Józef Wilkoń + Wandering Around Łódź

March 15, 2010

On Wednesday, March 10th, I attended a lecture at my school by Józef Wilkoń– renowned illustrator of children’s books. He has illustrated more than a hundred books published in Poland, and dozens which were published internationally. His “lecture” was basically a collection of little stories about his life, and how he got to where he is now.Particularly interesting to me were his experiences at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków in the mid-1950s, when Socialist Realism was imposed on art. He talked about how professors struggled between staying true to themselves and their students, while trying to keep their jobs and getting ahead in their careers.

At any rate, Wilkoń was raised in a small village (wieś) not far from Kraków, where his family kept goats, horses, chickens, etc. He cited this as a direct influence on his work, since most of his beautiful illustrations are of animals!

After the lecture, I decided to take a walk. Here’s what I saw.See what socialism does to the inflation rate of currency? This book cost 15000 złotych once upon a time… (about $5313 at the current exchange rate).

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