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Mosaics, oils and rowing on Hood Canal - The family of the late Seabeck artist Brad Kauzlaric plans to collect his work into a book.
Fish, channel markers, stations of the cross and trees. These are just a sampling of the different items Brad Kauzlaric portrayed in his oil paintings and mosaics during his time as an artist in Seabeck.
Struck by colorectal cancer, Kauzlaric died in April 2007 at the age of 71 but left behind many pieces that one of his four children, Clayton Kauzlaric, is currently cataloging to compile into a book. Clayton Kauzlaric expects to finish the writing and gathering of artwork in the next month and to have the book out by the summer. He estimates the book to include several hundred of his father’s work.
“It’s just a nice way to bring everything together,” Clayton Kauzlaric, 46, said Tuesday. “There has never been a very good visual survey of his work.” A book would give a chance to showcase his work to people that may not be familiar with it, he added.
As a regional artist, most of Brad Kauzlaric’s pieces have not strayed too far from home. One of his mosaics is at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and another at St. Vincent de Paul in Bremerton. Clayton Kauzlaric knows of a piece that is in Alaska and though many remain in the Puget Sound area, the task of gathering everything has been a challenge at times. He began working on this project shortly after his father’s death, beginning to photograph major works from the house in the summer of 2007.
“It’s sort of complicated by the fact that he was casual,” Clayton Kauzlaric said. “He wouldn’t keep a record of it, when selling. Some-times you’d get beer money.”
Brad Kauzlaric was born in Eagle River, Wisconsin in 1936 and he and his family moved to Kitsap County in 1949. As a young man, he studied art from Harrison Blass at Olympic College in Bremerton. In those classes, he met and became friends with Ken Lundemo in the mid-1950s. It was a commercial art program where students were obligated to take a variety of art classes including lettering and stage design, Lundemo said. Kauzlaric found his forte in oil painting and mosaics.
“He was just good at it,” said Lundemo, 79, who lives in Seabeck and still produces ceramics. “He had a good imagination. He tended to lean toward surrealism.”
Clayton Kauzlaric, who is a video game designer for Microsoft Game Studios, said his father admired the work of Salvador Dali and would devote a lot of time working on a single piece. Sometimes a canvas stayed on his easel for two years, he added.
“Paintings are like a good book — you revisit them from time to time,” said DeAnna Kauzlaric Kieffer, Brad Kauzlaric’s wife, on one of his common sayings.
The man who was often seen wearing a beret and marked his studio floor with tape so his chair would not move, drew upon his surroundings to create pieces by painting still life forms, as well as gathering shells from the beach to use as part of his mosaics, Kauzlaric Kieffer said. He had an interest in natural history, she added. He also featured found objects in his art from his day job as a garbage truck driver in Bremerton, added Clayton Kauzlaric.
“He provided a counter balance in the local art community because he didn’t do typical things,” Kauzlaric Kieffer said. And he didn’t care what most people thought of his work, she added.
Aside from his love for art, Brad Kauzlaric also kept a garden in his yard and enjoyed rowing on Hood Canal.
“I thought he left us a little early. He was still vigorous and was producing art,” Lundemo said. “He left his mark. He left things behind that people will remember him by.”