MOUNTAIN-ART project 2022
His larger commissioned works include the life-size nativity scenes in Filzmoos and Schladming and the playground with the giant ant Emma and the bear Bruno of the Dachstein-West Cable Car. Markus Pilz not only spends a lot of time in the mountains in his free time, but as the head of training for the Filzmoos mountain rescue service and a member of the avalanche warning commission, he is always close to them and draws inspiration from them.
In addition to Markus Pilz, many other international artists – in the course of the MOUNTAIN-ART project 2022 – will be inspired by the mountain world of Filzmoos. This international MOUNTAIN ART FESTIVAL takes place in the mountain village of Filzmoos for the second time this year.
In portrait – master carpenter & joiner, teacher and wood sculptor Markus Pilz
Markus Pilz – “He’s a real artist, a mountain lover, a funny guy and always up for a joke!” – that’s how the locals describe the native of Schladming, who has now lived in Filzmoos for over 20 years.
I was recently able to visit the master carpenter, teacher and wood sculptor at his home and interview him about his passion – working with wood.
Markus lives with his family in the Neuberg district of Filzmoos, in a very quiet location surrounded by beautiful nature, with plenty of space for his creativity. Upon entering the house, I am immediately convinced – Markus is a creative mind through and through. Numerous works of art decorate the house – his works are extraordinary and artistic.
“I am neither a carpenter nor a carver, but something in between, …”
… Markus says of himself.
“First of all I did an apprenticeship as a carpenter, then I even worked in glass and metal construction for a short time and finally, as a father, I became a stay-at-home dad for a while. In 2006, I became self-employed as an assembly carpenter to bring more flexibility and freedom into my working life. My interest in sculpture and art was awakened at the master school for carpentry in Hallstatt. I only started carving and painting a little later, when the first orders for commissioned work started coming in. I taught myself and that’s how I discovered my talent for sculpting. In the beginning, I designed wooden toys for acquaintances and family. I believed in my talent, but after my first commission, a life-size nativity scene and my first human figures, I was amazed at the result myself. My wife asked me at first if I would be able to manage it, but after this project she was convinced too!” Markus says with a grin on his face.
In the meantime, he receives a wide variety of requests, because he not only designs furniture, but also various figures in all sizes and shapes and – as can be admired at the Mountain Art project 2021 – his special works of art made of wood. In addition, he does “normal” carpentry work and also worked for 12 years as a teacher for woodworking in Tamsweg.
My profession & my vocation
“Have I found my vocation yet? In my head, yes – otherwise, well!”
I have the feeling with Markus that he is constantly reinventing himself, always has new ideas and with current artworks already has the next project in mind. He always goes through different creative phases.
With enthusiasm for his work, he leads me through his house, and you can tell immediately that his love for wood is very great. “The interesting thing for me about working with wood is that you don’t know what the tree looks like inside. It’s always a surprise.” No two trees are alike, each has its own character. Every tree is shaped by the patch of earth on which it grows.
The free spirit has realised many other projects and conjured up works of art for Filzmoos. To name a few more of his works: the Summit Game platform at the foot of the Bischofsmütze, illuminated wooden stars in the village centre, crowns for the Queen’s Trail, flame lamps and other figures at the Christmas Idyll in Filzmoos and much more.
I am sure: “Mountains & art go together perfectly”. The best thing is to convince yourself and combine this very special opportunity to discover and experience fascinating new insights and views of art in the midst of a unique natural landscape. The exhibitions can be visited free of charge or – even better – hiked.
You can admire more of Markus’ artwork again this year at the Christmas Idyll in the Hofalm. On the idyllic circular walk across the snow-covered alpine pastures around the Almsee Lake in the Hofalm area, you will experience the unforgettable magic of the Filzmoos Mountain Advent with an original Christmas atmosphere.
At the end of my interview, Markus actually gets a bit philosophical and says: “The way is the goal”. I think this statement suits him very well and we can look forward to seeing what new challenge he will take on next.
photo credits: O-mans_Filzmoos Tourismus, Markus Pilz, TVB Filzmoos_Coen Weesjes