One could say that Peter Manschot's art career all began with a painting kit gifted to him for Christmas or his birthday in 1962.
“We took a trip and drove from Birmingham to Seattle for the World Fair, going through the mountains,” Manschot recalled. “I started painting landscapes and mountainscapes. I was still in elementary school at Holy Name. My mom saw them and reinforced it.”
So did his father, an advertising executive who would give Manschot “tips on shading and other tips. My dad would bring home art before they were announced – it would spur my creativity. My dad wanted me to be a creative director because he said artists are a dime a dozen.”
Instead, he went into education, working as an art teacher for 39 years, primarily for Birmingham Public Schools, where he taught at most of the schools in the district.
“I taught all 13 grades, adult classes, summer workshops and two ancillaries at Wayne State University,” he said.
Manschot received his BFA from Michigan State University and his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art under Carl Toth for photography.
Manschot's art work has been an evolution, and he currently refers to himself as “an analogue photo copier collage artist.” This latest series of artwork, begun in 2018, combines photography and a photocopier at his home in Novi, where he fuses images into new, unusual and unconventional images.
“As I travel about I take photos with my phone. Those pictures get transferred to my computer,” Manschot explained. “To use them more creatively, I use the copier and make a print. A lot of my works are in color, but some in shadows are in black and white.
“When I started this body of work in 2018, we had come back from a trip to Spain, traveling all over the country, but especially a trip to the island of Mallorca. I didn't know what to expect but I discovered that's where (Joan) Miro did a lot of his work and built not one, but two museums. I did a lot of water image photography from the rooftop of the hotel,” he said. “Since then, my work has continued to evolve and change.”
In a remarkable coincidence, he discovered while working on his first series of work, “I actually ran across a series of experiments I had done at Seaholm in 1988-1991,” he recalled. “I was teaching a course I created called 'Art and Advanced Technology.' It included traditional elements, graphic materials, rub offs, special materials the students could use, photography and we had the use of a copier that could do black and white and color –but only one color at a time, as well as pioneering the use of computers (in the class), on an Apple 2GS, which was the first color Apple.”
Manschot said he found some of his early prints from that time and began adding elements to them to create new abstract images. “And that was the beginning of this new body of work.”
Now, the creative juices keep flowing. “I keep evolving with new ideas. Since I have works in my computer, I discovered I can print another and flip it so it becomes mirrored – and then that leads to other creative ideas.”
His new series of images have led to shows, where the Brother Rice alum, class of '66, had a one-man show at the Novi City Hall atrium, as well as at Detroit Artists Market in Detroit, and on his site on Instagram.
Story: Lisa Brody
Photo: Laurie Tennent