The Sokol Rally 2024, taking place from June 30th to July 5th in Prague, is one of the main cultural and sports events of this year. Let's remind ourselves that the first Sokol Rally took place in 1882, meaning that the tradition of these rallies is essentially as old as the National Theatre and predates the Olympic Games by fourteen years, which were established in 1896. In the world, there is hardly a more enduring event. Since its inception, Sokol rallies have been closely linked to art, and the current leadership of the Czech Sokol Community continues this exceptionally inspiring tradition. The 17th Sokol Rally is accompanied by graphic artworks by Jaromír Švejdík (also known as Jaromír 99), who collaborated with the renowned Dynamo Design studio on the visual style. You will surely not overlook it.
A comprehensive series emerged, presented in a minimalist color palette: solely red and blue on a white background, resulting in the national tricolor. Various sports are depicted, including gymnastics, athletics, fencing, and weightlifting. The artist captured the figures in the midst of action, at the peak of the narrative. They exude a typical dynamism but also convey a sense of tranquility and focus—a harmony meant to accompany sporting endeavors.
Jaromír approached this work by studying individual disciplines, drawing inspiration from his own experiences as well. Having played basketball and table tennis, he drew from personal familiarity, recognizing that each sport possesses distinctive features and movement peculiarities. The figures were meticulously crafted to withstand the scale of monumental billboards and poster spaces situated in public areas.
It's noteworthy that, even though the artist utilized a computer, the images are not cold; quite the opposite, they carry an encoded warmth, as if pulsating with kinetic energy.
Jaromír Švejdík is a versatile artist who has made a lasting impact in the realms of music (with bands like Priessnitz and Umakart), visual arts, and literature (comics such as Alois Nebel, Zátopek, Čáslavská). This combination of talents is rare, and he manages to excel in each of these fields at a high level. Jaromír's visual expression is unmistakable, instantly recognizable, and so distinctive that it can be considered a phenomenon of its kind. He had to carve out his own path to achieve this. Mastery doesn't come from the sky; it emerges only after the lines drawn with a pencil or brush extend for tens or hundreds of kilometers, surpassing the distance between Jeseník, where he was born, and Prague, where he lives.
He has crafted his own poetics, a world where nostalgia and sensitivity prevail. His compositions are clear, presented in muted tones, always well-readable, yet intriguingly never superficial. Even when creating illustrations, they are so unique that they can function as standalone artworks. Applied art transforms into art without a qualifier.