My career as an artist began in 1965, with an accident in art school (WKS Hannover).
The curriculum in the chemistry class was a project of my choosing, in which I immersed a small painted copperplate in a vat of acid. After a couple of hours of waiting, and with no visible reaction happening to the plate, I decided it was ok to go for lunch. On my return I noticed some peculiar yellow clouds at the entrance to the classroom, and within minutes the entire department had to be evacuated (I learned much later that those yellow clouds were very toxic).
An emergency rescue by my teacher was also a lesson in the neutralizing effect of an alkalizing base solution. A potentially explosive runaway reaction had been narrowly averted.
On further examination; the situation had resulted in something that got my attention. The very hot reaction of the acid on the metal plate had created an interesting deep structure and gestalt. I had suddenly and unexpectedly entered a marriage-like relationship between metal and my imagination.
A local reporter later wrote of me:
“Being an artist is one of the most difficult addictions man has to live with. Rohne, 25, is an artist dedicated (even addicted) to his work. It is highly specialized skill that combines knowledge of metals and chemistry with a catalyst of creative ability.”
In 1967 I immigrated to Canada in partnership with one of my art school classmates, partly so as not to waste any time drinking, singing and endlessly marching in formation in the Army, as service was compulsory at the time. I had already had my fill of such things in East Germany as a “Jung Pioneer”. In any event; it would get me closer to seeing the birthplace of my Grandmother and Father; my boyhood dream: South America.
One day; in the year 2000 my wife at the time told me to “Take a hike!“. Taking her advice; I joined the Gourmet Hikers. As a result; through the combination of the seemingly never ending hikes and chelation therapy to remove heavy metals from my body, I experienced the relief of the chronic pain with which I had been living.
It turned out to be a very, very long hike to Machu Picchu, the Inca sacred place in the Andean mountains of Peru.
1944 Born in Peine, near Hannover, West Germany.
1956 Moved from Leipzig, East Germany, to Hannover, West Germany.
My father said “Goodbye to Karl Marx”.
1959 Apprenticeship for painting and design.
1962 Journeyman’s exam completed with excellence. Entrance examination for Werkkunstschule (modelled after Bauhaus).
1965 Completion of Werkkunstschule (Art School/Applied Art) and certification.
Projects in metal etching, enameling and stained glass.
First development of full-sized coffee table in etched zinc.
1966 Associate in Mosaic Workshop in South Germany. Development of
etched metal plates incorporated in furniture.
1967 Immigrated to Vancouver, Canada.
1969 Beginning of Metallic Design Studio. Developed new techniques for original etched and oxidized metal plates. Canadian Guild of Crafts prize for excellence and Adelaide Marriot Award.
1969 – 1981 Exhibited extensively in Canada, the USA (Baker Showrooms),
Great Britain (Harrod’s of London) and Germany.
1981 – 2000 Various commissioned projects for clients such as; BC Hydro, CN Rail, RCMP and Motorola, including the entrance sculpture at Canada Place in the Vancouver downtown area.
Travelled the long way to Machu Picchu.