A Texas A&M University professor and local artist will be announced as the next Artist of the Month at The Village Café & Art979 Gallery on November 16.
John Krajicek, an executive professor and assistant director of business communication studies at Texas A&M, is getting his second showcase at The Village. Krajicek will also be performing with his band, Leavenworth, at the opening.
Krajicek’s interest in art began at a very early age. After his fascination with abstract art helped him win his elementary art show in the fourth grade, his hobby took a backseat in his life.
“I was really juiced by the arts at a really young age,” Krajicek said. “But I never thought about it as a career. I looked at it mainly as fun.”
Instead, Krajicek began to focus on school and took up golf, which eventually led him to North Texas State University in Denton. His golf career gave him a chance to play with greats such as Fred Couples and Steve Jones, but Krajicek eventually realized golf was not meant to be his career either.
“When I gave up the dream to play professionally, golf became fun again,” he said.
Krajicek would go on to earn a BA and MSA from NTSU, and after the university changed its name to the University of North Texas, he finished his MA in 1993.
Three years later, Krajicek joined the faculty of Mays Business School at Texas A&M. Becoming a professor gave Krajicek a similar rush his art gave him.
“I like performing,” he said. “I like being on stage, and teaching let me do that. I work really hard to make my students enjoy class. I really care about them, and I think that makes the difference.”
Krajicek labels his teaching style as “edu-tainment,” or a mix between education and entertainment. Whatever it’s called, it works. Krajicek has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including an Association of Former Students Award for Teaching, the Creswell Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Killingsworth Award in Teaching Excellence.
Throughout his many successes in the classroom, Krajicek has managed to find the time to get back to his passion of the arts. After initially feeling unable to succeed as an artist, he met with a few local artists and his confidence grew.
“It took six months before I had something I would show someone,” Krajicek said. “But after I visited a few art openings, I felt like I could do it.”
In March of 2016, Krajicek was selected as the Artist of the Month at the Village, and later that summer he was showcased at the SEAD Gallery in Bryan.
“When a painting is going well, I am not thinking,” Krajicek said. “I am not planning. I will come out of it for 10 minutes and see what I have done so far, but then it is right back at it.”
While his art has become a huge hit in the area, his music career has also flourished.
In the summer of 2015, Krajicek decided to start his own band. While he had played in a lot of bands over the years, many of them only played covers and did not fall into the genre of his choice.
“I dug it,” he said. “But it was not me.”
So he set out to find the perfect guys and he had a list of qualifications they had to meet.
“First, do I dig you? Second, do you understand and get my music? Finally, are you good?”
In no time, he was able to form the band Leavenworth.
“I’d often ask myself, ‘how did this happen so quickly?’ This isn’t Austin. This isn’t New York.”
Leavenworth has experienced quite the successful start and they are preparing to release a second album, “Convictions, Vol. 1,” in November 2017.
Krajicek stays busy between his art, the band, his teaching and his family.
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” he said.
Krajicek recommends anyone interested in the arts or songwriting stay true to themselves.
“Be authentic at all costs,” he said. “Guard your authenticity. That goes for pretty much any profession. Just do it. I spent too long thinking ‘who am I to do it?’ And perspective. You don’t have to be Jackson Pollock or Adele to be successful. I can be on a level that emotionally feeds and I’m a success.”
Krajicek’s showcase and Leavenworth’s performance will both begin at 6 p.m. on opening night. Be sure to get there early and enjoy the arts of the Brazos Valley.