Kim-Peter Waltzer-Girda felt a real connection with Gibraltar from his very first visit.
The Finnish sculptor is not one for holding exhibitions so having him on the Rock presenting some of his latest pieces at the Fine Arts Gallery is a rare treat.
Gibraltar and its environment create a special space, he says, and one from which he has drawn great inspiration because of its “uniqueness”.
“There is a certain mystique about the place which is very inspirational. Its people are wonderful too and very welcoming,” he adds.
The exhibition, which opens this evening, holds 12 works in crystal and bronze with a number of works using both.
Although it there is no title for the show every piece is unique and has been inspired by “nature and spirituality” combining rich shapes and colours.
Over the years the artist has created and developed his own unique method of making crystal sculptures which cannot be replicated elsewhere.
At the official opening this evening Waltzer-Girda will present one of his sculptures to the Governor Lieutenant General Ed Davis as a gift to the people of Gibraltar to pass on to The Queen.
The exhibition which will be opened by the Governor is dedicated to the Monarchy, The Queen and the people of Gibraltar.
“I want to give a present to The Queen. I am a monarchist and respect the monarchy. It is like the old world and there is that connection here in Gibraltar with the UK.
I will be presenting a uranium green crystal glass sculpture (it looks like royal yellow) and with it I also want to bring good energy to Gibraltar because I love it here,” says he artist.
His art, he explains “needs good homes” and as a result much of his work can be found in the hands of prominent collectors and patrons around the world in the USA, Finland, Japan and the UK.
Archbishop Leo (Makkonen) of Karelia and All Finland, head of the Finnish Orthodox Church is a patron of his art.
One of the artists aim’s is to help inspire today’s leaders “because they are mostly quite alone and need inspiration”. But he also believes that in doing this he will help the everyday citizen.
As a religious person, religion plays a major part in his life. Born a Lutheran today he is Greek Orthodox.
“I believe in God,” he says outright and this also plays a big part in his creations.
Waltzer-Girda is a corporate artist and sculptor born in 1971 whose work is inspired by nature, the environment and spirituality.
Ultimately, he says his aim is to create works which will still be around in more than 100 years times.
“I work for today but create for the future.”
He tells of how his art education was one thing but that he truly started to learn his craft when he took on a special installation project at the Valamo Monastery an active centre of the Orthodox religious life and culture in Finland.
This is where he found he could work in bronze.
But his unique sculptures begin in clay.
“Clay is like the base. I love the smell and I love how my fingers work the clay.”
Once he has created a new work he then decides whether it will work in bronze or in crystal or as a combination of both.
He has a Fine Arts education background and spent seven years in art school. It was also at seven when his art begins.
He believes art is a genuine gift.
“Yes, you start with an education in art but to create you have to be born an artist and this has to be a part of you and inside of you.”
Today he has his own glass factory and bronze factory in Finland.
Over the years he has lived in Japan and the USA but he always knew he would set up his factories in Finland.
Known as a corporate artist, has co-operated with several companies such as Lego, Marimekko and Martela where he created a unique furniture collection, the Kelja series.
He believes his art, his sculptures, are like living characters.
“The materials I use are eternal. I create art for 1000 years. I don’t want my art to be restored so it has to be long-lasting.”
He believes he is creating works which will be very important after 800 years.
“I am not doing it for people today but as art for the future. I don’t even own my art.”
But, he is very clear, that he wants people from today and tomorrow to find themselves in his art.
“I want them to find something inside of them and realise that they have a larger mission to be here and not just consumers.”
In his creations there are no synthetic materials. Today he is very comfortable with his preferred materials: clay, glass and bronze but he has also worked with gold.
The materials like art found him, he continues.
When creating his works he talks about the energy when shaping them into form.
“I need to feel the energy. The organic shapes and their eventual form are universal – the work tells me what to do, I am like a channel for the work and then I find a connection.”
Art, he knows, is his mission in life.
“Art found me. It was a spiritual encounter and I feel I have a real connection with my art. The people who really like my art are mystic people.
“Art is the channel to the spiritual world which is in you (in everyone of us). You have to get it and if you can get it life is more fulfilling. Everything is about this.”
The right people, he believes, will find his art. In the same way his art was drawn to Gibraltar.
“This is the reason why I wanted to exhibit here.”
The exhibition which opens to the public tomorrow will be on show at the Fine Arts Gallery until 5 March.