Five questions to Simone Christen

Five questions to Simone Christen

Abstract, minimalist and experimental are the works of Swiss artist Simone Christen. Since 2020 she lives and works in New Jersey, USA. Her artworks are quiet reflections on the beauty of life and its fundamental simplicity. 

How did you get into art?

Art has always been a natural part of my life - in the form of the painting corner of my creative kindergarten, museum visits with my parents, an artist friend and collector in the family or art classes in high school. An exchange year in the U.S. with a focus on art fed my enthusiasm and led back in Switzerland to an undergraduate study in art. However, this was followed by many working years in the field of digital cartography and graphics and an extended family phase where art was shifted to leisure time. About ten years ago, art came back to centerstage - I resumed my art education and dared to make painting my main occupation. 



How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

My work is abstract and minimalist. I impose restriction on myself in terms of color palette, image content and materials, always in search of the essential. Large color forms, their expansion, interactions and relation to the surrounding serve as image content. Other paintings touch on the apparent uniformity of patterns. I work mainly with liquid media on paper and raw canvas, aiming to convey depth through transparencies, naturalness and minimalism with a little touch of imperfection and mystery.

My art comes from an inner place in search of harmony and beauty and speaks to people’s hearts. I am often told, that my paintings have a calming and soothing effect. 

How do you go about developing your work?

I find inspiration everywhere and try to go through life with open senses for fascinating color combinations, intriguing patterns and inconspicuous everyday beauty. Sometimes it's an idea or emotion that I try to visualize. I familiarize myself with colors and shapes with many sketches on paper before I then begin the piece rather intuitively. Soon the painting begins to develop a life of its own. In a constant dialogue, I try to figure out what it is asking for as a next step. Each deliberately added form creates a new imbalance and sets the path forward. Working with liquid media on paper or raw canvas requires to wait for everything to dry before applying a next layer. This slows down my process and forces me to be patient and engage in the interplay of detached observation and intuitive immersion. 

Who or what influences you?

Influence comes in many little pieces - Rothko's vibrant color surfaces, Frankenthaler's fearless material experimentation, Matisse bold shapes and playfulness, Agnes Martin's minimalist restraint. But also, the playful creativity of young children, current artists on social media, organic patterns of indigenous peoples. I am aware of being part of an art collective, but I deliberately choose to listen to my inner voice, to seek my own path, to go through my own evolution step by step. 

Make us curious. What is planned next?

I started a series of large paintings on raw canvas and linen. Transparencies will be a big topic and probably traces… but I don’t really know yet where it will take me. Otherwise, on the to-do list are more technical challenges. The miter saw is ready and waiting for me to start building my own quality wood frames. Prints are another item on the list. So far, all the works I sell are originals and one-of-a kind. Especially for my works on paper limited prints editions would be an option.