Branko Paradis, is an American, Self-taught, Naive art oil painter, who was born on the kitchen table as bombs fell in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1942. He began to paint in childhood, and had to trade the family food for whatever colors he could find at the time. While growing up, he knew that he loved everything American, and his only dream was to someday leave Croatia and go to America.
By the late 1960s, Paradis was part of the second generation group of painters known as the Yugoslav Primitives, a popular group of Croatian Naive art artists. He participated in exhibitions in Croatia, Switzerland and Venezuala. Soon the opportunity arose for him to travel to the USA, and he arrived in New York in 1970.
In 1972, the Director of Galerie St. Etienne on W. 57th St., having heard about Paradis' work in Croatia, invited him to join a major group exhibition featuring artists of the Naive art movement in Croatia. This was a major show that brought the East European Naive art to the heart of NYC. It was an important show for Paradis and brought him further attention. The director of Hammer Galleries was so inspired with this work, that he invited Paradis to mount his first one-man show in New York, from 1977-78.
Paradis' themes and subjects have varied through the years. Vivid memories of snow and rural peasant life remain with him, and he continues to paint them with the same loving attention as he did while in Croatia. In the late 1990s, directed his love and energy for African animals, he began his popular and unique "Naive African Animals Collection." which he continually add to. The sincere love he holds for the USA, had led him to paint images that reflect this love and respect. And, most recently, his 2016 collection of Reverse Oil Paintings, and arduous endeavor of nine images, gives us the opportunity to view his skill in this historical medium.
At 75, Branko Paradis remains seriously and lovingly true to his seemingly simple "naive" style. This offers us a beautiful respite from the chaotic life and world around us. Paradis' unique and enchanting art offers us an innocence and honesty that is missed in everyday modern life. It is meant for the viewer to relax within the image and just enjoy. His uncomplicated, masterful work continues to delight a range of admirers, from children, to art lovers and collectors.