He makes a spectacular entrance: driving in front of us in an old Jeep without a roof. Sculptor and artist Anton Franz Mair climbs out in a relaxed manner, exuding a confidence, coolness, artistic flair, and a touch of kookiness. This is not just about art but an attitude to life! Anton F. Mair lives and loves creative freedom. He is a vision in colour: his light green headband clashes slightly against his bright yellow sunglasses, the colourful skull necklace and the red logo t-shirt are somewhat flamboyant. The total effect is an artistic statement in itself. Exactly like his art: original with the focus on the real Zillertaler and his home valley.
Beauty on Your Doorstep
Anton F. Mair discovered his passion for art at a young age. Now aged 60, he lives in Laimach but travels the world for his exhibitions: Munich, Berlin, Bad Ischl. Ealier, the qualified chef and confectioner worked on a boat for many years. “My love of home grew stronger with every trip abroad”, he tells us. “There was a time when I wanted to live abroad forever, far away from the mountains, but that changed. Now, more than ever, I feel very much at home in the mountains.” The 60-year-old doesn’t just sculpt people or faces but rather real Zillertal people. “I don’t let myself be influenced in any direction, I make art for myself.” Authentic, abstract and different.
Art in the Cellar
Perhaps Anton F. Mair is so relaxed because he doesn’t have to live from sales of his work alone. “I’m fortunate that I also have a job running an active club”, he explains. That means a ski school in winter and an activity centre in summer, working with suppliers such as a paragliding company and as a mountain guide himself. So how does he fit in time to paint? “In spring and autumn, when the ski school is closed but the summer business hasn’t yet started I have one or two months of time. Sometimes, during these months, I spend day and night in my studio in the basement.” That’s his creative haven. “It sometimes looks really messy in there, because when the cement mixture falls on the floor it hardens immediately.”
Artist, Sculptor, Multitalented!
Anton F. Mair is no easel artist. His inspiration comes from the mountains but he doesn’t paint landscapes on location. If a landscape appeals to him, he captures it in his head, sketches or photographs the scene and then paints it in his studio at home. “I work with lots of acrylics and cement mixtures and also make pottery, ceramic pictures and drawings.” And when Anton F. Mair doesn’t feel like sculpting or painting, he takes a piece of wood, a carving knife and a file and creates a new canvas. “This is another way I can relax. I need it because I’m always rushing around.” With this, the 60-year-old demonstrates his versatile creative talents. So, what does he think of his own art? “I like it a lot!” he replies.