Ernst Gramatzki

Ernst Gramatzki is a world renowned artist, sculptor, potter, painter and poet. Some of his work is in the Smithsonian Institute in D.C. as well as in art galleries in both the U.S and Europe. Ernst was born in Koenigsverg, Germany, in the Russian sector near the Baltic Sea. The area is also referred to as Kaliningrad and is the birthplace of philosopher Emanuel Kant. His interest in art is the result of two Hungarian art students taken in as borders by his family following the Hungarian revolution. One, who is still well known throughout Europe, was a potter. "I shared half of the garage with him," said Ernst, who attended the School of Art in Hamburg. It was in 1961 that Ernst immigrated to the United States, taking a position with the Milwaukee Public Museum. He has lived in Rochester for nearly 30 years. Each room of his home is dedicated to a different art form. A room at the top of the stairs is filled with oil paints and multi-paneled works that are still in progress. In the basement, wet clay sits ready to be molded by inspired hands. Ernst still does work for museums, which sometimes directs where he focuses his energy each day. "I try to juggle the things I have to do with the things I want to do," he said. "One is always at the expense of the other. "I like to blow things up that people are too busy to look at," he said of his oil paintings. "You have to sit and look at things. You don't need to name things. That limits people in their imagination and what they would like it to be." An entire painting may be devoted to the stains on the bottom of a coffee mug, or a close-up view of a twig. Ernst said his inspiration can come from anything around him. He found a use for a dried-up grapefruit by using it as a mold for a clay stamp. Nothing, including an old corn cob, is overlooked as an artistic tool. "I dream lots of things. It's like turning on the TV as soon as I hit the sack," he said, working the surface of a clay toad he had sculpted the following day, using a walnut to stamp out some eyes. Most of his pottery takes the form of covered jars, each of which has its own number and entry in a journal that includes a sketch and to whom the piece were sold. The covers of the jars have small bronze sculptures for handles. Recently, Ernst has shifted gears and has been creating dozens of clay bird houses that will hang at the Hoyt House and a few large, hollow toads for use as toad habitats. Visitors to the upcoming Historic Hoyt House Designer Showhouse and Gardens event will be able to see Ernst at the pottery wheel in one room of the home.

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