All of us here at SJAC were saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Greg Klassen. We are very grateful for the outstanding art he shared with us and especially the chance to enjoy his company. We send our deepest condolences to his loving family.
Greg Klassen was born just outside of Cologne, Germany as the third of three sons into a Diplomat family in Canada’s Foreign Services. Moving around Europe every couple of years, Greg was exposed at an early age to diverse cultures, languages etc. This rich experience – and the accompanying sense of cultural dislocation – stayed with him and informed his artistic explorations (in particular his interest in the notion of “Duality”). Early on Greg showed great interest in the arts, drawing nature at every opportunity. He got his first camera at 14 and by the age of 16 was teaching himself Ansel Adams’s ‘Zone System’ in his basement darkroom.
Greg was encouraged to follow a career in the sciences and he eventually graduated with a PhD in Marine Biogeography from the University of Toronto. But his love for the arts (photography in particular) never left him. During his time as a student Greg paid his way through school as a scientific illustrator and he spent hundreds of hours photographing microscopic specimens. It was during this time that Greg recognized an increasing sense of internal duality emerging from the building tension between his artistic and scientific directions.
In the early 1990’s Greg and his wife moved to New Brunswick as part of a life-style choice. In 2006 Greg participated in a workshop with Freeman Patterson which changed forever his creative direction. Since then Greg has been honing his photography, including the use of visual metaphors in his explorations.
In 2012 Greg and his family – including wife, two children, one cat, two dogs, and 8 goats – moved to Salt Spring Island. They are now living in the South End and enjoying the challenges of developing a new circle of friends and establishing a professional presence. Greg is working hard at reestablishing his arts practice in this vibrant and energizing community.
After an ~30 year carrier as a scientist, Greg earned a Diploma in Visual Arts from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2009; in 2010 he was named Emerging Artist of the Year by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and in 2012 he graduated with a Masters of Applied Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Greg has participated in over 30 group and solo exhibits. His work can be found in numerous public and private collections in Canada and abroad.