Artist / Amateur Writer

01. Self-Portrait -1953Born in Austria, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna with honours and an M. A. in 1953. Since 1958 in Toronto, Canada.  This creative pursuit on display is on view with over 200 images on my new Website under – Joseph Roitner, Canadian Painter.

Already before my teens, I have expressed myself through painting. This interest led to study art and I have painted since to develop less my skill than convey with the acknowledged styles of modern art my spiritual view of a subject.

The apparent change in my work that seems at first so different from one stage to the next is, with a few exceptions, an organic transition. In other words, colours, forms and composition, although different to the point where they appear to be by another artist, are strongly related.

The somewhat realistic works are from that notion excluded. They stem from a basic enjoyment to explore the special, impressionistic side of painting, and were never meant for exhibitions. On the more creative side, I used the apparent realism in a surreal-symbolical expression and have always had to some extent interest in portraits.PAINTER

About writing: I have not had the same training nor use of language to become a writer, unlike painting where I claim to be an artist rather than amateur. Still, within themes, subjects, ideas, I have always had the urge and interest to clarify my thinking to the best of my knowledge. My concern about historical and social events and its consequences worldwide that filters through my paintings, with themes that are rather universal than local or national, I had the need to express those thoughts more explicitly with words to voice how I see my world.

So then, whatever felt appropriate to write about in a loose form of mainly articles, short stories or poems, I will enter gradually in this setting here for reading – available in German as well.

In Memorial  1929 – 2017

Joseph Roitner

Dear friends, with some sadness, our father passed away at 87 on May 9th 2017 peacefully at his home after a long struggle with cancer ailments.

He was a quiet, reserved man with many talents. He studied Fine Arts in Vienna and created these paintings and writings on this site.

An avid ski racer, he meet our mum, Jeanine on the slopes in Austria. (he was the instructor) They emigrated to Canada in 1958, settled in Toronto. A lover of classical music, theatre and a piano player. Dad also enjoyed playing tennis, golf, and watching hockey.  

Here is a photo from a few years ago; the family took many, he got it started, we continue on… with love Dan, Allan & Susan Roitner (his children)

Looking Back on My Artistic Spirit

In 1953, I graduated from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. After eight years’ study of applied and fine arts, I was never in a position that inspired me to paint in the same style successively, one painting after another. True, I produced with some intervals paintings with considerable content but no series of explorative work that would show my commitment as something that had inspired me to paint with any kind of obsession, as one reads about dedicated artists of the past.

   I was of the opinion that whatever I would produce should, if possible, further man’s culture as a whole; perhaps lay my building-stone to others as useful before me. Moreover, I would be satisfied to contribute something meaningful to society.

Trio Intermission 2003

   Andy Warhol put it later as follows: “An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would be a good idea to give them”. Contemplating about what Warhol offered to the public, voicing his intention sounds odd. At the same time, he definitely did not want to give them what anyone possibly wished to have, which is within the creative spirit, and I never could have agreed more. So, having this sort of noble but also commercially useless idea at the base of my career, in coming to Canada in 1958, it was also my dream to catch up at the first opportunity with much of lost time and explore my talents, to see if I had any.

Up to now, within my formal training, I composed drawings or paintings that were of social nature. All themes, problems or experiences we as humans, creative or not, encounter, are ancient confrontations; they only vary slightly in time with changing cultures, sometimes with strong religious undertone.  Still, generally, leaving the technical aspect aside, there is nothing new under the sun. The only innovative feature, when it comes to art, is that form and expression will change, sometimes within centuries, other times within a generation, and lately much faster.

This new interpretation of an old theme that makes us rethink in broader terms, used up clichés, as love – hate, life – death. Those alterations, newly dressed, ancient properties, have gone under the much used but so little creative word STYLE. Because style could mean an expression or interpretation of a subject that is stagnant, in limbo, repetitive, or could mean that the presentation or discourse of a subject in question is unlike another expression, an updated language, or open dimensions and insight to an ancient, abused subject anew.

Generally, most artists, writers, poets, painters, sculptors, composers (musicians) have built their language on themes handed down to them. Nevertheless, it is a most individualistic undertaking and much of the forms they change will depend on commercial aspects.  That is, social success of a Style, or to satisfy a commission, might prevent an artist to move on and expand. In any event, back to myself, this was never my intention.

My interest and drive lay in changing the media as well as forms over the years. It began as a representational interpretation with a slight cubistic-decorative inclination, greatly related to my studies. Consequently, the many changes in my work excluded me from a commercial career and later even galleries. Generally, the ruling art world accepts stylistic diversity only from acknowledged artists. I have no regrets because the way I conducted my creative years was my own choice within my limitations.

By definition, I am an Amateur painter, whatever that means. This website is mainly to share the creative output of my thoughts and explorative mind. Some further insight into my thinking one may find later posted in my blog.

Comments (2)

  1. Danny Sasseville

    First off, I wish to give my condolences on the loss of your father. I just found out via a search of his name due to a drawing that I have of my late mother that your father drew. It’s a signed pencil portrait of my mother dated 1954. I was just curious to see how this drawing would have come about as your parents emigrated to Toronto and my mother had never left our town of Kirkland Lake. It also states that the year they came over was 1958 and this drawing is dated 1954. It is my most cherished drawing and is still displayed on my dining room wall.

    1. Dan Roitner

      Danny thank you for the kind words. My Dad came over from Austria a few years earlier before he met my Mum. Invited by his brother Leo, he joined him in Northern Ontario to work the mines and make some money. He must have met your Mum while working the mine in Kirkland Lake at some point. – Dan his son

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