Every changing landscape behind the car windows is for Józef Wilkoń a reflection on nature and the road. As befits an illustrator, painter and art historian, he sees a journey of colors. “The road accompanies man throughout his life,” he said. So, when the highways are attached to barriers the thing becomes “horrible, frightening and mentally terrible. Maybe the highway makes sense for action-oriented and goal-oriented people. But this is a simplified, completely superficial sense.”
Of course, travel is associated with life and human destiny, so a travel companion, an accomplice, can be important. Over the years, his wife drove the car very well and this allowed him to draw and take notes. After her death, traveling has never been the same.
Sometimes, Józef travels with ducks: “Every day I took a duck to the hospital for my dying wife.” He said Parabuch. “I wanted to distract her from the disease, even if only for a little while. Then I went with them to Bologna for the book fair. An alarm went off at the airport gate. I had them in my hat.” When one of the customs officers asked him why, he just replied that “it would be more difficult with an elephant.”
Born on February 1930, in Bogucice, Poland, Józef most often depicts animals and nature, working with fast, decisive brush strokes. He highly appreciates artists who introduce an element of poetry into their works, including Marc Chagall, but he also has an affinity with exotic Far Eastern art. Józef is rarely interested in humans, while the psychological portraits of animals he creates are, to a large extent, portraits of people. His production includes nearly two hundred books for children and adults. The publications he illustrates have been translated into over twenty languages.