'Sea Bones' exhibit a family affair

Christian Siemer and granddaughter Lucy Vincent have had a busy few months, preparing artistic works for this week’s ‘Sea Bones’ exhibition at the Cannery Arts Centre from January 19 to 31.

Having lived in Esperance as a farmer since 1956, Mr Siemer describes his decision to attend art school in the 1990s as his ‘midlife crisis’.

“I think I’ve always been a frustrated artist, it’s a generational thing,” he said.

“My grandfather was an American artist who painted and I suppose I inherited some of those genes and went down the same track.”

Although he was farming, Mr Siemer said art had always sparked his interest.

“I loved farming because it was something that got your hands dirty and I suppose this is just an extension of that,” he said.

“I like being creative and was always making something, even if it was building things, ploughing paddocks or knocking down trees.

“I majored in painting but tended towards manufacturing work because I liked the structural feeling about it and doing something.”

Mr Siemer’s son took over the farm during the mid 1980s, a move he said ‘released’ him to do the work of his choosing.

The award-winning artist said the idea to create an exhibition with granddaughter Lucy arose six months ago, with work beginning soon after.

“It’s taken around six months to put together, it’s a process,” he said.

“Firstly, I have to do the artwork in clay and take a create a mould.

Then I take an impression in wax, melt the wax out to leave an impression and then I cast it in bronze.”

As locals, Mr Siemer said he believed the exhibition would be ‘good for the town’.

“Lucy wanted to do the photography and I then opted to do a series of marine pieces,” he said.

“Lucy is very creative, she’s been doing the drone photography for quite a few years now and the photos are lovely.

“Lucy and I have always been close, we’re a close family, but this has been a good bonding experience.

“I’m very proud of Lucy, I’m proud of all of my kids.”

With more than a few exhibitions under his belt, Mr Siemer said he still does not consider selling the works as the ‘ultimate’.

“I have quite a large family around me now and I like them to have a lot of it,” he said.

Mr Siemer said although creating the pieces was time consuming and exhausting, he still ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ making them.

“I’m getting on now, I’m an octogenarian,” he said.

“Most of them are 70 kilograms of bronze and I do all of it myself.

“I have a great helper in Phil Shelton, who gives me a hand, and my grandson Max Siemer helps me to pour the bronze and do the heavy work.”

Mr Siemer said he believed he would still be creating art for the next few years, so long as he can ‘carry a pot of metal around’.

The ‘Sea Bones’ exhibit has been extended due to popular demand, now running until January 31, with items on display available for purchase.

The Cannery Arts Centre will hold an official opening on Saturday, January 20, with free food and drinks on offer.