Switzerland has a rich and varied cultural, offering from traditional events to the trendiest exhibitions and performance. There is an array of attractions such as museums and galleries and many visitors can admire a verity of outstanding examples of architecture or historic locations where well-known artists worked. Many well-known painters and sculptors of the 19th and 20th century were Swiss or Swiss born and there is an artist that is ready to earn his place in making art history. Oliver Schibli, designer and owner of BuBu collection has decided to take a leap of faith many years ago to pursue his dreams. His art will take you on a ride between cultures, colors and tones. I had the opportunity to interview Oliver to hear more about his journey as an artist.
Cassie.C: What is your creative process like?
Oliver Schibli: Actually my creative process is a permanent thing. Whatever I see and experience in my daily life, whatever I do, with whoever I talk, I get inspired with new ideas for art pieces. That’s why I have my beloved leather sketch book which I bought in Paris and keep with me all the time. I can literally be doing anything anywhere; looking through Instagram or magazines, walking in the forest in Switzerland or be on a boat in Thailand where I spend almost every winter. Being around nature has a big influence and gives me new ideas of forms and color combinations and is just an amazing way to recharge your batteries and find new ideas.
CC: What do you believe is a key element in creating whither its art, interior or accessories?
OS: My key element is definitely the color combination, because colors have a very important influence on me in my daily life. I can be having one of those rare bad mornings, yet as soon I start to create an art piece with bright colors my mood changes immediately. Another key element which I use often is my lifelines. I call all my inside patterns lifelines because they are all created in a spontaneous way like in life. All the decisions you make have an influence on your next steps in life.
CC: What is the most challenging part about being an artist? especially being an artist that goes beyond just creating on canvas?
OS: For me, now is the most challenging time, being an emerging artist and finding the people and opportunities to spread my artwork to a larger audience. And more to the point, finding serious buyers so that I can pay my bills every month without worrying. This is the most challenging part, because I never have a problem with creativity, ever. I am always in the mood to create something new, I have such a passion that it really dose not matter what is happening around me, I am able to focus and give it my full energy. I am very driven creator with a goal to have my work on display at prestigious galleries and museums around the world some day.
CC: What is your earliest memory of creating art?
OS: I think like we all started try to scribble something in one of this little books for children.
CC: How has your style changed over the years?
OS: It has changed a lot and it will change every day until I die. Because I love to explore and create new techniques and mix materials whatever I can get my fingers into! I don’t care about rules or anything like that. That’s the thing about being an artist, you don’t have to care about what people say or think about you. If they love your work it’s wonderful if not it’s also fine. Of course I prefer the ones that love my work because that always creates more good energy and that is what this sick world needs more than ever, LOVE. 😉
CC: What is your ultimate goal when you create your artwork?
OS: I have two goals or better to say two moments. The first one is when I do the last brush stroke and I know its finished. Just to sit in front and let the whole pieces work on me. It’s just fantastic. The second one I miss most of the time. It’s the moment when a collector hangs it in her/his house and enjoys the first moments. I really like this moment because it shows you 1:1 which emotion you can create with your creation. And to see the eyes in this moment is just amazing.
CC: I’m so in love with your art lights. One of my favorites is “Leo – the transformation from a human to an Animal”. Now I know you stated each of your lifeline pieces are based on an “in the moment”decision but what was your thought process while creating this piece?
OS: Good choice it’s my all time favorite as well and that’s the reason I still own this piece. It’s in my art gallery in Thailand at the moment but soon I will ship it to my home in Switzerland. I just wanted to create something that was a nice design piece to show a bit of the strange side of being human. Sometimes we act like animals with no regrets and behave badly, but on the other side it’s so nice and golden and shiny that it brings you together by exploring the patterns of a leopard. And when you plug the art light in it shines on the roof to show you there is a way and a light to follow the good path. I really hope this piece will one day find a nice home or museum with a good spirit because that is what is it all about.
CC: In your opinion what role does the artist have in society?
OS: We have the role of seeing life in a different way. Most artists and especially me are dreamers and that is what this world needs – more dreamers. To give people that lost the ability to dream, positive thinking or those that don’t have the skills of creation something beautiful, something inspiring that brings magical moments and joy.
CC: You stated something that really touched me and I loved every word because for many of us art is like being able to time travel whither admiring it or creating it. Now you stated “In my work I travel between cultures, colours, tones and create artwork that reflect this.” Choose a piece and in about four sentences use the art of story telling to take us where you were going in this piece.
OS: First of all I’m not a great story teller that’s why I speak with my hands or brushes but ok I will do my best 😉
Groovon: In this piece I started the same as with all of my works. With my positive energy and choosing the colors in exactly this way. Red, blue as main contrast and the small accents from the yellow and green eyes. After that, I choose one of my uncountable skribbled figures from my beloved leather book and move on to the spontaneous part of my work, the lifelines. When I start these lifelines (patterns inside) I am always listening to music or an audio book. That gives me the chance to dive totally into this work and forget everything around me.
That’s why you see sometimes strange things in my paintings, like in this one on the words in the right arm LOVE, HOPE, TRUST, BELIEVE, DREAM and HAPPINESS. I just put my entire soul into every painting and it’s like meditation for me because all my thoughts and even unconscious thoughts in this moment will be on the canvas afterwords. I think that’s the reason why people told me several times that after they purchase my work and hang it in their home they always have a feeling of a good energy in the room and that’s what I love.
CC: In 2013 you decided to become a full-time artist, what jobs have you done other than being an artist?
OS: Yes that was a life changing time for me wow. Love to think about that time. Most of my friends are in secure 9-5 jobs in Switzerland and my ex-colleagues from work thought “he is completely insane” haha. Just a handful of my friends, my family and my girlfriend believed in me and my way. I thank them very much for this support.
I started simple as sign maker and visited the art school in Bern. During my years working for other people and doing jobs which did not even come close to my passion I worked as Marketing and Sales Manager for several companies but never found real happiness and joy in my work. But it’s not easy in the secure but also expensive and regulated Switzerland to break out of this life program and stop living as an robot. But I just had enough of this life and I really wanted to do what I deeply love to do and I really believe in my talent.
I’m 100% sure that should be the first thing to think when you are at the beginning of your work career. Do what you love and do it with all the passion and no regrets and one day you will be a master in it or at least you will end up happy. If you can achieve this, then earning enough money etc. will follow automatically.
CC: Many people work jobs they aren’t happy with and fear taking that leap into doing what makes them happy. Tell us your thoughts when you finally decided to take that step of faith?
OS: My thoughts when I decided that step of faith was `if not now, when?` Today is the first day of the rest of your happy life and live it to the fullest. I was in my mid-30‘s and still was not happy with all the boring daily routine so I changed something and followed my passion. I encourage anyone who feel the same to just do it because life is too short to stay in a unhappy meaningless job.
It’s not an easy way, I have no secure job or income at the moment but I have seen amazing places and met wonderful people the last 2-3 years that I would not have experienced.
And at the end I truly believe in myself and my work and I hope some of the people out there love my work as I do and give me just a smile on a post on Instagram or purchase an art piece. I really enjoy all kinds of feedback and love I receiving it everyday from people around the world.
“Never ever listen to people with negative energy…. Work and focus on what you love and surround yourself with positive people, real friends and never give up” – Oliver Schibli
CC: You have created many beautiful pieces, which ones are your favorite? and why?
OS: I have two, the Leo Art light which I already talked about, and for the paintings is it a bit more complicated because I love all of them even the ones I’m not sure what I did there. 😉
Strange Harmony I love the color combination in this piece it’s so relaxing and spreads a good mood with lots of eyes which are watching over you and my lucky number 7. This is also one of the ones I still have at my studio
Painting: Strange Harmony 170x150cm/66×59 inches, Acrylic on canvas
CC: What is your artistic outlook on life?
OS: I set a few goals or better I made a few wishes to the universe which are that one day I will paint a whole yacht, a nice car and create the whole interior for a boutique hotel/ resort. And the normal artist outlook like to exhibit around the world, travel a lot and meet more inspiring people and of course to inspire all the people out there who thinking of doing the same like I did and in the end just be happy and stay healthy.
CC: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
OS: I did this amazing trip on this unbelievable wonderful boat Alila Purnama in Papua New Gunea which showed me what is it all about. This trip on the boat in this remote place of the world shows you how small you are. Nature and meeting interesting people is the most inspiring thing in the world for me.
CC: Why art?
OS: Because I love to create, believe in my talent and don’t have to listen to anybody.
Journalist: Cassandra Chrispin