Fine twisting lines and smooth paintbrush strokes meticulously depict the Magyar metropolis in the astonishing artworks of Stefan Bleekrode. Bringing urban landscapes to life with only pen and paper, his drawings present a breathtaking black-and-white bird-eye’s view of cityscapes, while his watercolor works capture the spirit and soul of highlighted parts of a city. His Budapest pictures portray several of the city’s postcard superstars, such as the Parliament, the iconic view from the Margaret Bridge, and Keleti Railway Station complete with the finest details thanks to patient precision.
The 30-year-old entirely self-taught Netherlands-based artist Stefan Bleekrode has been drawing ever since he could hold a pencil. At the age of ten his father took him on a trip to Paris, and Stefan was so captivated by the chic city that he decided to create a cityscape of the whole town completely by memory. From then on, he continued to pursue his talent working with pen art, and after a few years he also became interested in painting. His passion for traveling often takes him to various parts of the world, where his memory takes snapshots of special scenes he sees that later he puts down on paper to preserve the rapidly passing moments forever. Stefan told us that there are cities – such as Budapest and New York – that he immediately falls in love with, and ideas for future works of art keep coming to him, whilst at other places he needs to stroll the streets to specifically look for spectacular scenes.
“I very much like the fin de siècle atmosphere which remains persistently present all over Budapest. As a romantic at heart, I very much enjoy places where you might be transferred, even if it's just for a short while, to a different era, and in Budapest that remains quite easy.”
“There are a number of places I really like; the two main railway stations for instance, Keleti and Nyugati, feature in several of my drawings. They are the finest examples of 19th-century railway architecture in Europe I can think of. But also the view from Margit Bridge over the Danube with the Castle Hill and the Parliament, I very much enjoy. The Grand Boulevard and Andrássy Avenue are also some of my favorite places because of the architecture, and I recently found out that the Palotanegyed behind the National Museum is lovely as well,” says Stefan about his favorite locations in Budapest.
When drawing, Stefan first makes a sketch of a cityscape to support his memory later on; afterwards, weeks or months can pass without his looking at this work again, until finally he precisely fills it in with all of the fine details to recapture the atmosphere and architecture of a certain city. He revealed that there is little room for correction in his work as he uses ink, so all buildings and structures need to be technically totally correct. He sometimes needs to sacrifice most of his day to bring to perfection even the tiniest bit of a big drawing.
Concerning the future, Stefan told us that he finally managed to start working on a series of “Budapest by Night” drawings, as well as completing older ideas he didn’t yet find the time to finish. As for a future challenge, he would like to feature his two favorite aspects of the English Lake District, the landscape and the local architecture, in one big drawing.
Below we present a few of Stefan’s artworks of Budapest, and to see more pictures of other locations as well, check out his website.