Joska Skalník (1948) was one of the leaders of the Jazz Section, which came together almost a half century ago. Skalník is with no exaggeration the father of this state-uncontrolled organization’s easily recognized visuals. The simple graphic language he chose for what today would be termed its “unified visual style” (like for their record covers) was characterized by a self-confident purity that played well with the samizdat aesthetic and the era’s limited print quality.
In a similarly convincing manner, he worked with poetically surreal collages and assemblages, making reference to artistic strategies of Anglo-American authors of music-related print material. For its time and place, it was an innovative and ingenious mixture. It also became the foundation for the aesthetic sensitivity of a clan to which the dictatorship of mass media and the taste of its consumers were something foreign. Paradoxically, Joska Skalník’s position was an advantageous one. He did not need to take into account the taste of these institutions nor of their audience – the bands for which he worked didn’t play for them anyway.