Today, my bird paintings form a counterpart to my fiery, passionate dance paintings. But this wasn’t always the case as my bird painting series is much older than the one of my dance paintings. I painted my first bird paintings back in 2009. It started with paintings such as Memory and Babykauz.
Looking back, I am astonished about all the different kind of bird paintings I painted during the past decade. I used a lot of different techniques and colours. It started with simple and calm birds in blue and white. Later, my bird paintings got more expressive and colourful. They changed back and forth between those two extremes for some time. Today, they are back to the blue and white colour scheme, but they are far more expressive than at the beginning. Interestingly I mostly think about my bird paintings as they were at the beginning although they really changed a lot since then.
But one thing stayed always the same. I still admire their freedom and independence. They just have to spread their wings and can fly wherever they want to go. Therefore, a lot of my bird paintings were inspired by birds that I was able to observe in nature, some of them still visit my balcony and my garden from time to time.
My painting no. 824 Milan (2019) is devoted to - no, not to the famous city - a kite. I think he is a black kite, but he could also be a red kite. To be fair I didn’t look at his wings that closely, I didn’t even know there is a difference until I looked for his English translation as I was sure that this majestic bird is known under a different name in English than in German.
Mostly I saw him flying up in the sky but sometimes I could spot him directly in front of my art studio’s window flying over my neighbour’s roof looking for his next prey. Most times I spotted him alone. But occasionally he was dancing through the sky with his lady friend. In summertime I sometimes saw him with his child, teaching him the secrets of the sky.
I crafted the black kite in my painting with modelling paste on top of the canvas. He is observing the blue sky in the background. His design is inspired by my early linocut art cards as well as by paper cuts. But I didn’t cut him out of the canvas I modelled him on top of it. Afterwards I painted him white. For some time, I also painted my birds black like my dancers but I decided to go back to my early bird paintings and paint my birds white again as white works better with the intended symbolism of independence and freedom of the birds in my bird paintings.
A view behind the scenes. My latest painting is waiting on my painting table for its next brush strokes. It’s a very useful table. Big and stable. You may ask, a painting table? Where is his easel? I don’t like working on easels. They are not stable enough, at least the ones I have seen so far. They are useful to present paintings to viewers though. But for painting I prefer my painting table. I received it when I moved to Horw. It was a welcome gift.
Back in Rheinfelden I painted on an improvised painting shelf. What? What’s a painting shelf? It was like a bookshelf but for painting paintings on top of it. It consisted of wooden boards and the top board, where I used to paint my paintings, was leaning diagonally against the wall. It was ok for painting on stretched canvas, but it would never have been stable enough for my earlier paintings on wood.
I created my paintings on wood directly on the floor. I painted on the floor for many years. I liked it and it was very useful for my wooden paintings as some of them were quite heavy. The bigger ones weight up to 20 kilograms. I painted on quite thick wooden boards. You could even step on them. Actually, I did. As they were big ones it was quite useful to sit and step on a painting when painting it. I just had to watch that I neither stood nor sat on fresh paint.
Unless I wanted to. Back then, I even painted some of my paintings by using my bare hands and feet as brushes.
My dance house invites you to come dancing. Young and old, little and big, red and blue, giraffes and elephants. Everybody is dancing. It doesn’t matter which dance you like. Every dance is allowed. From ballroom dancing to street dance, solo dancing and improv up to ballet. Dance like you enjoy most.
My dance painting no. 730 Im Tanzhaus (2014) celebrates the great diversity of dances and dancing. Don’t be shy. Dance like no one is watching. Don’t care what others are thinking. Enjoy the movement of your body and soul.
Im Tanzhaus means in English in the dance house. It is a painting of my acrylic-collage-mixed media series. Mixed media means that the artist combined different techniques when creating the artwork. For this dance painting I combined acrylic, collage and modelling paste techniques. The pieces of paper I used for the collage parts of the painting were painted with acrylic colours, too. As you may see, they are the main building blocks of my dance house. I used them as floors, stairs, window, door and even as the frame of a painting. Yes, on the wall of the top floor hangs an abstract painting inside my painting. A motive I used quite often in later paintings.
Watch out for the cat! Don’t step on her tail when entering my dance house. She likes sitting on the cosy doormat. If you look closely you will even find a fisherman in the basement window. He wants to lure the cat down and hopes he can animate her to dance, too. There is a lot going on in my fancy-dancy dance house.
For a long time, dancing and foremost latin competition dance was one of my big passions. Although I wasn’t that successful at dancing competitions, I loved it and gained a lot of energy, motivation, passion and joy from practising it and starting at competitions. Therefore, it is very surprising that it took so long until I painted my first dance painting. Even a local newspaper wrote an article about me with the roughly translated title “The dancer who paints” years bevor I painted my first dance painting and some time bevor I got self-employed and opened my art studio. Back then dancing was my centre of everything.
But it still took years after I founded my art studio until my passion for dancing got into my painting. Actually, my first dance painting was mere a lucky coincident. As it is with abstract painting the creation of the artworks is not always that precise and planed. And there it was. That blur of colour. Yes, indeed close to the End of 2013 a blur of colour on one of my paintings reminded me of a wild passionate dancer.
The next day I tried to reproduce that blur of colour. As it is with abstract painting recreating a blur of colour can be much harder than you think it might be. But I succeeded. And you could say, the rest is history.
During those years my little dancers developed and developed themselves through different stages from wild abstract dancers to more technical dancers and back. But foremost I enjoy when they are able to awake memories and passion and put a smile on a viewer’s face.
Tanzen! 2.19 was my first new painting after a longer period without painting at all during which I concentrated my creative energy on completing my second novel and on my studies at the Lucerne School of Business.
I decided to make a creative break as I noticed that my dance paintings lost a bit of their initial joy- and playful spirit. My paintings had steadily become more technical. What is not bad on itself as it resulted in a constant increase of the technical quality of my art. But I missed the playfulness of my early dance paintings. Therefore, I decided to put paint and brush aside for some time, knowing that I wouldn’t be bored as I had enough to do with finishing my second novel and continuing my studies in business administration.
After I published my second novel in October 2018, I started looking at my earlier paintings. Dance paintings and others that I like very much. Some of them are in my private collection. I also viewed some of my early abstracts on wood. I had not seen them for quite a while. Bit by bit I rediscovered my playfulness. But not only because of viewing my earlier paintings. Much more because of my second novel as I let my fantasy run wild while writing it and created in my opinion a miraculous extraordinary piece of work.
With my second book finished and fuelled with new creative and playful energy it was clear what my main project for the break between the exams of my third and the start of my fourth semester would be. Paint, brush and canvas were put back to work and I created my dance painting no. 823 Tanzen! 2.19 during the following weeks.
Dragiputz, art studio dragon, chief of security and appointments.
If you dial my number, Dragiputz may answer the phone. As chief of security and appointments he keeps my phone often to himself. But don’t worry if no one answers. Dragiputz is probably dancing. As when no one is looking Dragiputz likes to dance to the ringing tune. Luckily my phone has an answering machine.
I know Dragiputz, my art studio dragon, since childhood. He is a very loyal dragon. For many, many years he hid in my parent’s attic. Some years ago, I helped my parents to clean the attic, Dragiputz saw his opportunity and sneaked down into the laundry room. As he is a very curious dragon, he climbed into the washing machine but not without turning it on beforehand. He enjoyed the ride. But as it was quite exhausting, he decided to rest for the following years on a rocking chair with view on Mount Pilatus.
In 2018 I moved from Rheinfelden back to Horw near Lucerne. One morning thereafter Dragiputz was standing in my art studio and proclaiming that from now on he will be my chief of security. Any protest was useless. He decided that one of my bar stools would be his new dragon’s horst as the view was perfect from there. To make it more comfortable he “found” a pillow and claimed it as his own.
Nowadays he likes sitting on his dragon’s horst for hours and hours to come enjoying the view on Mount Pilatus and Lake Lucerne.
Back in 2008, I graduated from the Schweizerische Hotelfachschule Luzern and was looking for a job. Besides writing applications, I decided to create some art. The goal was, to create not just a sketch like I did mostly before but to create art in a quality someone may would pay money for. I had the first ideas for E‘ FANTI BA‘ during my last semester and it seemed a great idea to create it for real. So, I started. E‘ FANTI BA‘ is a mosaic. I decided to craft all pieces by hand. A bit later I noticed that I had to craft a lot, really a lot more pieces than I thought. More than 14’000. But I did it and completed E‘ FANTI BA‘, my painting no. 1, some months later.
But how should I sell it? I offered it for a small fortune on an auction site. And then it happened, … a billionaire bought it for tenfold the asking price, … ;) …, no, you wish, …, you can still view it at my art studio. At least for now. There may be one of those legendary billionaires stopping by and buying E‘ FANTI BA‘ for his or her living room soon.
If you are speaking German I recommend you to switch to the German version and read the full story about E‘ FANTI BA‘. In short: E‘ FANTI BA‘ is not only an artwork, it is supposedly the only existing evidence of E‘ FANTI BA‘ the celebrated spa for elephants run by elephants and forbidden for humans. Unfortunately, it’s supposed location is long lost. But luckily you can still get an impression of it by viewing my mosaic E‘ FANTI BA‘.
Some details about E‘ FANTI BA‘:
Spring 2018 Manuel moved from Rheinfelden back to Horw near Lucerne where he spent his youth.
2018 Manuel Süess concentrated on finishing and publishing his second novel »Das Panequarium-Experiment«. He started writing in November 2017 after having the first ideas for his new book in October 2017. He finished the first draft in January 2018. But with finishing the draft the work had just began as revising a novel takes a lot of work. Manuel published his second novel in October 2018.
Besides the work in his art studio Manuel continued his studies BSc in business administration at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
2018 Manuel Süess created two paintings and published one book. His artworks were shown in his art studio to interested visitors and clients.
»Das Planequarium-Experiment« is Manuel Süess' second novel. His first »Der Buchhalter« was published in 2012.
Manuel worked about a year on his story »Das Planequarium-Experiment« from the first ideas to the published book.
Currently it is only in German available but if you speak German we highly recommend you to order a copy of this fresh and unique novel.