Fine Art in a Tourist Trap

"Home-Deutsch und Spoiler-Haare"

1988. Gábor Városi is drawing quick portraits, “schnell-portraits” of German tourists on the pier in Balatonfüred, with that boyish expression that you would be hard pressed to find in today’s man. In his peculiar German, he dubs the Bundesliga haircuts of men as “spoiler-Haare”; for the bald Bavarians, he uses the “cabriolet-Frisur” analogy, assuming that German dads find the football–car comparisons relatable. The wives of these German gents are already giggling at the flippant remarks and getting their children ready to sit for caricatures. When the kids are finished, they can hardly wait to sit for a nice portrait session with the young artist as well. Finally, the father, “Vati,” gives in and after ten minutes, rolls up his caricature happily. He then pays for four or five portraits that, despite the “schnellness”, accurately reflect the models’ personalities.


Pencil Drawing I. 1988
20 x 30 cm charcoal and pencil on paper


I observed the young artist with fascination; the tourists would rather wait for him than sit for the others in the square – even though his prices were higher, and the others were without a single commission. We do not know this yet, but Gábor is instinctively accomplishing the same thing that will make Pixar’s animations stand out in cinema ticket sales twenty years later: he caters to the whole family. Everyone is having fun at the same time, regardless of age or gender. We got to know each other that day; for me, the caricature only cost five hundred forints.

Tamás Nagy


Pencil Drawing II. 1988
30 x 20 cm charcoal and pencil on paper


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