Artist as Astronaut
The Otherworldly Art of Ionel Talpazan
184 pp., 9 x 12 in, 150 color illus., 20 b&w illus.
- Published: June 20, 2023
A vibrant collection of artworks by, and interviews with, the Romanian-American visionary artist Ionel Talpazan.
In the early 1960s, after a terrible beating by his foster mother outside their home in rural Romania, the young Ionel Talpazan had a life-transforming vision of “a beautiful blue light of energy” that he later believed to be of extraterrestrial origin. Four years after his experience, at age 12, he attempted to depict his numinous encounter, and began to obsessively draw otherworldly vehicles and celestial energies. Folklorist and art writer Daniel Wojcik has spent many years interviewing Talpazan and documenting his remarkable artistic vision and this book is the culmination of his fascination with this truly otherworldly artist.
In 1987, Talpazan escaped from Ceausescu's regime in Romania, swimming the Danube River to Yugoslavia where he was imprisoned and then sent to a refugee camp. He was later granted political asylum in New York City, where he survived by selling his art on the streets and in the flea markets of Manhattan. He produced more than 1000 works during his lifetime and claimed that his work possessed a scientific as well as artistic value. Despite adversity and poverty, Talpazan's impulse to create was relentless, ending only with his death in 2015. His work has now achieved international acclaim and is included in important collections and museums throughout the world.