early | new directions | in victoria
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Cross-section of the first plastic
refrigerator door gasket

New Directions...

Through physical education Spreitz developed a fascination of how body movements could be broken down into sequences and each one studied as if it were made in slow motion. His work in this area earned him a coaching position at the University of Graz. In 1948 he was promoted to the position of Assistant Coach to the Girls' Olympic Team of Austria. As Assistant Coach, Spreitz met and coached Olympic bronze medallist Ina Mayer von Bojan, whom he married in 1953.

In 1950, during his Olympic coaching career, Spreitz acquired a 16 millimetre movie camera, which, he convinced the team officials, he would use for training purposes. With this camera, filming the European track and field events in Brussels, Spreitz began to teach himself the skills of motion film production.

Instructions for a Falling Box
by Karl Spreitz - collage (1975)

After immigrating to Canada in 1952, Spreitz took on a variety of jobs in various industries. Of these early positions, Spreitz made his biggest impact as a plastic extruder at General Tire in Welland, Ontario. There, in collaboration with rubber chemist Jim Brown, Spreitz designed the first successful plastic refrigerator door gasket, a device still in use today by manufacturers.

In 1957, Spreitz moved to Santa Barbara, California to attend the Brooks Institute of Photography. After completing his program at the Brooks Institute, he moved to Prince George, BC, where he worked for one year as a newspaper photographer. It was not until the 1960s, when Spreitz moved to Victoria, BC, however, that his artistic style developed and his career as an artist was realized.

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