Interview: Iris Schwarz

I’m really happy to announce a section dedicated for interviews with fellow artists and illustrators, inspired by Patricia’s Crafty Synergy interviews. I’ve made many friends here and I’ve always wanted to hear their stories about their work, and thought of sharing it with everyone here for inspiration. Enjoy!

Name: Iris Schwarz

Location: Zurich, Switzerland


Illustration media: Mixed media

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am an illustrator and graphic designer, living and working in Zurich. After my graduation in graphic design/illustration I’m now self-employed for about ten years. For me graphic design always was more of a job, but illustration/drawing/painting is my real passion. My studio of almost two years is situated in the old city, next to the conservatory. It’s an everyday pleasure to come here and work. Sometimes the sound of a violin passes my window while I’m working…. But more real is my good old radio. It’s on all day long and plays – most of the time – classic music. I love this atmosphere, it’s calm and concentrated. I can work like this for hours – mostly alone. I’m not a big talker and I’m not a team worker. I tried it before, but I found out I get things together best on my own. But I love to listen and to watch… people.

Lately my husband and me moved to a very old house, a bit outside of town, close to the lake. It’s beautiful to just to step out the door and take a long walk.

How did you get your start in illustration?
Up until now, in my professional life I was twice employed as a graphic designer. I was really lucky because they supported my love for drawing and painting and didn’t push me into advertising or too much into design. They even encouraged me to work freelance for several magazines and newspapers. So I slipped more and more in to the illustration world, especially editorial illustration. Today I work more as a freelancer, selling my art and illustrations online or direct to my audience.

Silence print; Thought print

What’s your favourite tool?
A pencil, a brush and paper. But, I must admit my iMac (Photoshop) and me became really good friends too!

Are you a full-time artist?

What or who inspires you?
Art – contemporary, but even more the old schools (Italian renaissance, the Dutch school – I adore this accurate work), fairy tales, craft – I’m impressed by certain skills people have, Victorian illustration. Almost everything old… illustrated books, textiles, furniture (antique shops or flea markets are my obsession, specially in Paris!), nature is very important to me, sometimes a conversation, beauty.

What keeps you motivated?
I couldn’t be without drawing. So there is no need for a special motivation. But I know there are days when nothing comes. I can feel it the moment I put the pencil on the paper sheet. Completing other things, like cooking, long walks, restoring furniture, cleaning up my studio (!), swimming always brings me back to my pencil and paper…

At this point I want to mention too, how important and motivating it is for me to be surrounded by supporting people like my husband, my family and friends.

Jai oublie print

What advice would you like to give people who would like to sell their works online?
I discovered Etsy – the place where I run my online shop – last year by surfing the web. I have never heard of it before. And I was hooked to it instantly! Of course I wanted to start listing items right away. But then I sat down and started to build myself a concept. I really took my time and started – more or less – well prepared. This helped me a lot. I think it’s important to have a certain line and then to develop it constantly.

Selling online can be just recommended! It opens so many doors, you get in touch with new, interesting people. It’s very inspiring.

Prince print; There Is, an accordion book

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I wish there won’t be to many changes… I really love my life now as it is. I hope I’ll stay curious and restless! And of course I hope to be still into art!

What message do you want to send out to people about your work?
I do not believe so much in a message through art. Or let me put it in another way, there are so many messages like people are looking at it. It makes me very happy when people are touched by my work… but why this happens I don’t know – it might be the secret of the beholder…

Thanks so much Iris!

2 Replies to “Interview: Iris Schwarz”

  1. I love your story, Amy, and this blog is ABSOLUTELY fantastic.

    I wish you all the well wishes in the world as you branch out to fly on your own—- something tells me you’ll be just fine. 😉

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