One to Watch

János Huszti

János Huszti is a Hungarian artist who received his BFA from the University of Pécs in 2005. Armed with a pared-down color palette and masterful technical skill, he paints blurry and indistinct faces and figures that call to mind the portraits of Gerhard Richter. His subject matter is inspired from old found photographs from the 1950’s, some of which were taken inside Hungarian jails. In a style reminiscent of Photorealism, he paints portraits of figures from the past, but tries to instill some present meaning into each painting, sometimes achieved with the inclusion of colorful lettering or spray paint inside the composition. And just as a memory can become hazy with recollection, so too do Huszti’s paintings metaphorically blur at the edges.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
I am the type who likes to show the past in present context.  I like anachronism, which, to me, is a kind of time travel. That is why I paint portraits from the past and try to lend them some sort of present meaning. The 1950’s were an interesting, but also freakish time in Hungary!

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
I once told myself, ‘Try not to give up on painting.’

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I really like listening to music in my studio, such as classical or Medieval music, but more recently I prefer to listen to punk rock from the 1980’s.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I am not sure, but maybe a Banksy covering a whole wall!

Who are your favorite writers?
Charles Bukowski, Mikhail Bulgakov (Master and Margarita), Paul Auster, William Wharton, Truman Capote, Mario Vargas Llosa, Nick Hornby, Robert Merle, Anthony Burgess (Mr. Enderby series), Chuck Palahniuk, Niccoló Ammaniti, etc. (I really like to read).