It all started with a bat.

The bat dates from 1971, when Wolf Gast was six years old. Although it looks more like a fox that has grown legs and wings, this etching marks the start of a remarkable artistic development. “It was the time my great-uncle Fritz Springer (known as Fris) allowed me to produce my first work of art in his workshop in Tübingen. It was fascinating, because my uncle was already a well-respected painter and graphic artist,” recalls Wolf Gast.

The great-uncle is a well-known artist.

Gast’s great-uncle used Resopal instead of copper as the material for his printing plates. Not only cheaper, but also harder, it enabled Fritz Springer to print longer runs with each plate. “It has to be said that, as a six-year-old, I found it very difficult to produce enough strength to scratch out the image with an iron needle. But, having finished it, and imagining myself as a little vampire, I was, of course, extremely proud of my bat,” laughs Wolf Gast.

Art plays a key role in the life of Wolf Gast.

The great-uncle, too, was satisfied. Born in Stuttgart in 1912, the artist left behind hundreds of graphic prints, as well as pencil and ink drawings, upon his death in 2008. Many of them are today on display in the town museum in Tübingen. “My great-uncle had a strong influence on me. I’ve been preoccupied with art all my life, especially with art on paper. I also like working with pencil, watercolor and charcoal,” says Wolf Gast.

Graphic prints become a passion.

During his studies, Wolf Gast also turned his attention to computer graphics and digital imagery. “It wasn’t until 2011 that I came back to graphic printing. As my great-uncle was unfortunately already dead by that time, I studied under various artists in an effort to learn the craft of the various printing techniques, such as linocuts and woodcuts. But I soon realized that my true passion was screen printing,” explains Wolf Gast.

Andy Warhol was a role model.

His role models naturally include his great-uncle. “He used color very sparingly. This is reflected in my own work. I, too, adopt a cautious approach to color and use it selectively,” says Wolf Gast. He also admits to having been greatly inspired by Andy Warhol. “There’s no getting away from him if you’re working in the Pop Art genre. Of course, there are parallels between his ‘Cars’ series from 1986 and my own automotive art. But I also like the work of Robert Indiana, because it is so reduced and makes very deliberate use of color.”

Automotive art made in Stuttgart.

Wolf Gast produces his screen prints – so-called serigraphs – under the tagline “Automotive art made in Stuttgart”. “They’re all made by hand. One run usually lasts just nine sheets per theme,” explains Wolf Gast. First, he produces the basic design on the Mac. Next, he breaks it down into the different color levels. A film is made of each color level and then exposed onto a special screen. Finally, these templates are developed.

Handwork is the key.

The exposed areas on the template later mask the paper, allowing the ink to penetrate only through the open areas. Wolf Gast uses a squeegee to push the ink by hand through the screen. The ink must then dry. “Normally, I use between three and six screens,” explains Wolf Gast. “With each extra screen and print, of course, there’s a growing probability that something will go wrong. So you have to be very patient and careful.”

Wolf Gast's interest in art is diverse.

Wolf Gast is capable of producing all prints up to A2 in size in his own workshop. For larger pieces of work, he avails himself of the facilities at the “Künstlerhaus” art institution in Stuttgart, of which he is a member. His passion is not just for automobiles from Stuttgart, but also for other subjects. “In the last 10 years, I’ve turned my attention to other things, such as nude drawing. If you can master that, you’ll learn a lot about the law of proportions,” he says. Wolf Gast is also interested in architecture, landscapes and portraits.

Out of a love of classic cars.

Yet classic automobiles are his true passion. “It’s been like that ever since my first car, an open-top Volkswagen Bug. And growing up in the Rems Valley, in Schorndorf and the Stuttgart region, I was greatly influenced by the Mercedes-Benz brand – simply because it has dominated the streetscape for the last 50 years. I’ve always been a fan of Stuttgart engineering skill. And, for me, that includes the open-top Bug, the prototype of which was of course produced in the Porsche family villa on Feuerbacher Weg.”

Mercedes-Benz classics from every era.

Wolf Gast is passionate about Mercedes-Benz automobiles from every era. “The advantage is that Mercedes-Benz has always attached great importance to beautiful design. So my spectrum ranges from the Daimler motorized carriage through popular classic automobiles to the current Formula One racing car,” he explains. The main demand, he adds, is for icons such as the 300 SL or widespread classics such as the R 107. “Incidentally, I recently bought a 1956 Vespa. This Italian beauty could well serve as a model for my art work…”

Professionally, Gast is a developer of sales software.

A graduate in business information technology, Wolf Gast is responsible at Daimler for the design and development of sales software. Having acquired his first PC as early as 1984, he developed a graphical user interface simultaneously with Windows 1.0. “That user interface was used by the municipal power utility in Fellbach until Microsoft Windows was a mature product and had overcome its teething troubles,” reflects the software developer, not without pride.

Art as a balance to work.

For Gast, art is the ideal balance to his work. “Whereas the creative element of software is very small in relation to the total time taken to develop it, the situation with my art is precisely the reverse. It’s the idea and the concept that require the most time. Also, developing software is teamwork, while my art is something I do on my own. I can hardly imagine a more perfect balance.”

Mercedes-Benz Accessories – designed by Wolf Gast.

The work of Wolf Gast is now exhibited beyond the limits of Stuttgart and can be acquired in various galleries. Information is available online at The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach also has a permanent show with changing exhibits. The online Mercedes-Benz Shop offers official Mercedes-Benz Classic products with graphic artwork by Wolf Gast, for example in the “Heritage” series.

No end in sight.

So what about the future? “I’m keen to experiment with new techniques,” says Wolf Gast. “From collage through relief printing to bronze-cast sculpting – I see plenty of potential.” His youngest daughter – he is in a “happy relationship” and the father of three children aged between 9 and 21 – already likes working with him in his workshop. So more works of art can be expected from the Gast family.