Bohuslav Barlow was born as Bohuslav Klos in Bruntal, a small peasant township in Upper Moravia, Czechoslovakia, in 1947.
Bohuslav's family fled Czechoslovakia while he was a baby as The Iron Curtain descended, for Furstenfeldbruk near Munich. Soon after this his mother moved to England to obtain work, leaving a young Bohuslav in the care of his grandparents. While spending his early years in Bavaria he gained two prevailing memories. The first of which was looking up at the high baroque ceiling in Furstenfeldbruk Church while singing the Catholic chants, and admiring the glorious angels and fat-bottomed putti as they swirled around in a complex design of whites and golds. The second memory was of his home in late summer, with the countryside aflame with poppies and a distant view of the Bavarian Alps far beyond.
At 8 years old, Bohuslav was summoned to England to his mother and stepfather (from whom he took the surname Barlow) in Blackpool. Understandably, it took time to adjust and settle in these new surroundings, but it was during these early years in England that he began to express himself through art. His first picture was a view of the famous Blackpool Tower. He then progressed to copying film posters and gradually moved onto better things, which were often linked to an imaginary world which he developed alongside his step siblings. The discovery of his profession as an artist was slow and torturous; due to his family's extreme poverty, Bohuslav's early pictures were done in pencil and coloured crayons on cheap paper
Years later when he reached Manchester School of Art he had the opportunity to use oil paints for the first time. From here, he then went onto the Central School of Art in London in the grip of hard edge abstractionism, which was contrary to his own instincts. He taught for a short while in London and subsequently decided to live as a full time professional artist which he has done ever since.
While still living in London, Bohuslav travelled to Blackburn and by chance passed through Todmorden on his way. He was stuck by the wild, romantic scenery and felt that this was what he wanted to paint. He moved to Todmorden at the age of 26, and then started to produce the work which has lead him to his imagery today. Bohuslav today still lives in Todmorden with his wife and two children. He is happy to have finally found a place that feels like home.
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