Creative work has always been center to my life. Already at High School I enjoyed art classes best and always looked forward to our weekly lessons. Encouraged and guided by a highly motivated and very sensible art teacher I focused on water color painting and ink drawings during my school days but also was given the opportunity to try my hand at edging, stone carving and sculpting in clay.
Living the better part of my adolescent years in a boarding school which was highly supportive and appreciative of my budding skills as a young artist I continued spending much of my spare time on painting and --playing the violin. After graduation from High School I enrolled at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany to study arts. At this time I started more seriously working on ink drawings focusing on insect illustrations for scientific publications which continued to fascinate me throughout my life.
Realizing however at an early stage how difficult it could be to make a living of art, I decided to choose a different career path which has taken me around the world exposing me to an incredible diversity of cultures and art enriching and shaping my life and my art work of today. After graduating from the Forestry Faculty at the University of Freiburg I took a masters degree in wildlife management at the University of British Columbia, followed by a Doctorate degree from the Freiburg University in conservation ecology (read more: www.goetzschuerholz.com).
Creativity expresses itself in many ways. Although I stopped painting when I graduated from University in 1968 I never stopped bringing creativity to my professional work, especially when it involved planning and designing conservation areas and their infrastructure in countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia . In my spare time at home on Vancouver Island, located at the beautiful West Coast of British Columbia, I continued incorporating art into the design of my house and surroundings, inspired by the large number of artists living in my neighborhood, many of whom I have come to appreciate over the years as close friends.
During the unforgettable years at my Yohetta Wilderness Concession in the coastal interior of British Columbia there was no limit to creativity as expressed in the design and construction of an infrastructure composed of log buildings. All logs used were from trees cut and processed on-site with the assistance of an enthusiastic and dedicated crew, many of whom making use of this once-in- a life-time opportunity to bring in their personal creativity, a satisfying experience for all of us.
It was not before retiring from my professional work as a conservation ecologist in 2010 that I began to think more seriously about getting back into my earlier hobbies of painting and sculpting. In 2011 I built a spacious studio/workshop at my Cowichan Bay residence where I paint and work with stone and metal.
It was more by accident than design that I discovered my love for working with stone. Triggered by a workshop on stone carving during the winter of 2011 in Heidelberg, Germany I continued working with a variety of stones ever since. I am most fascinated by the different shapes, colors and densities of river rock in particular, each posing a challenge to my imagination and carving skills.
The sculptures I create are simple but have to have a soul which I enhance by placing the finished sculpture into a suitable habitat. Working in stone is a dusty affair and requires space and open air. This is only possible at my studio and our house in Cowichan Bay, which offers an awe-inspiring view of a very dynamic estuary teeming with wildlife throughout the year, providing me with a never-ending inspiration for my art work.
Estuaries are amongst the ecologically most important ecosystems of all. At the same time they are amongst the most threatened world-wide , most of them without protection. The Cowichan Estuary in front of my doorstep is no exception. Formerly the bread-basket for First Nation people (Cowichan Tribes) it has suffered from numerous adverse man-caused impacts ever since the first arrival of white man on Vancouver Island. Harmful industry which does not belong to an estuary continues to threaten its integrity. In order to restore the estuary, I became one of the founders of a non-profit society, which I have chaired since 2012, fighting for the estuary's survival. I invite you to visit our website at www.cowichanestuary.com
West Coast Studio in Canada
In order to satisfy my insatiable drive for creative art while in Germany -half a year we live in Canada the other half in Heidelberg- I paint mostly in Heidelberg where I also produce mostly my bronzes.
My artwork would be half the fun without the supportive help, criticism and appreciation by my wife Beate. She not only has a pronounced aesthetic sense but also a keen eye for flaws in my work to be corrected. She never tires of providing welcome advice and actively taking part in the final process of finishing stone sculptures through patiently sanding and polishing for the final touch. A big “Thank you”, Beate, for continuing to enrich my life and my art!
Federation of Canadian Artists
Sculptor Society of BC
Vancouver Island Sculptor Guild
Heidelberger FORUM fuer Kunst e.V.
Bundesverband Bildender Kuenstler (innen) Deutschland, BBK
Bezirksverband Bildender Kuenstler (innen) Heidelberg
Studio in Heidelberg, Germany