Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Collages of Wilfried "Sätty" Podriech

I first saw the work of Wilfried "Sätty" Podriech a few weeks back at the California History Museum, which was showing his collages of Gold Rush illustrations. They were surreal and fantastic and I went hunting for more. Here are some of my favorites of his work (that I couldn't already find online) from his books Time Zone and The Cosmic Bicycle.

"Sätty (Wilfried Podriech) was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1939. As a child he played in the ruins of the city, which was heavily bombed during World War Two. After three years of apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, he worked in Canada, then moved to San Francisco in 1961. For a few years he worked as a steward on the Pacific cruise ships of the Matson Line, and later as a heating and ventilating systems designer.

In San Francisco he lived in North Beach, and associated with artists and bohemians of the Beat Generation. Since childhood he had demonstrated artistic potential. In 1966, inspired by the openness and creativity of San Francisco’s emergent Hippie culture, he began making pictorial collages. Some of these were sold as poster size prints, which were then very popular. He became a prolific artist, concerned with fine technique and with expression of the broadest range of human experience. He intended his art to engage the imagination and counteract the pernicious stimulus-response programming of media advertising.

Sätty created many colorful artworks and lithographic prints, and hundreds of black and white collages. During the 1970s many were used as illustrations in both the counter culture and establishment periodicals. He produced two collage books, The Cosmic Bicycle and Time Zone, a pictorial allegory. He created illustrations for the comprehensive treatise, The Annotated Dracula and for The Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe, a book of stories he selected. During the late 1970s until his death in 1982, he produced numerous collages inspired by events in San Francisco’s often dramatic, unruly history, from the Gold Rush to the 1890s. Many of these occasionally bizarre images have recently been published in Visions of Frisco, by Regent Press, Berkeley.

In a review of Sätty’s art, S.F. Chronicle art critic Thomas Albright stated, “His work evidenced his Germanic roots with a somber, dreamlike realm of utopian, surrealist fantasy spiced by disarming accents of the bizarre and grotesque.” His art has been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the National Museum of Art, Belgrade; and the National Museum, Warsaw."
-by Walter Medeiros, The Archive of Counter Culture Art. (via I Want You Magazine)

from The Cosmic Bicycle (1971) -

from Time Zone (1973) -

not a collage, but an illustration from The Annotated Dracula (1975) that I can't help but post -

Information, interviews, articles, and exhibition at zpub [link]
John Coulthart has writen about Sätty on his great blog feuilleton and in Strange Attractor Journal Vol. 2, which you can buy here.
Sätty @ I Want You magazine [link]
posters of/by Sätty @ Wolfgangs Vault [link]
album covers by Sätty 1, 2, 3, 4
more Sätty at the excellent blog The Cabinet of the Solar Plexus [link]
Prayer and Ode for Satty by Alan Cohen [link]
Sätty is Dead essay by Michael Bowen [link]
Visions of Frisco @worldcat @amazon; The Cosmic Bicycle @worldcat; Time Zone @worldcat; The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe @worldcat @amazon; The Annotated Dracula @worldcat, @amazon


glyphjockey said...

Damn! I haven't thought about Satty for ages! I had Time Zone as a kid......

bearskin rug said...

Great Find! I love all of them:)

Will said...

Wow, a great post.

At some point I'll be featuring Hoffmeister's collages for a Czech edition of Cendrar's "Sutter's Gold." They're similar to Satty's goldrush collages above... but not as good! (And I love Hoffmeister.)

John Coulthart said...

I keep intending to update that Sätty essay. After I'd written it I went to San Francisco with Jay Babcock and Richard Pleuger of Arthur Magazine where we met Sätty's fellow poster and collage artist, David Singer, and also Walter Madeiros who's a world authority on the psychedelic poster scene of the 1960s. Both provided invaluable details about Sätty's life and career, and Walter showed us pieces of artwork used to make some of the posters as well as the Goldrush pieces. David Singer, by the way, did the lettering on the Gandharva album cover.

Is that the only picture he did for the Annotated Dracula? I have that book but not the Sätty edition and always wondered (hoped) it was illustrated in full like the Poe book.

Also: Ted Owen's book, High Art, about psych posters, features a nice Sätty section. Text throughout that by Walter M., it's still the best book about that whole period.

joel. said...

@Lex10 thanks for the comment and the nice post @ PCL. Sätty seems like a great thing to have as a kid.

@NIKSIXTYEIGHT you are always so nice. thank you for comments/visits/etc

@Will awesome, i eagerly await more Hoffmeister. your last post on him blew my mind, one of my favorite posts anywhere and everywhere.

@John Coulthart thanks so much for posting, its a real honor. (if I remember correctly) there are several more illustrations of his in the Annotated Dracula - I will scan them and share soon. Thanks for the recommendation of High Art, from what I can see online/on amazon it looks incredible.
I also hope to get a copy of Visions of Frisco and maybe scan/share some of his Gold Rush works.

sroden said...

never heard of him, thanks for posting, this stuff is incredible, takes the weirdness of joseph cornells really late collages and ups the ante... great!

Laura Di Francesco said...

I adoore them,
simply adore.

Ben Cousins said...

What fantastic images! I particularly like the first three, which remind of some recent works by a Sydney (Australia) artist, Sandrine Levallois.

Laura Ottina said...

Uncommonly inspirational! Another wonderful find.

*please cite or link when reposting*