Art, // April 28, 2018
Birgit Schweimler — ARTIST
A conversation with artist Birgit Schweimler —
Who are you and what do you do?
I was born 1966 in a small village of the black forest and grew up in Ulm, one of the main cities of Swabia, South-Germany. After graduating from the University of Bamberg in social work, most of my professional career has been in this segment. I have conducted many social projects while working for the city of Munich and for private organizations, mainly in the areas of social integration and inclusion of female adolescents as well as disabled people. I was also the managing director of various social and political organizations. During and after my studies, I wrote many papers as a free-lance journalist about social and political issues in the German press. I also travelled a lot, and even occasionally lived abroad in Greece and Austria.
As a student I took up theatre and painting classes. My interest in painting became a real passion and over the years I always kept an easel and a tube of paint at hand. The artist-me became an inherent aspect of my personality. Eventually, I even bridged the gap with my profession, and completed a formal training in art-therapy at A.K.T. Center in Munich. As of 2016, I completely focused on painting.
How do you work and approach your subject?
The main objective of my abstract art is to combine colour and form into chromatic compositions. In my paintings I predominantly use materials from nature which many people bring back to me from their various travels. These include sand, soil, shells, etc… I integrate these structures into my paintings or use them as a base for new pigments. Thus, every painting also gains a personal story. My images frequently develop while listening to music. I’m also very inspired by the beautiful surroundings of my current home, the area around Lake Ammer in Upper Bavaria. Water is anyway a recurring motive in my work, not so much as a landscape element that I depict, but rather as a texture, motion and environment I feel very bonded to. My work is and remains abstract, even if some graphic elements can create associations.
At first sight my abstract textures may seem “random“, but they are definitely not. Although I paint very intuitively, I leave nothing to chance. My creative method often includes re-exploring a specific canvas in multiple phases, and even covering up an existing painting with entirely new layers. A work may thus require several years to complete until I feel it has “told its story“. I’m fascinated by the fact that I can continuously evolve and refresh the story behind a painting. In real life, that is sadly not always the case. Hence, I experience my creative work as very liberating and find again and again that “anything is possible.”
What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
When asked about my influences, I’m at a bit of a loss. It is hard to answer because I‘m a very intuitive artist – completely autodidact. Nature had more influence in my artistic life than other artists, though I‘m full of respect. I saw amazing paintings in my life and I was always deeply touched by artist like Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh. Yet my artistic technique and my creativity I gained through other things and experiences in my life. Let’s just say that I like what I like, and that you will find me visiting a gallery of modern art rather than the collection of Flemish masters.
What are the best responses you have had to your work?
We live in a formidable time when it is possible to instantly share one’s art with thousands just with a click. That’s however also a challenge. I concentrate on painting what I feel I need to paint, without making any compromises nor yielding to „taste“-pressure. But I am only human too. I especially enjoy compliments from artists whose paintings I highly admire myself. And at the end of the day, I am always deeply moved when people value my art so much, that they decide to buy it. This may sound a bit materialistic at first, but in a time when everything is expected to be available for free, I feel a deep respect for this act of authentic commitment towards an artist. The nicest compliment though, is when my paintings make someone happy…
— Birgit Schweimler
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Birgit.Schweimler.paints/
— Cover Photo by Michael Koller