Frank Licsko, Hungarian/American (1946 - )
The life of Frank Licsko began in Budapest, Hungary on May 1, 1946. The time between his birth and his family’s escape to Austria when Frank was ten was difficult for all Hungarians. The Licsko family dreamed of immigrating to America, but found their dream was not to be fulfilled as America had reached its quota of Hungarian emigrants.
In May of 1957 Frank, his parents and his two younger sisters arrived in Montreal, Canada.
While the family waited to be assigned their final destination, the new immigrants were shown films that would acquaint them with the culture of their new country. The most influential feature was a documentary about Canada’s best-known artists, “The Group of Seven”. Frank remembers being very impressed with the landscape and rugged lifestyle of these revered artists. The Licsko’s were sent to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but eventually settled in Ontario.
Frank Licsko missed one full year of school before arriving in Canada, and when he was admitted to the new school system he was held back a full grade to help him catch up in the “English language. He was far ahead of his age equivalent in mathematics and the sciences. Assimilating into the Canadian culture took time and Frank found solace in painting. The money he made with his talent went mostly to help the family, keeping enough to buy him the occasional coke and French fries. His parents were very encouraging, his father often shared his dreams with Frank, and his mother was always telling he would be the world’s greatest artist. While other boys were involved in sports and other activities Frank was in his room working on perfecting his skills.
At the age of fourteen Frank entered an international art competition sponsored by Art Instruction School of Minneapolis and won first place and a scholarship. The correspondence course in the techniques of painting was the only instruction Frank ever received with the exception of a short stint at the Ontario College of Art. After only three weeks the 22 year-old left feeling they had nothing to teach him.
Frank found inspiration and discovered more techniques within the glossy pages of the art books on Da Vinci, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Kreigoff and then later, Dali. It was probable the Dali influence that allowed Frank to create two very powerful and introspective works called Dynasty and The Old Man, is a magnificently detailed, real yet surreal portrait of the nineteen year old artist himself projected into a not to optimistic future. Not surprisingly, Frank being in his early twenties, found inspiration with the female figure. In Canada, at that time, it was the honest nude that was in vogue. Frank preferred to paint his ideal female bathed in moonlight or some other romantic and poetic scene. He continued with the subject until after he was married with children.
From the birth of his first child and for many years his subjects came from the reality of his home life. Tender images of a mother and child, or a child at play, Frank used his own family as models surrounding them in beautiful dreamlike backgrounds, again idealized, different from what he himself experienced as a child. Later he became interested again in landscapes, finding much inspiration from both the rural southern Ontario and the moody coastline of British Columbia.
The year before moving his family of four to California in the early eighties, Frank Licsko had found new visions of the landscape coming through him. He began to dissect the reality into an abstract view, bending twisting and layering it into a completely unique and original style. Soon Licsko paintings and serigraphs were being collected throughout North America, Europe and Japan. After six years in Los Angeles, the Licskos moved to the Monterey Peninusla of central California drawn by the spectacular coastline and the seasonal changes of color in the gently rolling hills.
Continuing to be inspired by the beauty of his surroundings near his home in Carmel and the back roads throughout the golden state, Frank Licsko has reinvented himself once again.