Eszter Schall! Or, Why I Love the Internet

I met Mr. Detective and Frog Spy in a display case, in a waiting room, in a hospital, in a cave, in Budapest. I knew I wanted them hanging from my ears forever.

One doesn’t necessarily expect to find hand-crafted earrings for sale in a hospital, or a hospital in a cave for that matter. But a TripAdvisor search for something off-beat had brought me and D. to Sziklakórház Atombunker Múzeum and there we and they were.

(You have to love a place whose directions include: The closest bus stop is at Szentháromság tér. Take bus 16, 16A or 116, also called Várbusz, from Széll Kálmán tér (formerly Moszkva tér), Deák tér or Dísz tér. It’s like finally having something to do with all the terrible Scrabble tiles you’ve ever had.)


Back home and missing Budapest, which was riveting, happily unpretentious after Vienna, and so clearly in fevered transition it made my heart ache, I reached for the comfort of Google’s images and the city I had glimpsed. The Fisherman’s Bastian, Matthias Church, the baths.

One drawing of Matthias, especially, was playful, lopsided, somehow familiar. Following the digital breadcrumbs, I found the artist and lost myself in her Etsy page.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but Mr. Detective and Frog Spy!

I had found her: Eszter Schall! Or is it Schall Eszter? Magyar defeats me.


A week or two ago I was wrestling with how to brand a new radio show about curiosity.  Mr. Detective and that grey-hatted frog kept leaping to mind. They were close to whatever it was I thought I was seeking. Browsing her sites, I found Eszter’s other work offered still more delightful depictions of the topsy-turvy, inquisitive spirit of “Choose to be Curious”.

I wanted Eszter’s art. Bad.

So I took a deep breath and sent an email into Hungarian cyberspace.

And she responded! And she let me feature her art for a while! And because there is an internet, you and I can buy the work of a whimsical, witty, wonderfully talented artist in Hungary.

Which you should do, right now.


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