Sylvania resident Michael Goettner has worked as a designer and as an artist for many years, but he can still recall trying to resist it when he was younger.
“I’ve been an artist all my life, and it’s something that runs in the family genes, I guess,” he said. “I studied art in high school seriously. I continued on with it in college. I fought it for awhile.”
Still uncertain about his artistic future, Mr. Goettner graduated from college and was drafted by the Army during the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, he did combat art, chronicling his war life and his comrades. After the military, he lived in Lima, Ohio, where he found a job that would change the rest of his career.
“I fell into industrial design,” he said. “And that kind of dictated the rest of my career, because the art style for industrial design is very precise, very exacting, and that kind of set the tone for my style.”
Today, he is an automotive artist who sells his work nationally and locally. His art has been displayed in Italy and Paris and in the Automobile Hall of Fame.
This year, he designed and painted a mural at Nice Car Company in Ottawa Lake, Mich., just across the state border from Sylvania. The 60-foot-by-20-foot work features landmarks from in and around northwest Ohio.
He started on the project by “happenstance,” he said. An acquaintance with whom he exhibits his artwork was at another show and ran into Nice Car Company owner Dave Lawrenz. It was suggested that Mr. Goettner take on the mural because he lives in Sylvania.
He worked with Mr. Lawrenz on ideas for incorporating an automotive theme with a downtown Toledo theme.
“Our car dealership is indoor. We had a wall that just looked like it would lend itself for a mural,” Mr. Lawrenz said. “We wanted to have something that represented both the automotive industry in this part of the country and Toledo.”
Mr. Goettner said painting the mural took him about nine and a half weeks. He used latex housepaint, an unusual medium for him.
“That isn’t the typical way to do a wall mural. People would probably use acrylic paint. I thought I would try this and it worked out really well. It was kind of an experiment on my part.” He said being an automotive artist stems from his interest in cars and technical themes.
Mr. Lawrenz said the mural makes a nice addition to his company, which has been in business locally for 37 years. “It just adds to the ambience of the place,” he said.
Becoming a transportation artist has been one of Mr. Goettner’s newest evolutions.
“Now I’m doing boats as well,” he said, adding that he travels the country for auto shows. His work can be found at Air Force facilities worldwide, and he is a military artist with the Army National Guard.