Harold Balazs was born in Westlake, Ohio in 1928, he is a Mead, Washington, sculptor and enamalist. Harold Balazs was born in Ohio in 1928. His mother encouraged his interest in art and the family often traveled to Cleveland to attend symphony and visit museums. Balazs also received invaluable hands-on experience working in his father's sheet metal and air conditioning business where he developed metal fabrication skills working with complex shapes. Balazs began studying aeronautical engineering at a junior college in Chicago, but a dispute with a professor caused him to enroll in another course. This landed him in an art class and steered him in a different career direction. Because his parents had moved to Spokane, Balazs moved west and continued his studies at Washington State College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951. Early in his post-graduate career Balazs made ends meet teaching classes at the YWCA, the Spokane Art Center, and Washington State College Extension in Spokane. Ultimately he chose to forego the security of teaching because it required "having to be at the same place at the same time every day of your life." For the same reason he avoided production artwork. In 1951, he teamed up with artist Patrick Flammia to produce a mural for the Ridpath Hotel in Spokane. This was the first of countless alliances with architects and business leaders for commissioned work in public buildings. His ingenuity revived the importance of the individual craftsman in architecturally integrated art through collaborations with important regional architects at a time when architectural art seemed to be at its most anonymous. By the mid-1960s, Harold Balazs had become the leading liturgical artist in the Northwest, often incorporating enamel on steel works. Internationally known for his large-scale enamels on steel, Balazs ingeniously adapted studio practice to industrial settings. His experience with public art led to a three term appointment as a Washington State Arts Commissioner during which time he helped draft Washington State's "percent for art" legislation. The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture owns thirty works by Harold Balazs. Sources: Judy Laddon, Harold Balazs: Art is an Art Form, Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, 1999. Harold Balazs - Creating Wonder [electronic document] (Seattle, Washington: Living Treasures Project, accessed 17 July 2006);
He received his Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1951. He has been elected to three terms as a Washington State Arts Commissioner. Balazs has created works in many mediums and multiple examples of his outdoor sculpture installations may be found in the city of Spokane, Washington.
"Glass on Metal", the Enamelist Magazine, writes in their February, 2010, issue that: "The University of Washington Press is publishing a book about his life's work. It will have about 180 pages with about 190 images. The size is 9 3/4 x 12 inches and will come out in July 2010 to coincide with the opening of a retrospective" at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane, Washington. This show will be "the largest overview of the artistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s over 50-year career, this exhibition is a rich and wildly varied survey of BalazsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s deep, unfettered, and wildly creative imagination: jewelry, major sculpture, a hand-made wooden boat, enamel works, folk furniture, childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s toys, sketchbooks and handmade artist books, and photo documentation of significant public and liturgical commissions." (information taken from the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture website) The Harold Balazs Exhibit will run from July 17 - September 10, 2010.