Inside the Studio

Endre Penovác

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I usually don’t spend a lot of time looking for my subject matter; it is usually pulled from my surroundings. I believe my message as an artist is more meaningful, deeper, and more authentic when I explore themes that I know the best. For example, I often am inspired by the landscape of my surrounding, the houses in my town, and the flowers and fruits in my garden. Eventually, I began painting my dogs and cats.

I often paint my cats. Her name is Boszi (it means ‘witch’ in English). The softness of a cat’s fur can be very effectively represented by spreading watercolor or ink pigments across wet paper. The challenge for me is not only the professional task, but rather capturing the essence of the nature of cats.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Just one word: Humility. Let me borrow a quote from Camus to explain what I mean:

“However that may be, after prolonged research on myself, I brought out the fundamental duplicity of the human being. Then I realized, as a result of delving in my memory, that modesty helped me to shine, humility to conquer, and virtue to oppress. ”

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I usually listen to the radio when I paint. Thus, in addition to listening to some music I can be informed about news and events of the world.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

It would be a Chinese ink drawing I saw sometime ago depicting an axe. The master had expressed the weight of the axe-head by a black blot, the sharpness of the tool by a line slash, and the material of the axe-handle was conjured on the paper by a brush stroke.

Who are your favorite writers?

Hermann Hesse, Albert Camus, Sandor Márai, Sandor Weöres, and Ephraim Kishon.