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Jozef Szekeres (born 4 July 1970) is an Australian artist, animator, writer, toy designer, sculptor, creative director and Arts Lecturer, and a director of the Black Mermaid Productions creative team based in Australia. He is best known for his doll creation Elizabet Bizelle launched through his company Jozef Szekeres Dolls, released in 2003. He was a finalist in the Australian Cartoonist Association Stanley Awards 2011, with nominations for Best Australian Illustrator and Australian Comic Book Artist.
He co-created and illustrated the comic book series ElfQuest – WaveDancers circa 1993–94, and is currently in production of a new comic book series called Elf-Fin:Hyfus & Tilaweed in collaboration with co-creator Julie Ditrich, using the original characters and concepts they created for the previous series. A preview was released April 2011, with a later edition released in May 2013.
Szekeres was born in Blacktown, Sydney, and grew up near Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW, graduating in 1988 from the Central Coast Grammar School in Erina, Central Coast. He attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the Music Composition School, but did not graduate. In 1989 he moved to the Sydney CBD to work at the Walt Disney Animation Australia Studio, now known as DisneyToon Studios, and was the youngest animator employed there at that time.
On Aladdin: The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves, he animated both Jasmine and Aladdin, creating reference maquettes of both characters. He did development work on Belle for Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas 2. On The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, he animated the Ariel, Melody and Prince Eric characters. On Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, he focused on human characters, such as the adult Wendy and the mermaids in Return to Never Land. He also sculpted a reference maquette of Wendy. His final work for DisneyToons Australia was on The Jungle Book 2 as senior animator on Shanti.
Szekeres worked on Disney television productions such as title and episode animation of both Tarzan and Jane for Tarzan & Jane. He did character development work and animation on the lead female role Dylandra for the Bonkers (TV series), and Jasmine and Aladdin on the Aladdin (TV series). On the Gargoyles (TV series), Szekeres animated key sequences of Elisa Maza and Goliath for the "Seeing Isn't Believing" episode. Other television work includes Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, and Winnie the Pooh.
As a freelance 2D animator and Animation Director, he created television commercials for both Australian and international markets. Most notably Finlandia Vodka Pulp, Mr Sheen, Strongbow Cider Cyborg and Blowtorch, Cafe with Billy for Nescafe, The Fifth Finger for KitKat, and FantasticRiceCrackers for Fantastic.
Szekeres animated the full episodes of Boy from Woy (TV 1999) (with additional animation done by Steve Moltzen) for Mudfish, and for Catflap Animation Petals: Windy Weather (TV 1998). Outside of animation but still in the film industry, Szekeres was also a conceptual designer on the feature films, Dark City and Cut, and has worked occasionally over the past 15 years with MEG (Make-up Effects Group Studio) on their commercials and feature films as a conceptualist and sculptor.
Szekeres left Walt Disney Animation Australia in 1993 to illustrate the comic book series ElfQuest – WaveDancers, which he co-created with Julie Ditrich and Bruce Love. The rights to the WaveDancers' characters are now held by Black Mermaid Productions in Sydney Australia.
Szekeres returned to Sirius Entertainment in 1999 to work with Joseph Michael Linsner and his Dawn character, and created new mermaid representations of the Goddess character for two publications, Dreams of Dawn Wizard #1/2, and Dawn: Return of the Goddess #3.
Szekeres returned to work with Julie Ditrich on Elf-Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed, first published in 2011.
Szekeres' illustration works have been collected several times in books/magazines/journals, highlights being Stripped Uncensored and Completely Stripped published 2009 and 2010 respectively in Germany by Bruno Gmünder, as well as featuring in leading campaigns, such as the 2007 Sydney Mardi Gras, and 2008 Sleaze Ball (which is also part of the Sydney Mardi Gras). For the 2008 Sleaze Ball, titled Villains Lair, a collector card set consisting of 16 of Szekeres's villainous artworks created specifically for the event were released for members and partygoers. Szekeres released his own collector card set (or loose leaf book) The Art of Jozef Szekeres: Mermaids & Mermers in 2008 collecting 100 artworks, they range from unpublished pieces early in his career to his most recent published works of that time.
Szekeres worked in the gaming industry as a senior illustrator/animator for Aristocrat from 2001-2006. His work includes: Dinosaur, Queen of Sheba, Antony and Cleopatra, Butterfly Kiss (cover of the Aristocrat 2008 NSW Catalogue), Love Stuck, Wild Waratah, Heart of Vegas (used for an Aristocrat Catalogue cover), Miss Kitty, Moonlight Waltz.
As a freelancer Szekeres created gaming art packages for The Last King of Egypt and Treasured Discovery for NexGen. He also released game highlights for TrueBlue: Fire Chief for Atronic 2009, World Safari for IGT 2010, Aztec Beauty for Aruze 2011.
Sculptor and toy designer
Szekeres has had a fascination with figural sculpture from childhood, early in his career sculpting maquettes for Disney's Aladdin and Jasmine, Dylandra and adult Wendy. Szekeres further explored sculpture adding new sculptural elements to Barbie and G.I. Joe purchased toy parts.
2000 Sydney Millennium Olympic Games
The 2000 Sydney Mascots, Ollie, Syd and Millie – three native Australian animals that represent earth, air and water – were designed by Jozef Szekeres and Matt Hatton. Szekeres also created the original three-dimensional physical sculptures/maquettes of these mascots.
- "Awards". Australian Cartoonists Association.
- Julie Ditrich; Jozef Szekeres (November 2011). Elf~Fin : Hyfus & Tilaweed : preview / story by Julie Ditrich & Jozef Szekeres (World Mermaid Awards Limited ed.). Sydney NSW: Black Mermaid Productions. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-9808759-1-1.
- Australian Society of Authors. "Comics / Graphic Novels Mission Statement".
- "Elf-Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed #1 - Elf-Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed (Issue)".
- Juan F. Lara | Additional Comments by Jozef Szekeres. "Seeing Isn't Believing". gargoyles-fans.org.
- "SHOTS". Advertising and Creative Worldwide. Scandinavian Selection (48): 3. September 1998.
16. FINLANDIA PULP VODKA: 'GOODBAR'. Agency:Desire Brand Management, Sydney. Creative Team: Paul Roberts, Jason Brooks, Mel Carr, Cath Caines. Directors: Don Ezard (Director of Live and Effects Animation), Jozef Szekeres (Director of Animation), Fabio Nardo (Director of Backgrounds). Production Company: Film Graphics, Sydney. Producer: Juke Lengell. Animator: Jozef Szekeres. Music: Supersonic, Sydney.
- "Australian Creative". Animation: MUDFISH, the Animation Company. Spring: 34. 1999.
- Greg McElhatton (March 1994). "The Never-ending Quest". WIZARD. USA (#31): 82–86.
- Drew Bittner (22 June 1993). "New Elves For Old". Comics Scene. USA: Norman Jacobs (#36).
- Steve Darnall (July 1994). "ElfQuest: WaveDancers #4". Hero Illustrated (13): 30.
- Comic Shop News. 1999. Missing or empty
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- Bud Plant (1999). "DAWN: Return of the Goddess #3". Bud Plant Comic Art (Comic art & illustrated books). Bud Plant: 151.
- Jules Faber (2011). "Reviews". Inkspots. Autumn (65): 1.
- Stephan Niederwieser, ed. (2009). Stripped Uncensored (1st ed.). Germany: Bruno Gmunder. pp. 246–249. ISBN 978-3-86787-025-2.
- Jozef Szekeres (March 2009). "Jozef Szekeres Gallery". Heavy Metal. USA: 11–14.
- Myles Wearring; Jonathan Turner; Joe E Jeffreys; Dean Durber; Jonathan Andrews (January 2007). "Text Appeal". BLUE (66): 50–64.
- Leigh Harris (2007). "Mardi Gras Parade & Party Guide '07". Bent. Onion Publishing and Media Pty Ltd. Mardi Gras 2007.
- Barry Lowe (7 February 2008). "Drawing attention". SX. Peter Walton (367): 46.
He's the man who created the poster for last year's Mardi Gras, a giant career leap...
- Krathyn White (2008). Harris, Leigh, ed. Sleaze Ball 2008. Onion Publishing and Media Pty Ltd: 42, 43.
Mardi Gras poster artist Jozef Szekeres has been keeping art collectors happy with his first ever collection of his artworks in print. The Art of Jozef Szekeres: Mermaids & Other Mermers is a 100-piece card set of his artwork ranging from unpublished pieces early in Jozef's career to his most recent published work.Missing or empty
- Margot Date; Johanna Sweet (24 July 1995). "Guys who love a good Barbie". New Week: 80.
(Jozef) collected Barbie dolls until he turned 13... Most Barbie collectors don't like it because she's not true to the doll. The porcelain version is 5 cm taller than the regular doll. But if you strip them dow, they're finely sculpted.
- Jim Farone (1998). 2nd Fashion Doll Makeovers: Learn from the Artists. USA: Hobby House Press, Inc. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-87588-515-2.
I fell in love with the ""Barbie"" doll and started collecting her at a very early age. Yet, at the same time I felt a great need to modify her to my own (artistic) needs and desires... My long term goal is to have my own line of fantasy dolls.
- Penny Azar (2003). "The LizBiz". FDQ: Fashion Doll Quarterly. USA: Pat Henry. Beauty: 53–55.
Just owning a doll wasn't enough for Jozef, there were bits and pieces of various dolls that he liked, just that not all dolls had good features... (he) set out on his adventure to make what for him, would be the doll he'd like the most.
- Karen Caviale (January 2004). "Discover Elizabet & Kotalin Bizelle". HauteDoll. USA: Karen Caviale and Marlene Mura. 1 (1): 20.
- Pat Henry (2005). "The Insider: The LizBiz". FDQ:Fashion Doll Quarterly. Pat Henry. Brides: 30–31.
Jozef Szekeres hits the shore of the US, and brings with him the new line of dangerously curvy girls with guns.
- DOLLS (November 2006). "Fresh Faces: Jozef Szekeres". DOLLS. USA: Jones Publishing: 16.
- Pat Henry (2007). "Around The World in Eighty Days". FDQ: Fashion Doll Quarterly. USA: Pat Henry (Icons): 34–36.
Jozef Szekeres new Kotalin and Elizabet Bizelle dolls make an appearance at Dollz in Oz, in "Birthday Bash" and "Lady in Red". Jozef has updated the dolls with vinyl arms that pop out to change the dolls pose and allow a stance with hands on the hip for that certain spy-like swagger!
- blackmermaidproductions. "Internationally Renowned Comics Artist and Graphic Novelist to Launch Jozef Szekeres Sydney Art Exhibition".
Doran was delighted to be asked to launch Szekeres’ first solo art exhibition, “Jozef Szekeres is an artist of exceptional ability, able to dance the boundaries of comics, fine art, illustration and animation. Pop, and charming, welcoming and sexy, dazzling colors and enticing, glamorous figure work. Exceptional attention to detail, inviting and lively. I love Jozef Szekeres, and the only thing wrong with him is that more people don't know who he is. Yet.” – Colleen Doran