The Art Perspective blog is a collection of thoughts, musings, and reflections on art, artists, and current happenings in the art world. 

Behind the Canvas: Gisa Mayer

Gisa Mayer is truly an international artist. Having grown up in Germany, lived and travelled extensively across Europe, and currently living in Canada. The texture and technique Mayer employs in her works is distinctive and precise. This week we spent some time connecting with Mayer, getting to know the artist from a different perspective.

AP. Who is Gisa Mayer? Give us some background on yourself as an artist; where did you grow up? What or who inspired you? 
GM. I was born in Bad Reichenhall, Germany, very close to Salzburg, Austria. I grew up in the foothills of the Alps, sailing and surfing on the lakes; hiking and climbing the mountains in summer and skiing in the winter. With the beautiful cities of Salzburg and Munich nearby, I was exposed to art, music and culture from childhood. I studied art, art history, and the romance languages in Germany, Austria and Italy. The baroque and rococo art of the area I grew up in is indelibly etched in my personality and art.  I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by world class museums and galleries, it is hard not to be inspired and grow as an artist in such an environment. In 1997 I moved with my husband and our four sons from Germany to Calgary, where we have been living and working ever since, although I still go back to visit Italy, Germany, and Austria as often as I can.

AP. How would you describe the type of art you create?
GM. I am a painter. Patterns in the landscapes both big and small have always held my interest. I love mountains, big sweeping hills, skies full of movement, but also smaller details like flowers, mosses and lichens. My work is dominated by movement, long curvy lines and subtle colour gradations. 

AP. What project(s) are you currently working on?
GM. I just finished a private commission from Ottawa, ON, and now I am preparing for shows in Edmonton and Calgary. Water in all its forms is a big part of my new series of paintings. Clouds, ice, rivers and lakes, streams, and oceans form patterns and shape the landscapes that surround us. 

AP. Where can people find your art? How can they purchase a work?
GM. I am represented in Edmonton by Bugera Matheson Gallery, and in Calgary by Ruberto Ostberg Gallery. 

AP. Who is your favourite creative person? Why?
GM. There are so many artists I admire, if I have to choose one I would say Gabriele Muenter. She painted in my home province of Bavaria, and was a member of the Blaue Reiter Group as well as Wassily Kandinsky’s partner for many years. I try to return to Bavaria to look at her work every opportunity I can.

AP. What is your favourite album of all time?
GM. Oscar Peterson’s Canadiana Suite is a favourite for sure. I also listen to a lot of classical music when I paint, mostly opera recordings.

AP. If you didn’t have to work what would you do with your time?
GM. Paint. I am happiest when I am painting.

AP. What is your favourite journey?
GM. Going to La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale). The excitement and the joy of going to Venice and spending a week just looking at new and old art in such a beautiful city never gets old.

AP. Do you have a favourite piece you have personally created? What is it?
GM. A painting of the lake near my hometown, where I used to sail with my father and my three brothers holds a special place in my heart. Other than that my newest painting is always my favourite.

AP. What are your thoughts on the influence of fashion and music on visual arts?
GM. Fashion, music and visual art are constantly influencing each other. There is a certain vibe or zeitgeist that appears in all art forms almost simultaneously. My family has been involved in the fashion industry for many generations, so there is no doubt that I was influenced by fashion; especially growing up around colour, design concepts, and textures for new collections and fashion aesthetics.

AP. Who is your favourite author?
GM. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

AP. Where do you go for inspiration?
GM. Nature. I spend most of my weekends in the mountains; I fell deeply in love with the rockies when I came to Canada for the first time in 1989, so living in Calgary means I can spend a lot more time there, I also travel a lot, mostly in Europe. I try to return to cities and landscapes that have inspired me as often as I can.

AP. What is your greatest achievement in life so far?
GM. No idea.
AP. Come on Gisa, you have obvious achievements as an artist, your family; success is nothing new to you.
GM. I never focus on what I achieved in the past, I am proud of it, but my head is always filled with new projects and ideas for the future.

AP. What is your favourite colour?
GM. Green

AP. What is one thing you want to share with everyone reading this?
GM. Buy art! Looking at art is rejuvenating - surround yourself with paintings you love, let your instincts guide you!

Gisa Mayer lives and works in Calgary, AB Canada. For more information about her work or to acquire her work, please contact us, or one of her galleries listed above.