For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Switzerland, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from stunning vector art to digital paintings and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Simona is an illustrator and concept artist based in Basel, Switzerland. Her work features fantastic digital illustrations with charming scenes and characters. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Donky and Koontz
The nature, quality of life, and vibrant international community here in Basel are what I love about Switzerland. As well as the balance between individual freedom and collective respect.
Thematically, I love to draw children and I love to draw for children. The understanding of childhood here is "sheltered but independent," and children are respected as individuals. I think this has had a strong influence in the way I try to create personality and emotion.
Artistically, there is a very strong design culture here, and I am always striving to let that flow into my illustration work. Switzerland has always been very strong in graphic design. Modern and contemporary art are also fundamental to the Swiss culture.
I am a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, and interact regularly with members of the Swiss and other European chapters, though that is an international organization, not specifically Swiss-based.
Jonathan is a 3D artist based in Geneva, Switzerland. His work features bold, 3D cartoon creations with colorful themes and textures. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
I'm currently living in Geneva, and one thing I love the most is the multiculturalism. There's people from all over the world in such a tiny place, and it's really inspiring to live in such an atmosphere. The scenery is beautiful, and it doesn't take more than an hour by train to transform the landscape around you. So it's a breath of fresh air every weekend and an easy way to get my head out of the screen.
Switzerland is known for its excellence in fields like watchmaking and engineering, and even though that type of technical work seems to be far from my cartoon style, it's a huge inspiration to see such attention to detail. Plus it always gives me ideas to transcript and polish my final renders.
36 Days of Type
VideoGame Superstar Challenge
I'm still in the process of discovering the art scene around here. There's a lot of contemporary art around, as well as a really thriving alternative scene.
Digitally, a lot of the work I see focuses heavily on minimalist graphic design and luxury product renders. There are so many luxury brands gathered in Geneva that it really "sculpts" the look of the digital art scene. To be surrounded by such a different style is actually a great thing and makes me see things differently and push myself.
Ella is an illustrator and surface designer based in Zurich, Switzerland. Her work features energetic illustrations showcasing her love of fashion, nature and art. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Lucid Dreams Editorial
I've been living in Switzerland for some time and I love it. Switzerland is very well positioned for traveling and we often just jump in the car and go to Italy or France for the weekend. Healthy living and staying fit is also a huge part of living here. The country runs like a Swiss clock and you have to follow the rules. But it is not a problem, because you'll really want to take care of this beautiful place.
Zurich is a very vibrant city, and you see beautiful art everywhere. There are many art fairs and events happening throughout the year.
There are a few new things which I've started doing while living in Zurich though. For example, there are live fashion events that I attend where I create sketches of guests. Although live fashion drawing is very popular in the USA and Great Britain, it is still quite new here.
Birds & Roses
I always joke that in Zurich everyone is either a banker or graphic designer. There are so many design bureaus dotted around the city and also plenty of independent art galleries and art shops.
I think it is a tightly knit community and I've met a few local artists in Zurich and Basel that have made me feel very welcomed.
Stefano is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Geneva, Switzerland. His work features awesome vector illustrations with bold colors and creative themes. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
What I love about Switzerland is probably that it is peaceful, very safe, clean, well organized, and you can freely express yourself. The cities are not so big, and you can quickly quit the urban frenzy to lose yourself in nature. The numerous lakes, rivers and mountains offer breathtaking landscapes. Everything is not perfect, but there are a lot of positives that I really enjoy.
Where I live has deeply influenced my work. Visually, I like to create pieces that are simple, direct and clean. I’m also a perfectionist, so the quest to perfection pushes me to improve the quality of my work.
In Switzerland, education, critical thinking and respect for the environment are important matters. The country has made me very aware of this so I’m very glad to create illustrations which can, in some way, serve these topics.
For me it is quite difficult to define the “Swiss art community” since the arts in Switzerland are very diverse due to the fact that the country is a melting pot. I would define it as a cosmopolitan art community where the members feel more like world class citizens.
Nadine is an illustrator based in Zurich, Switzerland. Her work illustrates her amazing passion for wildlife and funny characters. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Finding the Last Acorn
What I love about Switzerland is the landscape. To be in the middle of the mountains, or walk through forests and breathe fresh air gives me lot of energy. Switzerland is a very small country and even living in the biggest city feels like living in a small town. You are very quickly out of town and in the green.
I am mostly influenced by Swiss wildlife and nature. It is a repeating theme in my illustrations. But I also like to observe people. It is often not obvious at first sight but there are always funny characters among us. I love to find the small humor in my everyday life.
In Switzerland everything is very clean, precise and on time. Swiss graphics and illustrations are usually very minimal and precise. Due to the internet and people traveling, there's a lot more influence from all over the world too.
The Lost Egg
Illustrators and graphic designers are mostly living in the few biggest towns in Switzerland. I’m not into the art community scene of Zürich but I always stumble upon someone I know.
Antoine is an illustrator based in Lugano, Switzerland. His work features delightful traditional illustrations for children's books and editorials. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
L'étonnante Histoire de Mario
I'm originally from France but moved here to Lugano 15 years ago. Living in Switzerland means that you have a really easy access to art in general. Ticino, the place where I live, is a very small region where northern and Latin cultures meet and mix for interesting events.
Our culture is so influenced by religion through social and moral values, and as a visual communicator, I may use the power of iconic pictures sometimes. Religious images have strong visual impact and are full of symbols and past history.
L'étonnante Histoire de Mario
Swiss living is great for artists. It allows people to express themselves quite easily and show their own creations.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: