Beautiful mountain views, West Bragg Creek’s sprawling trail system and one happy gallery dog who could come along for the afternoon. However unlikely the setting, it is where I had the first of many conversations with an incredibly humble human being with a big heart. Meet Vienna-based Bernhard Cociancig; a remarkable man, and an artist on a mission.
Bernhard Cociancig’s artistic career is an inspiring one. As a young adult, he already had an interest in art and graphical design, yet initially chose an entirely different path in life. After a full career as an executive in the petroleum industry, Bernhard decided it was time to pursue an official fine arts education. It is during these years that he found his voice and purpose; it is here where he found the perfect medium to communicate his message.
A second career, his reckoning
Bernhard: “Way back, when I was making choices for a major in University, I was already interested in art and graphical design. However, a friend of mine at the time advised me against an artistic career. There was no money to be made in the arts, or so he said.” That was it for Bernhard, at the time. He ended up in a corporate career, which took him all over the world, and in a way planted the seed for what he is currently working towards.
Although Bernhard continued to paint occasionally over the years, with the odd exhibition, his enormous talent became mostly dormant. Only to resurface after Bernhard’s retirement, when he was admitted into the Vienna School of Art. This time around, creating art became his voice. It became his way of communicating world issues he feels strongly about. Like a second awakening, he feels now is the time to get even with his career in the fossil energy industry; his reckoning.
Bernhard is developing new networks and is successful with his art. “Starting an entirely new career is a lot of work. But it is so much fun and very rewarding in many ways.”
Art has the ability to raise awareness
For the past year and a half, Bernhard’s main focus for his art has been to address social and environmental issues. Like wildlife conservation, climate change, and the refugee situation in Europe, to name a few. Since he considers himself a multi-disciplinary artist, Bernhard addresses these various issues in an appropriate way. Bernhard: “I try to deploy the best-suited technique: paintings, drawings, print graphics, graphic design, or installations.”
Whatever medium he chooses, he uses his art to communicate the problems and the potential difficulties that may arise for mankind. Cociancig: “Art, in all its variations, can be a vehicle to communicate a message. I like to get people thinking through my art, create some kind of talking point.”
Art therapy in health care
Multiple times a week, Bernhard offers art therapy in his community. Whether for comatose patients, patients with MS, or suffering from addictions, Bernhard generously volunteers his time and expertise. As he points out, art not only functions as the carrier of a message, it can actually have a healing effect.
“It is all so very rewarding. I like to help with the small abilities that I have; with my art. I have received so much in my life, now I enjoy giving back to society.”
With that, we end our conversation. For now, that is. Bernhard has promised me that I will have the opportunity to sit in one of his art therapy sessions with comatose patients when visiting his studio in Austria. He has explained some of the effects art can have on them and it absolutely intrigues me. This is so wonderful and should be shared. More to follow after my visit later this year.
Interested in Bernhard’s art on your wall?
Interested in Bernhard Cociancig’s work on your wall? You can browse his artwork on his profile page. Not finding what you had in mind, but like his style? Feel free to contact us with your special wishes. We are happy to help you find what you are looking for.