William Paul Gaetjens was born in Long Beach, CA, in 1946, to a family with a long tradition of working in metal. An early interest in art led to a creative mastery of the medium, with studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts and The DeYoung Museum School. In the 1970’s, he worked as an iron worker on the Alaskan Pipeline. This real world experience influences his art today.
His signature metal sculptures reflect his work ethic as well as his nomadic past, with each piece in a series building on to the next, mapping a new uncharted territory.
These three-dimensional forms are deliberately raw and rhythmic, echoing ancient form and primitive language. As individual works of art, each piece serves as a blueprint that can only be fully appreciated when subjectively filtered through one’s own experience, intelligence and imagination.
An avid reader and art history maven, you can often find him engrossed in science fiction, a good murder mystery, or conducting research for his next work. Admirers of his art are aware that the artist has been on a sabbatical from visual art while working on a research paper. This early “Thought Landscape”, from the artist’s “Progressions” series documenting his body of work, seems germane to the topic: