Maxim Velcovsky is one of the Czech Republic's best young artists, though it wasn't his work but his appearance in a massive advertising campaign for mobile phones which brought him to widespread public attention. Maxim has a very distinctive look: he is tall with huge "afro"-style hair and was, while the ad campaign was at its height in 2001, one of the best-known faces in the country. He has also appeared in TV ads made in the Czech Republic for other markets around the world. Here Maxim Velcovsky describes the experience of having his face all over the Czech media, at the height of his "fame".
"For me as an artist it was a very special experience because people were just waving at me on the street and when they met me somewhere young girls and boys wanted to speak with me; it was really fun. It was kind of like a fifteen minutes fame effect, like Warhol's effect.
"I think it's a good experience to go through it, to know how life can be for Hollywood stars for example - they can't go into a public space or just walk down the street and things like that.
"I just went for casting and they chose me. It's kind of a way earning money for me, in one way.
"It was quite a special feeling, to be on plastic bags, credit cards, billboards, bigboards, megaboards, and on every corner.
"This ad campaign was not used in other countries but I've done a few other commercials for, if I can name them, Playstation, Findus in Scandinavia, Sony Ericsson in Japan...People sometimes write me SMSes from different countries all around the world. It's quite a special moment when you get a message from Sweden and they tell you 'we're just having lunch and you've just been [on television] recommending us a meal.' It's a very special situation for me."
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