Jan Kaláb releasing ‘pocket paintings’ for Black Friday

Jan Kaláb (b. 1978; Prague, Czechoslovakia) wants to put fine art in your pocket. Maybe not literally, but the miniature “pocket paintings” he’s releasing for Black Friday 2023 – 6.3 x 4.7 inches (16 x 12 cm) – add a portable, whimsical interpretation to his art practice.

“I do collections of small paintings affordable for young collectors at the end of every year,” Kaláb said. “This year, I came up with the idea of really small paintings the size of a cell phone. Paintings which fit into your hand perfectly.”

Despite their diminutive size, the pieces are produced in exactly the same way as Kaláb’s larger pieces – hand painted acrylic on canvas, stretched on a wooden frame. They retain the vibrancy and focus on shape and color of his major work.

“I wanted to do a small collection of my significant paintings I did in bigger sizes,’ Kaláb explains. “I did seven different images, one for every day of the week, and each has a limited edition of 50 pieces. Of course, it is not meant to really wear in your pocket, but just the fact it is possible gives a different perspective to the piece”.

Jan Kaláb’s creative roots are based in street art. He was a founding pioneer of the Prague underground graffiti scene, formerly known as Cakes, and with his crew, The DSK, they animated city streets, spending many sleepless nights in train yards, and perhaps a few in police stations as well.

Since then, the master’s graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts of Prague has seen his work exhibited in galleries around the world from New York and Miami to London and Paris, Shanghai and Rio.

Jan Kaláb 16 x 12 cm Mini Red Gradient pocket painting.
Jan Kaláb 16 x 12 cm Mini Red Gradient pocket painting. Courtesy of the artist.

“Changing the scale of the paintings one normally does is challenging. Creating something huge is powerful, doing the same thing in a tiny size can be super cool as well,” Kaláb said. “I recommend hanging it on a wall instead of instantly handling it. The good thing is, if you would have it as a present for someone, you can take it out from your pocket and it’s a nice surprise.”

While comparable in size to a cell phone, the “pocket paintings” are not comparable in shape. Kaláb doesn’t work in traditional rectangles and squares.

“The silhouette of my canvas defines the painting,” he said. “It is in a certain way more an object than a picture on canvas. My art is very minimal, inspired by micro and macro cosmos. You don’t find any rectangular shapes there.”

Kaláb is excited to see how people come to live with the “pocket paintings.”

“The size allows the owner to hang it on any wall in the house. You can even have it in your car!” he said. “If you are a person who travels a lot, you can take it with you and hang it in any room you are in – take a piece of your home to any place you go.”

Jan Kaláb’s limited release pocket paintings are priced at $750 USD and available beginning November 24, 2023 exclusively online at Jankalab.com and Onepoint.cz.

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