Peter Frantz was born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania and subsequently entered a large, eclectic, extended family of artists and musicians. He attended the University of Notre Dame studying engineering before subsequently matriculating at Goddard College, earning a degree in art and design and attained his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He has been a professional artist, writer and educator his entire adult life. From 2010 to 2014 he taught on the faculty of Towson University in Baltimore and has been an Artist In Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for over 10 years.
He is the Founder and Executive Director of Fragile Peace, (www.fragilepeace.org) a non-profit organization engaged in using art, creativity, collaboration and education to work with at-risk populations to develop and empower small, indigenous, cross-cultural, interactive, creative problem-solving teams at home and abroad. Mr Frantz is also the co-founder and past Executive Director of Panzi Foundation USA (panzifoundation.org), a non-profit that addresses the conflict in the Congo and assists Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Kivu Province, DR. Mr. Frantz is also the primary artist and curator for a continuing series of exhibitions presented by FragilePeace entitled: “Peace Should not be This Fragile".
As a practicing artist his paintings and drawings tend to have their origins in the thought processes behind his three-dimensional art which employs multiple man-made and natural materials, such as roots, trees, glass and cast bronze, in combination with video, light and sound to stress the use of art as means of discovery of the authenticity of personal identity and the stories and myths that we surround it with. His writings are autobiographical by nature and many are illustrated.
I have been overtaken by a fable, but is it mine? We tell our stories, and they fill the sky with our art, our memories, our words, our thoughts and our dreams - the fundamental linkage to an age before and after. We bid goodbye to a part of ourselves by freeing intimacy with the knowledge that the transparency of telling will not return, but that is as it should be. This portrait of oneness may change with circumstance – though it underlies our myth.
I am exploring how our humanity emerges from the dissonance, working across various media including sculpture, painting, video, installation, geometry, concepts of human development, sounds, writing, even Morse code - it might be anything at this point - as I assemble the art interface, calling attention to the ever-present human condition. And, to answer this question for myself: do we create the myth as we go or do we adapt to the myth that has been written by us, perhaps even for us?
Life on the Möbius Strip
As we march into the tangible (adult) world from childhood, we know we leave behind some truths - some fading, misty, beckoning, elemental aspirations which beg us not to abandon them. They despair that we do and frown when we fail to return from our quest for maturity and its secular sidekick, objectivity. All things can exist when we believe they exist; they grow unsubstantial and untethered when we do not.
Objectivity and certainty has its place but it often exhibits a predisposition to eliminate imagination in response; in its most benign form it might generate dullness, at its most poisonous, extremism. Extremism in either direction is likely to do great harm, not the least by suspending belief in the realm of infinite possibility, that place where all things, and all answers, become promise.
I believe my life is first and always a conversation, a discourse with forces we neither see nor fully understand. Like stones hidden in a river these forces alter the currents of our lives.The ideal and essence that lives along the byways and paths of the space we cannot see but we know exists.
I strive to see those pathways or more precisely the trails left of those thoughts and ideas, definitions and songs, that sail along and touch us when we least expect it. I strive to summon it. I suspect that is a conceit. We are touched and that is the staggeringly complex and ultimately simple unfolding of the human condition; life on the möbius strip.
The Abyss of Certainty
Speaking without seeing
Gaze hung across the sky
Voices like echoes
No apparent structure, no visible person
No minute left unaccounted for
Seconds fly by, they need to be filled
Silence is not golden
At least that kind
The void that binds
Lets us dance across the pathways
Of a million stars that seek only to document
We are never alone
If we share only a single moment
Of our lives with another
But how can that be?
The veil that separates what is and what must be
the wind blows through it
Yet hard as diamond to the minds that dismiss it
And struggle to burrow into the abyss of certainty
How sad this fate, how soulful this mission
To prove solidity to the ground
We watch as the world chants
And elephants dance
As fragments of our life seek the heavens
With or without our permission
Monkeys look at us
In faces thousands of years old
That mysterious glare
We never think to ask
What they call themselves
Or why they look at all
But something is born in that instant
Something departs, an exit
Becoming part of everything, seemingly nothing
We feel it
We dismiss it
We look away and are taken by the next thing
Something is always looming
We don’t sing enough
The songs of the byways
Where all our dreams lie