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Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: Balint Zsako’s Uncanny Bird Collages
November 30, 2013
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Northern Fulmar

Name: Balint Zsako

Born: Budapest, Hungary, 1979; raised in Hamilton, Ontario

Lives and works: Brooklyn, NYC

These collages: The pieces in this series are based on Birds of America, an influential book of illustrations by the 19th century naturalist and painter John James Audubon. Zsako, who's been a painter for many years, used Audubon's series to work his way through the history of collage using different styles, from Victorian to Surrealism to Pop. He told that he "wanted to give Audubon's Birds more complex lives to lead, have them get into all sorts of adventures. This work is an alternate guide... but one where the birds are doing sometimes funny and sometimes sinister things, in addition to sometimes just being witnesses."

Why collage?: "The appeal of collage is that it's an incredibly flexible medium; you can use it to make everything from seamless image constructions to exaggerated juxtapositions and filmic sequences."

Where he gets his images: "The source material is mostly Sotheby's and Christie's auction catalogues because they reproduce with great quality images that are not generally known. I don't want to be cutting up Vermeer and Leonardo because then you're getting into recognizable images that affect how the collages are interpreted."

Something you may not know: His work appeared in Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz. Watch closely: the paintings and drawings of Luke Kirby's character Daniel are actually by Zsako.

Zsako's work will be on display at the upcoming Context Art Fair in Miami, from December 3–8. You can see more of his work at


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