Tobias LUTTMER is driven by the desire to reach a balance between
cubist abstraction and classical realism. This self-taught sculptor
is a life-long resident of Calgary, Alberta
and he lives his passion for creative experimentation.
Most of his pieces are created using indestructible materials which
reflect Luttmer’s necessity for physicality. His process, generting
dirt, grime, noise, smoke, dust, sparks and fire, is what moves his
creativity forward and enables him to expresses his curiosity of
human and animal forms.
With a true love of his craft he leaves evidence of his tools in his
work as homage to the process. There is no certain ideal that the
sculpture attempts to portray; rather Luttmer’s work depicts an
evolution of form as it emerges from his materials. Each piece is
taken to the point of release - where the line can go no further -
which typically results in work on the abstract side of the
your materials lead you to new content? How and when?
This is a tough question. There are so many things to
recently had a beautiful white and black granite boulder that I
thought was a snow fox. Once I had it up on the bench it very
quickly became a snow leopard. So that is me intending to make
something and the material suggesting it wants to be something else.
It is sort of symbiotic, however, just as often it is totally
intentional. If I want to make a sculpture that has fine detail, I
will use stainless steel and my TIG welder. I could carve the same
detail from wood or stone, I just prefer to do this in stainless.
Is where you find the materials important?
I spend a good chunk of time hiking in the mountains and love to collect
materials from remote places. I'll take photos of the area, then make a
sculpture and be able to show the new owner where it came from. This
is an important part of the process for me. On the other hand I
can't manufacture stainless steel, so I just order it from a local
Is there a point when
the material limits what you are doing?
The material is always a limiting factor. It's like a
never-ending puzzle. What can I get away with before this will
break? Or, how can I make this sculpture from these materials?
What else would you like us to know?
I love the process
of making sculpture. I love the ringing sound basalt makes when you
carve it with hammer and chisel. I love the dust and mud and noise
when I carve with a chainsaw or diamond saw. I love the smoke and
fire and sparks from molten stainless steel. I love the materials
that I work with and the way they behave; the infinite ability to
manipulate stainless steel, the polish it will take, the way it
colours with heat; the strength and density of the grain structure
of the beautiful black basalt column. It just begs to be carved to
reveal the colour and figuring in a hardwood.