Bányai István


Bányai István (Budapest, 1949)
illusztrátor, grafikus, animációsfilm-rendező

Award winning Hungarian born illustrator Istvan Banyai (1949), studied at the Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest as a student of György Haiman and jános Kass. He was already a promising talent, when he emigrated to the United States, via Paris – Los Angeles – New York in1980. As a popular commercial illustrator he is the author of the international best seller children book “Zoom” published in 18 countries…(schoolbook in Argentina) as he is a regular contributor to many magazines and newspapers, such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, National Geographic, or The New York Times…and many more, the list is endless. He made album covers for Sony and to Verve records and animation for Nickelodeon and MTV Europe… Advertising for ABSOLUT VODKA / Absolut Istvan…..and Saatchi…..won the mascot competition for the never happened Expo Budapest…He is a regular in the last 20 years in the highly competitive selection of American Illustration, the cover for edition 18 included. (only 30 exists!) A selection of his work was published by Abrams, Minus equals Plus. in 2001. His retrospective exhibit was held in the Norman Rockwell Museum, the home of American Illustration in 2013. Hi is a cult figure among the younger generation of draftsmen, won numerous prizes, gold to nickel….and was selected as one of the best 100 illustrator today by Taschen. ’’100 Illustrators’’, 2014. He was also given the title: ~ “professor emeritus” by his alma mater, the Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest….”I feel, I made it all, what the field of drawing can provide”….I drew ever since I gained consciousness….and ever since I tried to make sense through pictures of the world I am living in. Drawing was a therapy and kept me out of jail.

I can only draw it right, if I have a feel for it.
I like to touch art in the museums.
My work is a combination of European absurdity mixed with some American urban post pop gestures all nonsense used to makes sense…finding traces of past cultures and civilizations residue under the surface of the global formula of nihilism…to create contrast and meaning, as an outcry for the missing, with edge!
All is lost, all is fiction, all is artificial now, be it reality or intelligence. I am a self imposed commentator on artificial stupidity!

Illustration is not storytelling to me, rather acting, ~ see Stella Adler, the teacher of method acting.
Acting on the circumstance from the character what I am impersonating! ~ I am a method illustrator!
My grimaces are frozen in ink and graphite!

“It is only an it, if it is an observed it”, ~ If I am lucky to have that, if something by accident makes sense to me, a picture comes to my mind! I just have to draw it, – it is a semiotic game from there.
10% inspiration, 90% sweat, 100 % natural.