Featured Artist – Spring 2010: Klaus Lange


Impermanent Art — Surprising Beauty

My abstract art photographs are a collection of close-up images  of the worn and rusting paint on ships’ hulls.  With my camera on the high seas I capture fascinating patterns and characters from weathered and repainted ship’s steel. I am a lifelong self-trained artist, and currently give my creativity free reign as a seaman on the San Francisco pilot boat, stationed 12 miles outside the Golden Gate.  While pilots go up and down the Jacob’s ladders in near hourly intervals, I stand camera-ready on deck of the pilot boat, down near the waterline, where the best motifs for my fleeting photography offer themselves so wonderfully. Here for mere moments I find myself presented with surprising views of patterns of worn paint — a rare perspective that most people are never privy to.

These picturesque details, which may have traveled for years across untold oceans, so absolutely undiscovered and unsung, are always special to me.  I might snap a photograph of a particular pattern that will change again in the next port with a new scrape or a tire mark. The art is ever evolving. I am simply capturing it as it transforms. From my close-up perspective these hulls are like gigantic expressionistic paintings filled with images of both stress and beauty.  Later, when I see the photographs in my digital darkroom, I discover apparent humans, fish and animals, landscapes and street scenes — or as I think of it — fascinating sea stories told by the ships themselves.  Deeper, artistic interpretation of my work I prefer to leave to the studied observer, since it seems that everybody sees something different in the abstract images.  As an artist I find sheer joy in discovering hidden meanings and messages, and I marvel at the artistic power of an ever-moving force — the sea.

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