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Art & Life with Peter Polyak

Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Polyak.

Peter, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I won my first contest in kindergarten. The nice part of the story is that the kindergarten invited a real well known artist to be the jury. Janos Bozso the multi awarded artist arrived from a bigger town and quickly began to see all the paintings made by the children at the kindergarten. He was humbling something like:” nice, but not, yes but it’s not that… non of these that I’m looking for…” Than he asked the teachers if those dozens of paintings were all or not. The teachers told him that they pre-selected the good once and there are some more on the top of the garbage they thought were really week. “Show me” he said and soon he was digging among the pre-selected paintings.
“This is it…” – broke up the silent – “…this is what I was looking for”.
My painting showed a family of clowns standing on each others head.  It used up all the page as a compositions and it was very colorful.
I don’t remember how it looked, my mom told me this story many times and teachers remember of course, how they pre-collected the paintings.
My father was a bodyguard and budo master. He worked with ministers, presidents and celebrities like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton back in the /?70s while they were in Hungary. Later La Toya Jackson looked for him with Liz Taylor’s recommendation. But still back in the 70’s he was also the head stuntman of his own group and by that he met my mother who was probably the first female professional stuntman or stunt-woman of Hungary along with being the first female judoka of Hungary who trained with men and threw them far for many shows directed by my father for demonstrating to Hungary, what Martial Art is.
So by this background I did not step up for my early shown artistic talent, but went to sport school and spend about 13 years with Kyokushin Karate and some short time with Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, Shotokan or the least amount of time with my father who had his own merged style of about 10 different styles traditional Martial Arts.
Well as he had no time to teach us only members some special forces, I found my way back to drawing. I was around 10-11 years old when started make copies of the pictures “best breast of the month” of series I found very interesting in the middle of newspapers and magazines. My Mom found these drawings under my bed at a deep cleaning of my room and didn’t say a world but showed them to my father. I only learned at this age that my mother won some junior art competition when she was young and that my father use to be a sculptor, learned in Italy and Australia before returned to Hungary in the late 60’s. So at this point they both looked at my drawings knowing what they see and same to the understanding of my talent that need guidance from there on.
Some days later my father opened into my room as I was acting like who’s studying for school and he dropped a heavy book on my table: Anatomy for the artist by Jeno Barcsay. He said:” I left some markers at certain pages. Draw those from now on!”
It was exciting to be able to draw not secretly but daytime and kind of difficult images. As far I remember I kept drawing late night as well.
I found to different workshops I went to learn faster and about a year later I started learning to play the piano as well. My hardcore sportsman days became the days of a young artist student who’s still fighting against his own County Record of Jumping in sport competitions. Slowly I left the all different special training for school and went to less and less karate training for spending more time with the pencil and piano. When I was 14 years old my parents looked into my eyes and told me to choose. Music or Fine Art? I began learning music quite late. I knew that, also I did not fall in love with Mozart and List at this ages (much later I did), so I have made my choice. That year I focused on drawing as much as possible – for a 14 year old who’s only thoughts are girls and pool and games and movies…
I got expected into great Fine Art specialized High School where I have become graphic designer, but realized that I am really into the painting. They let me have extra drawing classes instead of graphic design for the whole last year and by that A year later I had the privilege of being the student of the two old masters at the College. Pal Gerzson tried to teach us how to see, while Laszlo Patay the mural painter master chose me and took me as his youngest apprentice of a group of 3 or 4 people to paint brand new paintings in 3 different churches. The next years I finished the College as an Art / Drawing teacher, finished some songs of mine with directing my own music video and had a new master of art to learn from, Matteo Massagrande the Italian painter.
All those years of keep learning lead me to an invitation to teach in Soul. All I “needed to take is my English”. I learned French. I postponed my invitation for next summer and e-mailed to all my friend abroad if they could have me for 6-12 months for learning English. Some long weeks later I ended up in Key West, learning English, learning Life from zero, according to East Europe… I haven’t made to Soul since. Loving Florida.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I always had the need of discovering new elements of life. This is easy when we first getting in art studies. Thank some years later when I saw how great knowledge we need to master a profession I got kind of scared and really started dig into different styles and technical ways of expressing art. This pressure of “never enough” learning lead me to study and copy Renaissance and Baroque masters, Along the way we had to learn contemporary art and luckily much of anatomy as well.
By that I had a strong classically trained base looking for naturalism and realism, while I also had my deep calling to surrealism as well.
The strongest effect on my painting after learning much from Matteo Massagrande was that moving to Florida I needed to quickly learn using airbrush. I found Dru Blair in South Carolina who’s truly one of the best photo-realist airbrusher of the planet. Even better that he’s a great teacher. Spending some time under his guidance I felt my long demanding questions being answered. Questions of physical and chemical shifting in colors as material, plus some technical elements of painting that somehow I did not found to be answered in my at this point about 15 years of studies.
So this strong need of knowing the craft of the profession got me and had me unable to choose one way or an other as a painter. I am mixing brush, airbrush, pencil, acrylic, oil and some other elements in my artworks. This way of thinking determined my subjects as well. I do have favorites – portraits, bodies… but I believe that as colorful Life is, as wide range an artist should be. Everything is inspiration.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Being an artist is responsibility. I believe in learning the craft and than with open heart reacting to all happenings on planet Earth.
Difficult balance we need to find between pointing on the tragedies that happen every day and yet keep people aware of the beauty of Life as well.
Lots of people says that everybody has the right to make art. Of course, but if you decide to play artist, play hard. LEARN, and than you may be able to see your responsibility by effecting others life.
Can’t just poop on the canvas and say that’s your own way of expression and than demand to be taken seriously. You would not take your broken car to you friend who’s not a mechanic but likes cars and may knows the names of all types… It is a profession as well. Without learning the language if it well, you can’t speak it clearly. This is part of the respect and responsibility Art holds to all viewers.
Artwork should trigger changes in others perspective, that changes should make the viewer more, deeper or give new filters for Life.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I moved to Miami 2 years ago. While my paintings appeared at some art happenings in Miami, I still am looking for the right people to work with. Meantime I mostly painting for commissions and for staying at visual arts I got into commercial and real estate videography. Took it just as seriously as anything else, so In 16 month I won the “Best Real Estate Videographer of 2019” by the international online magazine and competition, Photography For Real Estate.

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