Documentary – Loet Vanderveen The Life & Career of Sculptor and Artist

View official page: Loet Vanderveen The Life & Career of Sculptor and Artist

dvdloetvdvd11storeDocumentary launched August 1, 2012. Directed and narrated by David William Gibbons. Producer Katie Chapman. Loet Vanderveen brings an incredible sympathy to every animal he creates. His sculptures capture an animal’s signature pose and freeze it in time, revealing the essence not only of its form, but also its way of moving. The artist researches his subjects exhaustively and has been on many African safaris to gather first-hand impressions.

loetAs a young boy in Rotterdam, Holland, Loet Vanderveen went nearly every day to the city’s Victorian-era zoo. “I thought animals were way beyond belief. I marveled at them,” says the artist. The zoo keepers gave him free run of the place and let him help care for the animals. “They had a little lion cub and I would feed it practically every day. Then he grew up and they put him in a cage—and I was heartbroken.” More heartbreak was in store for the young Vanderveen. On May 14th, 1940, the Germans bombed Rotterdam, killing 617 people and virtually flattening the city. When warned of the coming attack, the government ordered the Dutch army to shoot the animals in his beloved zoo, fearing that they’d get loose and endanger the populace. “I got there right after the bombardment,” says Vanderveen, “and whole place was in ruins. The lions and big cats—many of them were shot. But in the midst of it all, there was one elephant roaming. It was very, very poetic.” Among all the stories of death and destruction, there were also some amazing stories of survival.

The zoo’s chimpanzee somehow escaped and turned up later in a local bar. A seal was blown out of its pool and ended up in a canal in the city. But Loet Vanderveen’s life would never be the same. The young boy was completely alone. His mother had died in a car accident when he was eight, and shortly after the bombing his father died of a staph infection when no medicine was available to treat him. With his half-Jewish heritage, it became imperative for Loet to get out of occupied Holland. He set off on his bicycle and escaped over the Belgian border. When he arrived in France, he was arrested by the Germans and spent three weeks in prison. After his release he joined the Dutch army and was decorated for valor by Queen Wilhelmina. Post-war times were chaotic, but the young man had friends in the fashion industry who found him work doing sketches for designers. Loet went to Paris hoping to be a designer himself, but was only offered a job sketching by a young Christian Dior. He turned it down, “…like an idiot. It was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.”

He did find work in London designing sportswear until his American visa cleared and he packed for New York City. For three years he studied with a master ceramicist, learning the challenging art of reduced glazes. But the cutthroat business environment of the city wasn’t to his liking, and he and his new partner, the painter Alba Hayward, set out for California to find their paradise, settling on the rugged Big Sur coastline. They bought twenty acres 1600 feet above the surf and hired an architect who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a house. Loet built a large ceramic studio with kiln and spent the next years creating ceramic sculptures of animals, some with bronze tusks and horns.
In 1985 a lightning-sparked fire burned his house and studio to the ground. The only survivors were the rose bushes, some giant redwood trees and a few large ceramic pieces that Loet had dragged outside. Using the original plans, the house was rebuilt with improvements, but with a much smaller studio for sculpting the wax originals that his new bronze animals were being cast from.

kuduThis new medium brought Loet Vanderveen into the international spotlight. The combination of patina and polished bronze finishes added the finishing touch to his elegant sculptures. Works by Loet Vanderveen are now in the permanent exhibits of museums worldwide. Political figures, champions of sport, movie stars, wildlife organizations and heads of state—these diverse art collectors are united by an appreciation for the art of the Dutch boy who loved animals and grew up to be one of the most famous sculptors of our time. This documentary defines the man who has spent his life overcoming obstacles through a desire to love animals and the soil upon which they and all life experiences the blessings of Mother Earth.





Director, Narrator David William Gibbons

DH_Gibbons_003David William Gibbons is best known for the creation of deep ethereal dialogue, broadcast widely across the transitory and fast evolving technologies existing at the beginning of the 21st Century. His work in the humanities began at a fundamental level with the 14 days journeys across America and the United Kingdom in 2004 and 2005. During this period he found an emerging and transformational personal gift of human connection, in concert with the creation of profound photography and film. Later, at a revolutionary changing point in his life, an understanding developed in pairing historical context with human connection dynamics. This was defined and developed during 2009, through the personal exploration and extensive research of deep discussion and narrative in audio and video mediums. This period also marked a time of introspection and intense hardships through which he traveled, until such time as the platform upon which his material resides found its mark. The programming and rich dialogue have since developed and advanced to where an extensive and powerful legacy now exists. Today, these dialogues continue to expand based upon the transformation of a challenged planet. Distinguished individuals and groups from all over the world have participated in deep conversations, the latter of which are charted through international panels on the well respected Crossing over the Bridge series. The most notable of these include the late Dr. Brian O’Leary Astronaut and Author, with whom he recorded over 28 hours of dialogue and engaged in hundred’s of hours of personal conversations outside of the regular broadcasting schedule. A close friendship and mutual respect developed between the two individuals heavily reflected and resonating in the work that they created together. Dr. Brian O’Leary passed in July 2011. It is considered in many circles, that the material created between the two individuals represents the greatest body of conversations currently known to be in existence during Dr. O’Leary’s life. His work continues with an underscore of quiet discernment, deliberating upon wide spread issues of which free energy and evolving conscious human behavior define the backbone of a core and determined mission. Through an open and ever deepening form of dialogue, the views of people and realities continue to build upon his long believed view that this current time reflects this “the generation of all generations.” ( js/ny 07/12)

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