Founder’s Pick is a regular series of features wherein we take a closer, more intimate look at the artists, creators, companies, and products that characterise today’s Switzerland, its evolving culture, and its timeless emphasis on quality and excellence.
Her artwork characterised by beautiful splashes of colour that evoke different emotions from viewers around the globe, artist Yvonne Robert’s work is spontaneous, dynamic, and stunningly vivid in its imagery.
Born in 1972, Robert grew up in Germany and worked as a graphic designer prior to devoting her time and energy to her art. She is currently based in Zurich.
How did you get into the arts?
Even as a small child, I knew that I would make art. I grew up with art: my mother was a professional artist and my father painted a lot as a hobby.
For practical reasons, however, I worked as a graphic designer for many years but would always paint on the side. For the past three years I now make a living from art and do it full-time.
How would you describe your particular painting style?
I would describe my painting style as expressive abstract.
What inspires you to create each of your pieces?
So many things inspire me; what I observe around me or what I look at inspires me: nature, cities, people, fashion, music, the work of other artists that I see in books or exhibitions, even on Instagram.
Are there any aspects of your life that find their way into your work?
I don't know if being an intuitive person is an aspect of my life, but it's certainly a attribute of mine that influences my work. Not that I do little in the way of thinking, but when I paint, I do it intuitively.
I have the colours in my head; I hear them and watch them play in my imagination – I want to bring that to the canvas. There are a lot of different interplays among the elements: quiet, loud, wild, and harmonious, among others. I see it as an absolute privilege to express my impressions in form and colour.
Of course, I am influenced by what I live through, my experiences. That happens to every painter.
For you as an artist, how have the current circumstances influenced your work and the way that people look at it?
During the first lockdown here in Switzerland, there were many numbers I found myself thinking about constantly: new infections, deaths, recovered persons, and R-numbers. I processed these in a series of 5. Later on, I realised I could tune out COVID-19 when it came to my work. I mean, it was there but it hasn’t influenced my painting.
I'm lucky to live in the countryside and could immerse myself in nature. Later, when the museums reopened, I went to many exhibitions. I don't know if people looked at the work differently. Fortunately, the interest in art has not diminished. [The pandemic] even had some advantages. Now that everyone spends more time at home, they’re probably thinking about whether they might want to invest in a new painting.
Is there any particular message or feeling that you want to convey to the world through your work?
I don't have a message that I want to convey. I am happy when I trigger something positive in the viewer that they do not have to understand or explain.
I make a note of special comments from people who have touched me. Someone once said that a painting of mine would make him feel comfortably warm, like a distant chimney fire. It's also great when my work releases energy when you look at it – a lasting energy that you can take with you.