his birthday party on July 15th, the Chinese artists held an art exhibition "Colorful stone. There were also artists from Sweden, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Namibia, and other countries as well. He brought more than thirty pieces of works and by the end they were all sold out. What touched people must be the traditional factors and the real artist's naive and pure nature of his work. This is precious and rare in today's Chinese artist circles.

Soon, Stone will be back to the west, back to his country in a few days.

Faithfully wishes him good luck!

Zheng Xuewu

20 days before The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2:23 in the morning

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