“For me, painting is the gateway to knowledge and the house in which I live!”
Sonnleitner’s favourite motifs in his paintings are world-famous musical legends.
The newest pop-art artist in our Budapest gallery was born in 1965 in Austria and now lives in St. Pölten. A lover of drawing since early childhood, the self-taught artist began experimenting with his young son’s scattered watercolour paintings in his late twenties as an after-work diversion.
His first exhibition was in a café in Vienna. In 2004, he successfully entered the international art market when he was discovered by the Agora Gallery in New York, allowing him to have his first vernissage and exhibition in the United States.
His New York debut was followed by other exhibitions in Los Angeles, Brussels, Hamburg, Munich, Stockholm and Malmö, where he is also represented by permanent galleries. His work is also held in the State Museum of Lower Austria and enriches various private collections. Even his smallest work has been widely circulated around the world: he designed the cover of the CD “Chance to Dance” by the Octavius singer Falco, which sold 50 000 copies.
Sonnleitner’s expressive portraits of Elvis Presley, James Dean, Marylin Monroe, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, ACDC, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and other famous artists are not only equally influential. They are believed to be the gaze of all the media hype – an insight into the souls of concentrated, cultured characters. His artistic process begins in the exaggeration and alienation of faces, reflected in the blending of different styles.
When he portrays celebrities, he focuses on the image behind the façade, trying to find the intersections and blurred boundaries between the artistic figure and the actual person. He illuminates these with colour.
His paintings are a fascinating mix of media, containing elements of realism, but also abstract and even constructivist.