Philipp Mettler responded to the most pressing questions in a conversation with the world's top curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist as they completed the same study program at the University of St. Gallen and Mettler apparently does everything for his alma mater. The set up of this interview was inspired by Tom Kummer.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist: Thanks to finally agree to this interview after time consuming negotiations with your public relations team. I heard that the painting "St.Gallen" by Gerhard Richter which hangs at the University of St. Gallen inspired you for your first series of paintings. That's not very original, I can't see any artistic value in your series imitating my friend's Gerhard squeegee technique. Are you trying to sell it through your own web store because you can't get a show?
Philipp Mettler: That's a bit rude as a first question, but I respect you too much for what you have done and continue to do for art and will not abort this interview before it began. I wish every curator to have the same intention as you have: to serve art and leave the ego and financial interests behind. To respond to your statement quickly: I called my first series "Searching for my voice through colors". As an emerging artist it's the most important process to find my authentic and real voice in total freedom and this process usually takes 10 years. I don't feel comfortable to talk too much about this process in public for now, all I can say that I work with really good art coaches. I started in August 2021 to paint full time, if in 2031 you still think my work is not of any artistic value I really have to evaluate my career path. To spend the maximum time painting I have to find my own way to sell my paintings. I don’t spend time to find a gallery. In time perhaps, a gallery will find me. Let the visitors of my web store decide if a painting resonates or not. Besides the artistic value of an artwork, there is always a decorative one. My public relations team told me that you agreed to ask me questions relevant to my audience, in this case art lovers who would like to buy an abstract painting through my web store to decorate their homes or offices.
[Sighs.] Do you know how long it's been since I interviewed an artist who set up his own web store? Let's talk about what your public relations team has set up: Which materials did you use to paint this series?
I paint with Amsterdam Acrylic. The canvases are "Tela Creattore Premium Algodão". I mainly shopped at Ponto das Artes in Sintra, Portugal.
[Ah.] Very interesting, thanks for this valuable insight. How do you title your paintings?
I start with my feelings and thoughts the moment I painted it and I share what excited me. Beyond the title you find a short description of every painting.
OK, very interesting, I didn’t have time to read the short descriptions. Why don't you sign your paintings on the front side of the canvas?
My signature wouldn't add anything to the artwork, in contrary it would rather disturb it. I send you a Certificate of Authenticity along your purchase. This is a widespread industry standard.
[Pinches himself.] Why don't you ship your paintings rolled in a tube like other emerging artists?
For most paintings there are too many layers of paint on the canvas to roll it. Some are really heavy. For example, for the biggest painting "Cherry" I used more than 10 liters of paint. Shipping is arranged invidually after your purchase in my web store.
How do you calculate your prices?
(Height in cm + Width in cm) x 10 = Price for the artwork in Euro (excluding packaging, shipping, taxes and other possible costs). 10 is my so-called artist factor.
10 is it. [Sighs again.] Do you offer payment plans?
Sure, send me an inquiry and let's have a chat.
If I liked to own a painting in the style of your first series but in a different size with a color palette I already have in mind. Are you doing commissions?
How cool! Send me an inquiry and let's have a chat.
[Sips coffee.] Yes, maybe later. Why should I buy a Mettler painting?
Because our inner wellbeing makes the world a better place.
Thanks for your concerns about my inner wellbeing, I’m fine. How will your next series look like?
Maybe colorful, maybe totally different as my artistic voice is finding me and this process takes time. Check my Instagram stories to get to know my latest artworks.
[Whispers to his assistant.] What other artistic practices do you do besides abstract painting?
End of April I released my first music video called Struggle and I’m working on a series of sculptures called Eternal Banging. Moreover, I’m having a look into NFT’s and as soon as I sold some paintings I plan to work with a gifted animator.
NFT’s you say? Now that’s interesting! Why don't you do shows and have a proper gallery representation yet?
I won’t find a gallery. The gallery will find me. Tell your gallerist friends to send me an inquiry once I finished my second series of abstract paintings in October and let's have a chat with them.
You don't seem to lack self-confidence. What do you recommend other emerging artists?
Have fun. Follow your intuition. Paint every day. Just paint for yourself. Don't paint to please anybody. Don't listen too much what others tell you, including me. Stay clean in front of the canvas. Get a basic understanding of art history. Read the book "Everything for Art: How to be a successful artist" - I've read it several times and will read it again. Allow art to change your life.
Well, I think you don’t need my help for now. Good luck with your art career, I have to head to the airport.
My pleasure Hans-Ueli. All the best for your upcoming shows at the Serpentine.