Martina Matlovičová was born on Christmas Eve in 1975 in Bratislava and studied at the Academy of Performing Arts. She has won the following awards: The Most Beautiful Books of Slovakia (2001), the Golden Apple at the BIB 2009, the Golden Ribbon 2010 (Prague). Her illustrations are exhibited at home and abroad. She has repeatedly participated in the Zázračný oriešok / Miraculous Nut festival in Piešťany, and in 2010 she was part of the large travelling exposition of Slovak illustrators that exhibited at the book fair in Bologna, where Slovakia was a honorary guest. In 2011 she exhibited at the representative exhibition of illustrations at the Slovak National Theater (along with Dušan Kállay, Dana Moravčíkova and Miloš Kopták.) Her work is comprised of three essential artistic blocks: illustration, where she has many publications to her name, large paintings on canvas and extremely quaint wooden objects. Naturally, each of these sets has its specific features, poetics and atmosphere. She is a master of moods – hers and ours. Her illustrations raise the texts to another level. She doesn’t simply describe or decorate a book, she lives in it like some of the characters. While at times her colors are intentionally naivizing and utterly unambiguous, at other times they carry codes and metaphors, dignity and elegance. She combines painting style and collage, and concentrates on the details and compositions. She has an outstanding sense of humor, irony and sarcasm. Martina stylizes figures, intentionally acknowledging their playful infantilism and their devised jokiness. She perceives a book as a complex structure and her creations demonstrate her daring inventive thinking regarding illustrations as well as painted relief decorative objects that carry specific messages. She also shifts them to the level of applied art and creates minimalistic “stage designs.”
Vladimír Král was born in 1974 in Bratislava. From 1994 to 1999 he studied at the Animation Department of the Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Since then he has worked as an illustrator, stage designer, director of animated TV spots and most recently as a painter on canvas, drawing inspiration from medieval panel painting and book illuminations. He is also influenced by Renaissance portraits, naïve painter Henri Rousseau and Neue Sachlichkeit (Otto Dix). He was involved in creating puppet theater stage designs and spatial solutions at BIBIANA, the International House of Art for Children in Bratislava in the following puppet theater productions: Betlehémske rozprávky (Fairy Tales of Bethlehem, 1998) and Veľký primáš Baro (The Great First Violin, Baro, 2002). He also participated in preparing the following exhibitions: Naše Vianoce na skle maľované (Our Christmas Painted on Glass,1999), Najkrajšie knihy Slovenska 2000 – 2007 / The Most Beautiful Books of Slovakia 2000-2007 and Putovanie s ovečkou / Wandering with a Little Sheep 2013.
He won the Award of the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic at the 2012 Most Beautiful Books of Slovakia competition for his impressive illustrations for the book Vianočné mystérium / The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. The book Kozliatka (The Little Goats) was included in the IBBY Honorable List in 2016 for illustration. Vladimír creates illustrations like paintings. He usually places a plastic stylized figure in the center of a space full of colors and concentrates on the composition, using the perspective and architecture of the elements. He sets bizarre figures in precisely defined colored spaces and “animates” the story with his illustrations. From time to time, he symbolically defines details and creates specific and sometimes surrealistic stage designs and situations. He employs a system that combines painting, graphic design, stage design thinking and animation in illustrations and thus creates small 2-D theaters. He perceives children as equal partners and offers them a comprehensive sophisticated aesthetics of artistry.