Harold L. Pastorius

Harold Pastorius died of a brain tumour in 1995 at the age of 58. His life is celebrated as an award winning long time Laguna Beach resident, known for his monumental metal sculptures, yet he was proficient in a broad range of art forms.

Hal always wanted to expand his mind, spirit and art by doing things and not choosing to following the easiest path. His wife, Kay, noted “nowhere was that search for fresh challenges more evident than in his approach to sculpture. From conception through execution, each work offered new perceptions of the way we experience space, form and time. A Pastorius sculpture represents the testing of limits with hard-won mastery”.

Art in Public Places: Active participant and consultant

The City of Brea recognised his talent early in his career, when they championed “Art in Public Places” policies in California.  Through this program Brea acquired 12 monumental works of art by Harold Pastorius.  Seeing public benefit accrue to a city which provided an art experience daily to people resulting from Art in Public Places, the City of Paramount acquired 7 of Hal’s monumental sculptures during their 1987 rejuvenation project.  Phoenix, Arizona; Brookings, South Dakota; Whichita Falls, South Dakota; Cincinnati, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and City of Orange, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Cal State Fullerton, UCLA, Laguna Beach, Oxnard, Palm Springs, Riverside, and Santa Ana, in California are just some of the places where one can view a Pastorius Sculpture.

Pastorius was know in the community for his writing, engineering, set design, and civic leadership skills, which he performed with distinction.  Active in California art circles, he served on the board of Artist Equity in Los Angeles, Orange County Arts Alliance, and Pomona Valley Civic Theatre.  As chairman of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission, Laguna Beach Cultural Commission, Orange County Arts Alliance Disciplines Committee, and Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival, his contributions to the arts extended well beyond his own creations.

Laguna’s Sawdust Festival: first president

Pastorius was the first president of Laguna’s Sawdust Festival at its present site in Laguna Canyon. He was involved in the purchase of the land, making it possible for hundreds of local artists to make a living selling their art. The 50th year of the Sawdust Festival, mid 2016, is testimony to the magnitude of his gift to the community and art in general due to his implementing a vision. He lectured for the Getty Foundation and hosted thousands of children at his Laguna Canyon studio over his 35 year career as an artist.

Not a one dimensional figure, Harold was well known in the boating community.  As an avid boater he, and his wife Kay, took their 32 foot Bayliner, Spice Sea, on three voyages to Mexico, logged 10,000 miles and wrote numerous articles about cruising on a small power boat.  Hal taught weather classes to dozens of boaters and was affectionately known as “weatherman Hal”.

In spite of being diagnosed and treated for a malignant brain tumor in 1993, he chose to fully live life by departed for Mexico soon after his surgery.  His indomitable spirit allowed him to enjoy another year of cruising, while collaborating on articles for “Sea Magazine”.

Pastorius was born in 1936 in Vancouver, British Columbia; cancer took him 58 years later.

Art Detective: searching for Pastorius Art

As an Art Detective you could collect a reward for information regarding a couple of missing Pastorius Sculptures; or provide information on location and / or condition of other pieces by contacting us.