Ivaan Kotulsky 1944 - 2008
Sculptor, Jeweller, Photographer
One could say that Ivaan Kotulsky’s place of birth in a Nazi forced labour camp near Cologne, Germany was a difficult beginning. After four years as refugees in a Displaced Persons camp, his family was sponsored by a blacksmith and immigrated to Smoky Lake, Alberta in Canada.
On moving to Toronto in 1951, the Kotulsky family settled in downtown Toronto. Their first address was 155 DeGrassi Street, where they rented a room from a Ukrainian lady before buying a house at 42 Wyatt Avenue. At the time, the area’s name bounced between Cabbagetown and Regent Park. Young Ivaan loved exploring and playing near the Don River.
While attending Harbord Collegiate, he became interested in photography and joined the Camera Club. He went on to study Photographic Arts at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. In no time, he became an award-winning photographer. As Chief Photographer at Maclean Hunter Publishing, he photographed the likes of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Queen Elizabeth II, The Beatles and many more remarkable people.
Mr. Kotulsky never left home without his camera. He had a collection of almost 200 old cameras from the forties, fifties and sixties. In documenting the lives of street people, he captured the essence and beauty of ordinary people. This collection of photos has been donated to the City of Toronto Archives.
While on assignment in Western Canada, he visited the blacksmith who had sponsored his family many years before. The year was 1970, and it proved to be a turning point for him, as he began to experiment with metalsmithing. By 1973, he decided to turn all his attention to metal art, making jewellery and sculpting. Being inspired by artists of the Renaissance, his objects were mainly of gold and silver, and his own blend of metal.
1995 was a special year for Mr. Kotulsky. He not only opened a retail store on Queen Street West, but he also married Eya Donald Greenland. Her engagement ring was not a giant green emerald, but instead, a shard of green glass from a discarded Seven Up bottle.
He saw the beauty in this chip of glass, which like so many of his objects became works of art.
In 2000, Ivaan unfortunately experienced a series of strokes and, by 2005, he was unable to continue working on his own. His wife became his assistant and worked with his original moulds and designs until his death in 2008. To this day, Eya continues to produce his works and operate his studio, Atelier Ivaan.
Ivaan Kotulsky was a multi-talented artist who had a life-long love of imagery, molten metal, and the making of jewellery.
He is buried in the Necropolis.