Istvan Banyai

 – The New Yorker Cover August 29th 2011

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Istvan Banyai (born in Budapest, Hungary, February 27, 1949) received his BFA from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest and gained prominence as a commercial illustrator and animator in the mid-1980s when he emigrated to the United States.

In 1995 Istvan Banyai produced his first wordless children's book, the masterful "Zoom." Honored as one of the best children's books of the year by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, "Zoom" was soon published in 18 languages. With increasing complexity and conceptual originality, he went on to author four more books and illustrate many more in collaboration with other writers and poets. "It's refreshing to encounter a group of virtually wordless books that invite children to consider their world from a point of view they may not have otherwise considered. The most stunning is "Zoom," written, or, rather, imagined and then illustrated -- by Istvan Banyai."

While Istvan continues to produce commercial illustration for publication such as The New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Time and Atlantic Monthly; cover art for Sony and Verve Records; and animated short films for Nickelodeon and MTV Europe, he is internationally respected for his unique philosophical and iconoclastic vision, thus transcending the status of commercial illustrator to gifted artist. Banyai describes his art as "an organic combination of turn-of-the-century Viennese retro, interjected with American pop, some European absurdity added for flavor, served on a cartoon-style color palette... no social realism added."

From Budapest to Paris, Los Angeles to Manhattan ("No illustrator surpasses Istvan Banyai at portraying the dream lives of today's New York and Los Angeles hip urban style-setters.") [2] he now lives with his wife in the woods of Connecticut among deer and flowers.