Animals as Inspiration

Szőke’s Doberman, Dante, is one of his biggest sources of inspiration. Szőke’s beliefs in the close natural relationship between animals and the earth have compelled him to focus on animals as his sculptural subject matter. These beliefs are in line with his philosophy on art. “The influences came mostly from classical people [artists], but it’s mostly the animals, the topic that defines it [my art], and all that relates to it, like spontaneity, instinctive work without planning ahead.”

Dante in the Kunsthalle, Budapest is part of Szőke’s series, Dante Empire. an illustrated novel about his beloved Doberman, Dante. Here, a monumental wooden rendering of Dante protectively guards the entrance of the 2010 Budapest Art Fair. It is now on view at the Design Terminal in Budapest. Photo by Barnie

Szőke refers to totemism, a belief in the spiritual significance of animals, as a natural source of inspiration.

“This extravagant artistic style, this is absolutely a process blessed with an ancient power. It is an instinctive, ancient, totemistic thing that, despite its modern, very progressive impression, it is very ancient, and it can be traced back to cave drawings or the sculptures of the antiquity, or any other later sculptures. And the Puli, as an ancient Hungarian breed, carries a lot of these powers, and its dynamism, its form, its intellect, it can absolutely be combined with this use of materials.”

The Tiger of Szakácsi was a part of Hello Wood, a week-long Hungarian art camp. During the camp, over two hundred artists and designers came together to create works to donate to eight Hungarian communities. The Tiger of Szakácsi was one of the final products. Photo by Eva Szombat

The Rocking Horse Project was a large interactive, mobile public art project. The rocking horse invited the public to hop on and experience the sculpture collectively. The structure could accommodate seventy people at a time. The sculpture was displayed throughout Hungary and then went to Budapest to participate in the World Harmony Run’s closing event. Photo by Eva Szombat

The Hungarian Puli dog built on the Mall was just one of Szőke’s many signature animal works. In the last four years, Szőke has been impressively prolific. The range of his projects includes a 230-foot-long rocking horse, a dinosaur, and a 98-foot-long whale. “I still create these animals for the reason as before, I find this way to be the easiest for me to express myself. I love to tinker, I find great joy in creating objects that I can look upon as my own creatures.”