Sätty (Wilfried Podriech) was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1939. As a child he played in the ruins of the city, which was heavily bombed during World War Two. After three years of apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, he worked in Canada, then moved to San Francisco in 1961. For a few years he worked as a steward on the Pacific cruise ships of the Matson Line, and later as a heating and ventilating systems designer.
In San Francisco he lived in North Beach, and associated with artists and bohemians of the Beat Generation. Since childhood he had demonstrated artistic potential. In 1966, inspired by the openness and creativity of San Francisco’s emergent Hippie culture, he began making pictorial collages. Some of these were sold as poster size prints, which were then very popular. He became a prolific artist, concerned with fine technique and with expression of the broadest range of human experience. He intended his art to engage the imagination and counteract the pernicious stimulus-response programming of media advertising.
Sätty created many colorful artworks and lithographic prints, and hundreds of black and white collages. During the 1970s many were used as illustrations in both the counter culture and establishment periodicals. He produced two collage books, The Cosmic Bicycle and Time Zone, a pictorial allegory. He created illustrations for the comprehensive treatise, The Annotated Dracula and for The Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe, a book of stories he selected. During the late 1970s until his death in 1982, he produced numerous collages inspired by events in San Francisco’s often dramatic, unruly history, from the Gold Rush to the 1890s. Many of these occasionally bizarre images have recently been published in Visions of Frisco, by Regent Press, Berkeley.
In a review of Sätty’s art, S.F. Chronicle art critic Thomas Albright stated, “His work evidenced his Germanic roots with a somber, dreamlike realm of utopian, surrealist fantasy spiced by disarming accents of the bizarre and grotesque.” His art has been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the National Museum of Art, Belgrade; and the National Museum, Warsaw.
by Walter Medeiros, The Archive of Counter Culture Art.
All Images are copyright “© walter medeiros/satty estate 2009.”
Click on images to enlarge.