John Muir, Mountaineer and "Father of the National Parks"
"You are not in the mountains,
the mountains are in you."
Summit Sculpture was founded by artist and Creative Director, Simon Gottschalk.
After establishing a career in advertising, Gottschalk spent two years living in the Savoie region of France, working across the Three Valleys, indulging his passion for skiing and the mountains. When work and family brought him back to the UK, he wanted to create something that would help evoke the memories of his favourite pistes in Courchevel.
Initial experiments with satellite imagery and digital topography proved frustrating: not only were key features of the landscape missing, but technology-led work lacked energy and warmth. For inspiration, Gottschalk turned to some of the most iconic (and prolific) mountain art: the original piste maps of Pierre Novat. Throughout his prolific maps Novat had showed how it is possible to go beyond a simple topography and map-making to create art that encapsulates the spirit of mountains.
Sculpting in clay allowed Gottschalk to exploit texture as a way of bringing to life the stark contrasts of snow and rock, pistes and forests. However, it was the move to bronze that took the sculptures to their ultimate level, allowing the final piece to juxtapose the gentle flow of each piste with the harshness of the rocks.
Summit Sculpture makes strictly limited edition castings: each bronze is hand-poured by an artist who spent 20 years working in leading bronze foundries. The process uses the labour-intensive, but highly detailed 'Lost Wax' casting method and ensures each sculpture is utterly faithful to the Gottschalk's original model, whilst also allowing for different finishes and patinas to be added.