Janusz Stanny was a graphic artist, draughtsman, and one of the greatest Polish creators of posters, press and book illustrations. He was born on 29th February 1932 and died on 13th February 2014.
Graphic artist, draughtsman, creators of posters, press and book illustrations.
In the years 1952-56, he studied at Henryk Tomaszewski’s poster workshop. Stanny dealt with design, book and press graphics, posters, drawings and animated films. At the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts he ran the Illustration and Graphic Design Workshop.
In order to learn about the geography of my students’ thinking in the beginning I would ask them to answer my question 'why does this cat not hunt for mice?' with a drawing. That’s a good test. One has to switch to thinking with images – he said in a conversation with Gazeta Wyborcza.
In his works, he merged a painter’s view with a sense of humour and sharp lines. He created a characteristic style which is recognisable at first glance. He illustrated fairy tales and literature meant for adults with equal ease.
See Janusz Stanny’s book designs at Pinterest.com
In the 60s, Jan Marcin Szancer, a professor of the Academy of Fine Arts, whose assistant I was, became the artistic director of the Publishing Office Ruch, which ran a chain of kiosks, distributed newspapers and magazines and dealt with publishing. A rather utopian idea appeared to use Ruch’s kiosks to reach out to people with good graphics and to prepare children to accept modern art with books. Tomaszewski, Zamecznik, Strumiłło, Młodożeniec, Wilkoń and many others illustrated. Every Thursday, we would have an editorial meeting, every week we would evaluate six, seven books. (…) After Szancer left, I was the artistic director for a few years. Today I can’t imagine working like this, neither can I imagine someone printing so many books in such editions!
Janusz Stanny created magnificent illustrations for over 200 books, for example for Adam Mickiewicz’s Sir Thaddeus (Pan Tadeusz), the Bible, La Fontaine’s fairy tales, Don Quixote and Andersen’s fairy tales. He also created numerous covers and authored children’s books such as A Fairy Tale about King Dardanel (Baśn o królu Dardanelu, 1962, reissued in 2005), About the Painter Redheaded Like a Brick (O malarzu rudym jak cegła, 1961, reissued in 2006) and A Horse and a Cat (Koń i kot, 1961). In 2011, Antoni Marianowicz’s Once Four Wise Men… (Raz czterej mędrcy), a book with illustrations by Stanny, was issued by the publishing house Dwie Siostry as a part of the series Masters of Illustration.
Dardanel isn’t very royal, he wears a beret instead of a crown and he prefers to ride a bicycle instead of being driven in a carriage. There was one more book authored by me – A Horse and a Cat. This book was published in the 60s and as of yet it hasn’t been reprinted. 'It isn’t even known why / a mistake appeared between the lines / such a little prank like that / instead of 'horse' someone wrote 'cat'– the whole joke was based on this substitution. The cat had horseshoes and the horse slept in a chamber, until finally the blacksmith Rot, a Scotsman, entirely straightened out the mistake. I wouldn’t undertake the task of making new illustrations for these texts.
One of the last favourite characters of the drawn comments by Stanny was a television set. In the catalogue of the exhibition Just Cause (Słuszna sprawa) Zygmunt Januszewski wrote:
With a few strokes of the brush, Stanny could conjure a space and, inside of this space, he could equally as easy conjure us playing ourselves in the neon light of a protrusive screen. Like in an old cinema, the rays of light cut through the darkness of the cramped apartment setting a borderline between good and evil. In the illusionistic glow, unusual metamorphoses take place. Ordinary citizens turn into heroes, masters in all categories or incorrigible dreamers. The ectoplasm emanating from the screen causes the carefully made-up Poles in perfectly chosen costumes from the beginning of the 21st century, who are more than 40 years old, to teleport and become enlightened.
Janusz Stanny was published, amongst others, in the daily Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2005, he was a member of the campaign committee of Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz. Stanny also created visual arrangements for animated films.
Author: Agnieszka Sural
Translated by: Marek Kępa
Filmography – stage design and artistic development:
2009 – COPERNICUS’ STAR / GWIAZDA KOPERNIKA, art design
2005 - FOLK STORY, artistic development
1994 – GREENCAT VERSUS RATMAN / GREENCAT KONTRA RATMAN, artistic development
1988 – BIG PARDUBICE / WIELKA PARDUBICKA, artistic development
1987 – HOW JANO BROUGHT THE SUN / JAK JANO SŁOŃCE SPROWADZIŁ, artistic development
1983 – FRIGHTS / STRASZYDŁA, artistic premise
1978 – ABOUT POOR ACHMED, HIS FAIR DAUGHTER ZUBEIDA AND A GENIE IN LOVE / O BIEDNYM ACHMEDZIE, JEGO NADOBNEJ CÓRCE ZUBEIDZIE I ZAKOCHANYM DŻINIE, artistic development
1973 – A TALE ABOUT A LITTLE PORCELAIN POT / OPOWIEŚĆ O PORCELANOWYM CZAJNICZKU, artistic development
1972 – OH! OH! / OCH! OCH!, artistic development
1971-1973 – FURRY THE BEAR / MIŚ KUDŁATEK, artistic development
1970 – YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM / PAN NIE WIE, KIM JA JESTEM, artistic development
1970 - LET’S LOVE THE FRIGHTS / KOCHAJMY STRASZYDŁA, artistic premise of the series
1969 – MINI, artistic development
1968 – THE ADVENTURES OF A MERRY GLOBETROTTER / PRZYGODY WESOŁEGO OBIEŻYŚWIATA, artistic development
1968 – ADVERSARY / PRZECIWNIK, artistic development
1968 – WHY DID THE ELEPHANT WANT TO FLY TO THE MOON / DLACZEGO SŁOŃ CHCIAŁ POLECIEĆ NA KSIĘŻYC, scenery
1967 – MONEY / PIENIĄDZ, scenery
1967 – CIGARETTE / PAPIEROS, artistic development
1967 – A HUMOROUS SKETCH / HUMORESKA, artistic development
1966 – VENDETTA, artistic development
1961 – GIVE ME A CROCODILE MY LOVE / KROKODYLA DAJ MI LUBY, scenery
Sources: culture.pl, polskailustracjadladzieci.pl, wyborcza.pl, own materials, edited by: Agnieszka Sural, 14.02.2014