visual artist, art teacher, and mentor to generations of art enthusiasts
At the age of 20, Nyilasi emigrated from his native Hungary to Canada after the turmoil of the Hungarian Revolution. He studied drawing and painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. After a few years in commercial art, he qualified as an Ontario high school art specialist teacher, and embarked on a 30-year career in Hamilton schools. He taught at Central Secondary, Sir John A. MacDonald, and Sir Alan MacNab schools. Nyilasi also taught at the Dundas Valley School of Art. For ten seasons he ran a two-week summer art camp for children in Kesztölc, Hungary.
Tibor Nyilasi maintained a parallel six-decade career as a professional visual artist. Over his lifetime he had 65 solo shows both in Canada and internationally. He took part in 54 Canadian and 28 international group shows. He completed 11 major commissions and is included in 14 corporate, national, and municipal art collections.
He was a member of the Paris Montmartre Artists’ Association, the Danubian Artists Association of Slovakia, and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. His work is in private collections throughout Canada, Europe, Australia, South Korea, and Japan.
The artist’s phenomenal creative output included mosaics, paintings, and drawings of dancers, musicians, and ordinary people in coffee shops, markets and bus queues. His solid knowledge of human and animal anatomy allowed him to sketch, draw and paint figurative subjects in any style – from the most academic to the most impressionistic – with an accuracy that allowed him to move beyond observation into expressing the personality of his subjects. He enjoyed portraying group scenes, and often approached his subject matter with humour, whimsy, or satirical intent.
Tibor Nyilasi was masterful in his application of colour, his design, and textural effects. His phenomenal ability to create accurate and expressive figurative compositions while employing wet-on-wet watercolour technique (using a saturated brush and painting on wet paper) is unlikely to be surpassed. He worked with courage, confidence, and risk-taking rooted in many years of technical practice.
He had a great love of the theatre, attending the Stratford Festival, ballet performances, choirs and symphonies. His interpretations of dance focus on the dynamism of movement through space.
Tibor Nyilasi is represented in The Royal Collection of Drawings and Watercolours in Windsor Castle, England, and in Hungary’s National Gallery. A life-long citizen of Hamilton, Ontario, he succeeded in his stated intention of “flooding the world with art”.
Certified Teacher, Province of Ontario, 1968
Ontario Teacher's Vocational Certificate in Fine Art, University of Toronto, 1968
Ontario College of Art, Associate, 1964
Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour
Danubian Artists Association
Ontario College of Teachers
Paris Montmartre Artists' Association
Nyilasi's full professional CV can be viewed here.
Tibor Nyilasi passed away on December 21, 2015.