My career as an artist started in 1986. Namibian born and having lived for a year in Chicago, I received my main education in Germany. Attending shortly Munich’s Kunstakademie, I switched dissatisfied the art institute with the desert and my own voice as an artist thrived. Successful painting exhibitions in Namibia and Germany followed. The emphasis on texture and the need to explore space further guided me to sculpt withclay. After my return to the US in 1990, I created large water sculptures that were widely collected.
Meet Wolfgang Vaatz
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Relocating to northern Arizona in 2001, I also revisited painting landscapes of the Southwest. A move to southern Arizona in 2009 reawakened a fascination for gems and minerals from my childhood. Transforming quickly to work with natural stones and metal, I used my skills as a painter and sculptor, while getting comfortable with the much smaller scale of works. Since late 2012, I started working seriously as a studio jeweler, creating exclusively wearable art. Since starting with jewelry, my work evolved dramatically. It seems, I came full circle, for presently the major theme under-laying my jewelry creations is still and again the natural landscape, as obvious as in the miniature carved scenes of mountains, hill country, southwestern desert, and of course the ocean, and at times manifest in minute studies of patterns in nature, created by the action of wind, water and sun, that translate in certain hammered or carved patterns or composition choices in abstract pieces.
What drives me is my passion for discovery, for recognizing the potential of my environment and the desire to share my joy through my art work. It’s the way how I observe nature and how I let the creative process guide me and the tools I use. Being basically self-taught in the field of wearable art, I work through and learn from my mistakes – while applying modified techniques from my sculpting experience. However, in the end, it has allowed me to develop a different approach and to come up with unusual work that is collected by individuals nationwide. Also, this year, in 2016, my work has been selected as finalist in the Niche Award and won 2nd place in the prestigious Saul Bell Award Competition.
Behind every unique piece carefully crafted design infused in each piece and project hours of hard work result in beautiful wearable art.
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