Who had a major influence on you?

In which year? And which month? Inspirations always find me...

Audrey Hepburn.

EMŐKE: My husband.
TAMÁS: Árpád Schilling, Kornél Mundruczó and László Najmányi.

Lots of artists. Almost every painter or painting. I have also been inspired by paintings that are not so good, and by painters that I do not consider excellent. But I find things that I can use in them as well.
Titian’s times, Venetian painting, the late Renaissance, Baroque painting (Rubens, Velasquez) are my main influences. Their legacy is an inexhaustible source of inspiration in terms of technique as well as content. And of course, I also watch my contemporaries.

Right now I am writing about Menyhért Tóth. Since his exhibition in 1976 at the Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle) I have known that he was the most important Hungarian painter ever. I admired Lajos Vajda already in my teens. My fundamental source of inspiration was the Szentendre School. Henri Michaux’s world was also a revelation for me. And I could go on and on about the influences…

My father, my piano teacher, and some anonymous artist from ancient Persia.

Most of all my parents, obviously. But also the people, teachers and professors who saw the talent in me and helped me with my career. I used to have a professor like this at university, and there were people who supported me at HBO in the USA.

I had a girlfriend in the early '90s, whose father, Tamás Hibó, was a graphic designer. At that time I didn’t realise what an impact he had on me. He often sat me down beside him and talked a lot and told me about society. I didn’t grasp it at the time, but I’ve since realised how much he influenced my view of the world and my desire for freedom.

Buddha, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and my enlightened Buddhist teachers.

Indirectly, it was Alberto Giacometti, but I’m also influenced by cats, as well as Jesus and Buddha. Thomas Houseago treats material really brutally. He’s very uninhibited. Sometimes I’m influenced by a sentence I can hang on to. These influences are not necessarily professional ones.

Obviously quite a lot of people. But I could not name any one person. Of course, I had teachers and friends who influenced me. I generally liked being around older people.

This is also a kind of story of evolution. I remember being fascinated by Dalí’s works when I first saw them, but now I just can’t stand them. There are artists and people around me who inspire me, who I enjoy talking with, artists and friends, for example Norbert Kotormán or Imre Elek. For me, the conversations we have are even more important than their art.

KCsCs: A few women and some good friends. My wife. You also need idols just to maintain the illusion.
ZK: If it hadn’t been for the acting of Lubisa Ristic in the theatre of Szabadka in the 1980s, I probably wouldn’t be an actor today.

My parents and my pastors.

It keeps changing. Ten years ago, I was fascinated by the early Renaissance period, by the contrived manner in which they constructed their visual world. Now it’s Gaugin or the late works of Georges Braque that really knock me out. And to give you two cliché choices: Velázquez and Manet.

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Radiohead, Hieronymus Bosch, G. Klimt.

I started working under the editorship of Jolsvai András (a writer and journalist). His encouragement and support had a big impact on me. A similar mentor who encouraged me was László Garaczi. But I could mention some fascinating reads, for example Don Quixote again, as influences.

Whenever I am asked who taught me tattooing, I always mention Adrián Kupcsik. He was a very interesting reference point in my life. He gave me some very basic advice in his own peculiar way. He urged me to become a perfectionist. It was his influence that finally made me into a designer, a sketcher as a tattoo artist. But I think I also had an influence on him.
Actually, I could name a lot of people who had an influence on me. I started my career similarly to others: I copied other tattoo artists’ work. And then I realized that this was no good because I would not be able to find my own path. I learnt a lot about decency and open-mindedness from others. My second karate master Tibor Nagy educated me a lot: he literally beat me until I understood the importance of respecting life, people and the elderly in particular.

When I was 16, I discovered surrealism, and right after that existentialism, and the two started an intellectual explosion in me. I met András Wahorn at 20 and a half – as a teenager in Hajdúnánás, I was hugely impressed by the band Bizottság – and he is still one of my best male friends.

Definitely my parents. There are too many other people to count and it keeps changing.

My life.

József Mokos, my first teacher, the one who set me on this course. My teacher Lajos Szentiványi, and Gyula Hincz, the director of the Hungarian College of Applied Arts. He was the first to turn me on to Kassák. Then, of course, Lajos Kassák and Vasarely. And Bill Max, who advised me that if an artist does not wish to die of hunger but prefers to work as a free man, he should have a profession by which he can make a living. His architecture firm is likely still in business to this day. We were lucky to have screen printing as a way to make a living.

One time, an artist, Judit Ádám, visited me with her husband, Ede Piltz. She asked me why I attended Dési [the Dési Huber Art Circle] as what I was doing, she thought, was art itself.
My master was Ferenc Laborcz and he taught me much more than sculpture. He showed me how to become a true sculptor.
I’d also like to mention János Percz, a metalworker, and Marino Marini and Henry Moore here. And then, by the end of the 1970s, I no longer had any idols because I became an idol myself.

The Doors, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, A.C. Jobim, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, Spielberg, David Lynch and Moebius.

Firstly, a great thinker, Béla Hamvas. I’ve been changed for life by his writings that were only available in manuscript form in the early ’60s. There are a lot of others, in fact too many to list. I’ve already mentioned a few names in response to the question about coffee. I’d also add the great masters of the ’60s, the pop art masters.
It was also a great experience to be able to have “coffee” with Rauschenberg in Japan in 1989. The director of the Goethe Institute in Osaka, a lover of Japanese culture, organised a fantastic event. He invited 100 artists from around the world who painted the traditional kite forms of Japanese masters, which could also be made to fly. In front of an old castle some 15–20 people set the kites painted by the great figures of contemporary art (both from the older and younger generation, such as Rauschenberg and Frank Stella) in motion during cherry blossom time.

Mostly the above people.

No one in a professional sense. I truly believe I draw inspiration from my own life. I’m very careful about not coming under anyone’s influence. In my private life I like being around people. Every single human being and relationship influences me.

My grandfather, a composer and professor at the Music Academy in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca).

József: My father, from a professional point of view. And, in terms of humanity and character, my class teacher in grammar school, who was a monk.
Ibolya: My father-in-law. I always listened when he talked. I was his Liebling (we always spoke in German). He had a major and very positive influence on me.

My son. After he was born, gradually everything changed around me and inside of me as well. On an existential level, I guess he was the one who has had the greatest influence on me. In a more profane sense, I could mention Dixi (János Gémes, Hungarian artist) from the 80’s, or Miklós Erdély (Hungarian artist). And again, of course, this would be quite a long list, too, if I tried to recall all the writers who have ever had a major influence on me either through their works or their personalities.

Gentry painter Ferenc Simon who took me to his drawing workshop. Three of us attended, and he held such great workshops that all three of us were admitted to college. This was in Mezőkövesd.

20th-century modern thinkers and artists, mostly musicians such as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly. They were the revolutionaries of their age.

Hesse, Buddha, Jesus.

I saw a tape of Zoltán Solymosi dancing. It was like a force of nature, elemental, as if a rock ‘n’ roll star were dancing. That ballet can be masculine is important for me and I saw this strength in Zoli. He had an amazing career. He was hugely popular with both audiences and people in the profession. He’s the only Hungarian dancer to be a soloist with the Royal Ballet and worked for them for a long time.
Russian dancer and choreographer Baryshnikov is also a key figure in today’s contemporary ballet.
Someone else I’d like to mention is Gábor Keveházi. He was my teacher and I think he’s an amazing mentor. He’s really good with people... with me. I wasn’t very focused back then, but after he started teaching me I took part in ballet competitions.

This is a tough question to answer because we are influenced by everybody and everything all the time. But my parents definitely influenced me a lot.

Zsolt: My girlfriend and my partners at the studio, for example.
Donát: People I know in person. My father, my older brother and Zsolt and Ákos too.
Ákos: My parents. What’s certain is that I‘ve had many influences.

Tarkovszky, Wim Wenders, Ozu Yasujiro, Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Tápies and Zoltán Tölg-Molnár.

First of all, the Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava. Then, I could list my masters: István Janáki, Gábor Turányi and Imre Makovecz. There were many others who shaped my views and showed me the right direction. And I should also mention Tamás Nagy (architect and head of the Institute of Architecture at MOME, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest), and Dezső Ekler.

Many people. I’m a sensitive person and receptive to external influences.

Ádám: Albrecht Dürer, Goya, Béla Kondor, Andy Warhol, Farkas Molnár, Elemér Zalotay, but I could go on and on.
Sándor: Gandhi.
Tibor: Detti, Anita and Orsi.
Orsolya: Among musicians, Laurie Anderson, Björk and Eistüzende Naubauten; among architects and designers, Alejandro Aravena, Toyo Ito, Fujimoto and WeiWei.

Béla Hamvas, when I was young. Later, my biggest influences were Makovecz, Aldo Rossi, Mendini, Alessi and Ákos Birkás’s mentality.

It’s the same thing as having to mention a single book. You can’t mention just one person. There are a lot of people I discussed here, so let’s say all of them, some directly and some indirectly.

As I’m getting older, I think it’s my father. Even though I’d have never thought so before, I’m beginning to look like him and be like him.
Relationships and friends are another tangible influence. If I need to think back on a period in my life, the first thing I try to recall is who I was living with at the time and what it was like.

Henry Moore. The way he plays around with substance, empty space and the relationship between objects.
I also like the simple but powerful shapes of Polynesian jewellery.

Emotional influences are far stronger than the transfer of knowledge. The people who’ve had the greatest influence on me are my family and the ones I’ve been in love with. I don’t ascribe so much importance to knowledge transfer in terms of influences.

Interestingly, I’ve learned the most from clients by gaining insight into how they think and talk freely about things that matter the most to them and how to enjoy life. I’d also like to mention Miklós Persányi, with whom I worked together on the reconstruction of Budapest Zoo for 20 years. I learned from him that you can also fight for what’s truly important to you without destroying everything around you. Before, I didn’t believe it was possible.

It would be hard to pick a single person, since I’m constantly exposed to a range of influences.

Naturally, there was more than one person, but I'll only mention just a few names. One is György Lefkovics, who showed me there can be life outside the communist bubble. Another is my wife, Tímea Luzsi. She’s a costume designer, and it was through her that I came into close contact with the world of fabrics and textiles. She also spends a great deal of time with the family, which I really value. And Mariateresa Aliprandi, who made it possible for me to meet Citterio and Lissoni.

Oh, a lot of people. Some of them I already mentioned as people I’d love to have coffee with. But there’s also Visconti, Fellini, DV8, Pina Bausch and lots and lots of others. I could add hundreds of names a day to this list, I guess. Last but not least, Dóra Uhrik, who taught me that if I don’t expect gratitude, I can be one of the happiest people on Earth. (And I’ve become the happiest person on Earth.)

On my path to becoming an artist, the foundation of my open-mindedness and reflective attitude was laid when I met a community of artists, the Balatonboglár creative community of 1971-73, and I saw their exhibition. But it also came as a revelation when I saw the Tamás Konok and Katalin Hetey exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in 1981. Then I saw that my philosophy and approach were legitimate, such as the role that a single line can play. I saw then that they share my views of the essence.
However, a Rothko exhibition is an outstanding experience even today.

It would be difficult to mention anyone from the present. But when I was a child, my uncle, a mime artist, was a great influence.

The women I’ve had contact with. And also men. And children.

I grew up in Kaposvár, and I received the first strong visual impulses in the theatre there. I had great masters including Reimholcz, Makovecz, Turányi, Ekler and István Ferenc. They demanded good drawing skills and good vision and I am grateful to them and fate for teaching me to be constantly observant. To this day, I feel fascinated by the architectural details of Budapest and the colour combinations produced by nature.

Keith Emerson. When I was at high school I heard a Mussorgsky interpretation played by Keith Emerson. I bought the original scores and the music. That created the desire in me to work with music in the future. The next step was studying musical theory and conducting at ELTE [Eötvös Loránd University].

I think every boy thinks of his father as one role model even if he’s not aware of it at the time. I realised at the age of 50 how many things my father was right about.
In my teens and at college I was influenced each year by a different person. I think this period of idolisation lasts until the age of 25 or so.
But If I had to pick one person, it would be János Baksa Soós.

ND: Architect Carlo Scarpa from Verona and Venice, who shaped my approach.
GZ: We pay great attention to the work of Renzo Piano and Jean Nouvel. Their star has been burning brightly for nearly 30 years.

RF: The first one was my father. There was a style of playing that I heard from him. Next came Lajos Boros from the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra. And in classical music, I was captivated by Itzhak Perlman.

JN: Everyone’s a role model to me. I love the wisdom of wise people but I can’t mention a specific person. It also changes depending on the phase that I’m in and there are a lot of important lessons that I’ve learned from the lives of many people.

Dante. Caravaggio. Gaudí. R. Wagner. Kosztolányi. Proust. E. M. Cioran. Th. Bernhard.

In 1998, I had a long conversation with Konstantin Grsic in Budapest. His world of forms and shapes is far from mine but we are very close in our thinking. That night I also found out that we even share the passion of collecting clothes hangers. So I gave him my favourite piece...

It used to be Rauschenberg and the Structuralists. Recently, it has been architecture: the works of Peter Zumthor and Renzo Piano.

I have had a favourite in every phase of my life so far. For example, it was Toulouse Lautrec and the mosaics in Ravenna when I was 14, Marcel Duchamp and Miklós Erdély when I was 20, and now, let us say, it is Anish Kapoor and antique sculpture. But there are so many good things…

There are lots.

KI: There are many. I cannot single out just one. The names and even the fields of art change by period.
NR: Ann Demeulemeester, Yamamoto, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the landscape designer Dan Pearson.
KS: Right now, the Armenian singer, painter and architect Gaya Arutyunjan.

Damien Hirst.

A: My uncle who lives in Canada. He inspired the basis of my approach and attitude: efficiency and focus on the target.

Rembrandt, Morandi, Ad Reinhardt, Rothko, Lucian Freud. As regards Hungarians, Károly Ferenczy and István Farkas have a few nice paintings. And I love Bullás’s paintings that are so hard to watch that they damage your eyes. And there are many others...

CsH: Anthony Mascolo.
TT: Laci Hajas. I owe him a lot.
CsH, TT: but we are the most proud of our team.

When I was young it was Bacon, the Richter for a while, and Morandi also has and ever-lasting influence. My apologies to the thousands whom I have not mentioned.

Obviously, my father. I consider Anish Kapoor the most important contemporary sculptor alive. But I think it is unfair to single out one person. (Maybe I was not totally clear: Gyula Gulyás was very close to me as a person but his art did not affect mine.)

I am interested in art and photography, but painting is my permanent source of inspiration.

There are several that have inspired me but I would not want to name just one.

Lots of names.

I have always had artists I was interested in. Ones whose are was not like mine, such as Pierro della Francesca or my contemporaries Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley.

My Father, János Szurcsik.

I would prefer to give the names of galleries: the Slavik in Vienna, and the Gallery Ra in Amsterdam.

Robert Rauchenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jean Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Mark Ryden, Robert Williams and other lowbrow artists.

There are innumerable.


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