Spreitz’s early exposure to art was through his stepfather who painted murals and conserved church paintings. With his encouragement, Spreitz applied to the Art Academy of Graz but was not successful. Undaunted, he spontaneously followed a friend who was being examined for Physical Education and was accepted into that program. To appease his father, Spreitz brought a sketchbook to school and did drawings of the human figure in motion, which continued to be a primary subject within Spreitz’s art.

Fellow Limner artist Robin Skelton said “… while it was in Canada that [Spreitz] discovered his vocation as an artist and developed his artistic style, it was in Austria that he encountered that world of illusion and comedy, and of disciplined fantasy, which gives his work its unique fascination.” 1

herbert & K

Photograph of Karl Spreitz and Herbert Siebner holding a collaborative work

When Spreitz moved to Victoria in 1959 he met and befriended German Expressionist artist Herbert Siebner and conceptual artist Michael Morris. With some formal instruction from Siebner and encouragement from Morris, he developed an abstract geometric style and experimented with oil panting, mixed media, collage and monotype printing. The subjects of his artwork are often imbued with personal imagery, sometimes originating from his childhood memories of his grandfather’s tailor shop or playing with puppets. He premiered his art at the Vancouver Island Jury Show in 1960 and continued his artistic career alongside his television, film, photography and photo editing jobs.

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