Oliver Staeuber, a Swiss/Chilean artist born in 1980, developed a keen interest in the visual arts while studying architecture in 1999. He currently resides in Bern, Switzerland, where he has established himself as both an architect and an artist.
Staeuber's art is centered on the depiction of natural landscapes, animals, and traditional rituals, which he utilizes to examine the intricate relationship between humanity and nature. He explores the direct impact of human actions on nature and the corresponding reaction of nature. To achieve this, he employs a variety of techniques, including oil, acrylic, spray, oil pastel pencils, and watercolors, skillfully employing light and color to evoke a range of emotions.
The artist describes his creative process as dynamic, oscillating between realism and abstraction, and often drawing inspiration from his own introspective thoughts. His art studio is located in Liebefeld, Bern, and his work has been showcased in private collections throughout Argentina, Chile, Spain, and Switzerland.
What motivated you to pursue art and become an artist? Was it a specific event, feeling, or experience that sparked your passion?
During my childhood years, I lived in a region of Chilean Patagonia that was known for its heavy rainfall. Despite the gloomy weather, I found solace in the simple act of drawing or painting. It became a beloved pastime that allowed me to while away the hours when I was unable to play outside. As I grew older, I faced a number of difficult challenges, including the loss of loved ones. During these trying times, I found that art provided a sense of comfort and healing that I couldn't find elsewhere. To this day, I continue to turn to art as a way of coping with the complexities of life.
May I inquire about your artistic background? I am curious to know which techniques and subjects you have explored thus far.
In 2007, I had the honor of graduating from Universidad Mayor de Santiago de Chile with a degree in architecture. Throughout my academic journey, I acquired a vast range of skills, including technical drawing, human figure drawing, and spatial configuration. Moreover, I had the opportunity to take elective courses, such as watercolour painting, which allowed me to explore my artistic side further.
My passion for painting started at the young age of 16 when a family friend introduced me to oil painting. Since then, I have been dedicating my time to honing my skills in this area.
As an artist, I often have multiple ideas for paintings simultaneously, and I usually work on two to five projects at the same time. However, some works require a break for me to digest and complete them effectively. I may even stop painting a piece for up to two years before returning to it and finishing it optimally. This approach ensures that each of my paintings receives the attention and care it deserves, resulting in an exceptional final product.
Can you tell me what sets your artwork apart from others and makes it unique? Specifically, what are the three aspects that differentiate your work?
As an artist, I pride myself in my unique approach to painting. I utilize multiple layers and techniques in my works, incorporating a diverse range of materials such as oil, acrylic, spray, wax pencil, and watercolor. This allows me to create intricate and textured pieces that truly stand out. What's more, I constantly challenge myself to explore new themes and ideas within my art, and draw inspiration from the world around me. Each day brings fresh perspectives and opportunities for me to grow as an artist, and I am passionate about pushing the boundaries of what is possible with my craft.
What is the source of your inspiration?
My love for art is a driving force that never fails to inspire me. There's something about creating that fills me with joy and a sense of calm that's hard to replicate elsewhere. When my mind is filled with ideas and thoughts, art is a way for me to physically express them without needing too much preparation. It's a freeing experience that allows me to let go of any negative emotions that may be weighing me down, such as sorrow, anguish, and stress. In fact, I find that it's often more effective than seeing a psychologist, as the act of creating allows me to process my emotions in a unique and personal way. The benefits of art are truly immeasurable.
Can you describe your artistic approach and what emotions or reactions you hope to inspire in those who view your work?
My artistic work is primarily centered around capturing the essence of natural landscapes, animals, and traditional customs, with a particular focus on exploring the intricate relationship between mankind and the environment. Through my art, I aim to highlight the direct impact of human actions on nature, and how it can affect the characters who inhabit these spaces. To achieve this, I employ a range of artistic techniques such as oil painting, acrylics, spray painting, oil pastel pencils, and watercolors, which allow me to experiment with the interplay between light and color, and the emotions they evoke. My creative process is dynamic, as I often oscillate between realism and abstraction, depending on the subject matter at hand. Additionally, my artistic expression often reflects on melancholic themes, which I attempt to convey through my canvases.
Pacific Nro 17
Acrylic on Canvas, 2020
60 x 150 cm
How do you create your works? Is it a spontaneous process or do you go through a long preparatory process which involves technical aspects and inspiration from art classics or other sources?
In my artistic process, the techniques I use dictate how I approach each piece. For oil paintings, I begin with carefully preparing the canvas to ensure the surface is smooth and ready to accept the paint. I then take time to study the subject matter and carefully select the colors I will use. From there, I work in layers, building depth and texture as the painting progresses. As the work takes shape, I continuously make adjustments to achieve the desired effect, which can take up to six months to complete.
Acrylic paintings, on the other hand, require less preparation than oil paintings. I start with an empty canvas and mix the colors I will use for the piece ahead of time. The process is much faster than oil painting and typically takes no longer than a week to complete. The result is a vibrant and striking image that can be displayed as soon as it's finished.
Watercolor paintings are a different story altogether. They require a different approach and can be done quickly, usually between half and two hours. I like to create watercolor pieces while I'm traveling by train or during my holidays, as they are easy to pack and require minimal supplies. Despite their quick creation time, the results can be stunning and capture the essence of the subject matter in a delicate and beautiful way.
Do you have a specific work technique that you use? If yes, could you kindly explain it?
In my oil painting process, I tend to utilize the Flemish painting technique. This particular method involves utilizing a single layer of oil paint that is thinned with terpentine, followed by subsequent layers of pure oil paint.
The initial layer, which is thinned with terpentine, is used primarily for outlining the drawing and adding highlights. In addition, this layer provides a subtle indication of color that helps to establish the overall tone of the painting.
Once this initial layer is complete, subsequent layers of pure oil paint are applied. These layers are used to effectively depict the desired chromatic effect, allowing for a sense of depth and texture to be achieved. By building up layers of pure oil paint, the painting gains a level of richness and complexity that is not achievable through other techniques. Overall, the Flemish painting technique is a highly effective method for creating beautiful, nuanced oil paintings.
Do you incorporate any innovative elements in your work? Please elaborate on which ones you utilize.
I find myself pondering whether there are any novel ideas left to be unearthed, yet I am convinced that I have stumbled upon something groundbreaking. To clarify, I recently produced a painting that was comprised of a range of red hues (Anden) so that my friend, who is visually impaired when it comes to differentiating between colors, could appreciate it the same way as the rest of us. This occurrence has motivated me to initiate a series of paintings that cater to those with color blindness, with the intention of facilitating their ability to experience the true essence of art.
Do you have a preferred format or medium? If so, can you explain why it makes you most comfortable?
When it comes to painting, I find myself drawn to various formats, materials, and colors on a daily basis. I don't have a set favorite because my preferences tend to shift depending on my mood or inspiration at the time. While this allows for a lot of creative freedom, it can also be a bit challenging since I never know what I'll feel like working with next. Nonetheless, I enjoy exploring different options and experimenting with new techniques to keep my art fresh and exciting.
Do you create your work at home, in a shared workshop, or in your own workshop? How do you go about organizing your creative process in this space?
At present, I have the privilege of being gainfully employed in two distinct workshops. The first of which boasts a state-of-the-art lithography press, while the second one is dedicated to the mastery of oil, acrylic, and spray paints. As an ardent artist, my creative space is constantly in a state of flux, adapting and evolving to meet the demands of each new project that comes my way. Though it may not be the most organized of workspaces, it is undoubtedly a reflection of the boundless creativity that I bring to every piece I create.
Acrylic on Canvas, 2022
90 x 120 cm
Do you frequently travel to meet new collectors, attend fairs, or exhibitions for work? If yes, what benefits do you gain from it?
At the moment, my primary concentration lies in the creation of art pieces, rather than dedicating my time to organizing exhibitions or engaging with art collectors. I am of the opinion that this is an ideal time to produce and accumulate a substantial number of artworks, which will provide me with the opportunity to carefully curate and select those pieces that exhibit superior quality for showcasing in future exhibitions. Thus far, my clientele has been acquired through direct outreach or by leveraging online platforms.
What do you envision for the growth of your career and artistic pursuits in the future?
As of now, I find myself unable to accurately forecast the creative path that I'll embark on in the upcoming 5 or 10 years. This realization, however, motivates me to explore and experiment with fresh techniques, unique materials, and innovative color schemes, all while allowing my boundless imagination to take the lead.
Could you please share with us your most significant exhibition experience?
In 2022, I had the privilege of participating in the renowned Vidmar22 art exhibition in Bern. The show attracted a remarkable audience, and I was thrilled to witness the immense interest in my artwork. It was a remarkable opportunity to showcase my talent, and I am grateful to have received a lot of positive feedback. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to sell several of my pieces, which was a dream come true. Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to exhibiting my work again in the future.
If you had the opportunity to create a notable piece of art throughout history, which one would you select and for what reason?
Upon viewing the painting "Code" by the esteemed German artist David Schnell, I cannot help but feel a sense of sublime inspiration within me. The intricate details and expert use of color and form leave me yearning to explore every inch of the canvas, to uncover its secrets and truly appreciate the mastery of Schnell's work.