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Serge Zaleski

Serge Zaleski

JH image-270
Watercolour by John Haycraft, Palm Beach on the day of Serge's farewell.


14th October 2013

We said goodbye to Serge here yesterday. On a ridge high above his favourite swimming spot at Palm Beach. Tender, loving messages from heartbroken children left fatherless too soon. Warm and fond memories from friends and colleagues. A huge sky with marching clouds. A sweep of golden beach. The sentinel lighthouse on Barrenjoey guarding Pittwater. A magnificent surf rolling in from the Tasman Sea. Grand gestures writ large. Serge would have expected no less.

John Haycraft


serge 170

Watercolour by John Haycraft, Palm Beach on the day of Serge's farewell.

SZ Ferris 270
Serge Zaleski was the first and only Australian to win the
Hugh Ferriss Award - the top award from the American Society of Architectural Illustration.
"6 Star hotel, Doha, Qatar"
Architects: Mitchell Giurgola Thorp

SZ Sketch 270
Athlone City Centre, Ireland
Cient: Murray O'Laoire architects

SZ Award2 270
Theatre Themed Lobby, Generic concept illustration
for Hoyts International
Designers: Belt Collins International

William J. Michell Juror's Award
American Society of Architectural Illustration,
Architecture in Perspective 1996

SZ 3-270
Spire proposal St. Mary’s Cathedral Sydney, NSW, Australia
Architects: Government Architect, Public Works Department of NSW

SZ Interior 270
Re-furbishment of the old Customs House, Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Architects in Association : Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and Jackson Teece Architecture

Serge was awaiting surgery at Nepean Hospital when he suffered a major heart attack. Our condolences go to his family and close friends. A viking send off and celebration of his life was conducted on 14th October at Palm Beach.

Delineation Graphix

Serge Zaleski graduated from the school of Architecture, University of Melbourne with honours in Design and Construction in 1966. His subsequent experience was in planning and design, particularly in the field of health care. His interest in the communication of architectural concepts led to considerable involvement in design analysis, presentation and marketing. He could always draw a little and subsequently has honed his skills by dint of interest and considerable practice. Serge has been a founding member of the Australian Association of Architectural Illustrators. He is a fellow of the Society of Architectural Illustrators (UK) and is a member of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators.

In 1982 he established the Delineation Graphix studio in Sydney where it operated till 2002. From 2002 till 2006 the studio relocated to Dublin, Ireland. On his return to Australia Serge re-established the practice in Brisbane, later moving to Coochie Mudlow Island and finally settling in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.
From Delineation Graphix website

A memory of Serge Zaleski

“Hullo my friends,” was Serge’s greeting of choice, and thus he greeted us at an obscure pub in Pyrmont, not far from his studio in Bulwarra Place, for that first, well lubricated get together when we decided that the architectural renderers of Australia had to band together to solve world problems, bring healing to the sick and create manna for the poor. Well, it went something like that anyway. In Serge’s company one could never tell when hyperbole finished and reality began. Of course, in those days hand rendered perspectives were our stock in trade and a certain gilding of the lily was not only required, but expected.

In company with Serge that day in the early 90’s were John Richards, Irene Still, David Wardman, David Duloy, and myself. We were joined soon after by Jane Grealy who bought with her the vast northern army of renderers and an accord already forged with our American colleagues.

We now know how the Association grew and waned, and changed, and morphed. It began then with some ideals that were never reached, however, what was forged was camaraderie and a fellowship of like minds that enjoyed getting together and chewing the fat. The mellifluous voice of Serge was heard in the middle of many of those discussions, with advice, opinion, and stories of utter improbability. I never got to the bottom of the Russian submarine story……

A past winner of the Hugh Ferris Memorial Prize, Serge brought skill and bravura painting to his work. He was respected throughout the architectural illustration world and has left many friends with happy memories.

He would be cross with me if I did not mention one. And that was when I drove Frank Costantino to Serge’s place late one night in Sydney. Frank was to stay overnight, and neither of us realised that Serge’s house was perched high on a cliff top, hidden from the road by dense trees. A booming voice from out of the night sky directed us to a perpendicular travelator that disappeared up into the trees. With some misgivings I loaded a nervous Frank and his gear on board. My last sight of this famous American renderer was the look of stark disbelief on his face as he ascended, god-like, up into the darkness until lost to sight in the dense forest. Up there, somewhere, Serge was waiting.

John Haycraft

About Serge

Serge Zaleski was one of the first people had I met during my visits to Australia, in the mid-90's. I was invited by Jane Grealy to come down under to conduct some seminars in Brisbane, which offerings then expanded to include Sydney and Melbourne. Meeting Serge was an event unto itself, with his huge smile, a warm "gooday", and an enveloping bear hug that seemed to be his trademark well-wishing. Given his warm, generous acceptance of me, I was immediately swept up in his enthusiasm and generous, gentlemanly ways. I had brought my son, living then in Japan, with me for this tour, and Serge immediately "adopted" him and could not do enough for him.

Serge’s gregarious nature inclined him to entertain whoever was listening, and he was never short of stories about his family, his city, his friends, his clients, his work, his cooking, good wines, and general opinions about the world and its affairs. If not for such genuine generosity, one might think he was just showing off, but it was just the fact of sharing which he enjoyed so much.

During one session of a 3 day watercolor seminar I conducted in Sydney, Serge suggested a waterfront restaurant and promenade near the harbor, where our group could paint outside, have some lunch, and enjoy the weather and each other in a more relaxed manner. After his chowing down on some "bugs", the Australian lobster, and enjoying more than a few glasses of wine, Serge decided it was too much trouble to use water for his painting, and with a hearty laugh, decided to use his wine instead; which technique would have been otherwise shocking for me, but hey, given the occasion, it was another technique (his sketch of a boat was rather good too). He later showed me how he would sometimes sketch with coffee (a poor man’s method also used in Beaux Arts).

At his home studio, Serge shared much about his illustration work with me - techniques, projects and clients; and especially his travels - to the Middle East, to Asia, sometimes to Europe. He was proud of the caliber of his clientele, and the quality of work he wanted to always produce for them. He proved that high capacity by winning the ASAI Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize in 1998, with a gorgeous painting for a resort project in Qatar.

He also shared his beautiful city, driving me up and down the coast to various beaches, homes and sights, and then visiting his colleagues, John Haycraft, David Wardman, Irene and Colin Still, and others along the way, and hosting me in a memorable fashion.

For over twenty years, we kept in touch (always lengthy), either by phone, letter or e-mail while he was in Sydney, and during the time he moved to Dublin, and also upon his return to Brisbane. He would always send “big hugs” as his parting goodbye. That habitual gesture was one assurance of a friendship that would always be there. Now, only the reassuring memories of that expansive friendship will always be there.

Frank M Costantino,

Serge Zaleski Architectural Illustrator

More than 20 years ago us architectural illustrators worked mostly in islolation, so it came as a suprise when Serge phoned me and suggested we meet. I went to his office in Crowsnest and from there we went to lunch locally. He had already met with others in this way and during lunch suggested we form an association. A small group met in a cafe in Surry Hills and later at my house in Paddington to investigate the possibilities and to map out a strategy for a new association.

There was already (and still is) an association of Australian illustrators but nothing that represented illustrators specialising in architectural work, so from that time, and that first suggestion from Serge we had our first formal meeting in Brisbane organised by Jane Grealy to form the AAAI, Jane became the first President with Serge as Vice President.

I have always been grateful to Serge for that initial suggestion leading to that bringing together of architectural illustrators for the first time ( in Sydney anyway). He will, I hope always be remembered for that.

David Wardman

Full Chroma

I have been struggling to find words to describe Serge. As illustrators we express ourselves in images, paint and line. How would I paint a portrait of Serge? Generous, dramatic strokes, splashes of paint, capture the smile and his enthusiasm for life. Vibrant colour, full chroma.

Jane Grealy