L'Interview Timbrée - 31 - Tobias Gutmann

Introducing a Swiss artist with an English interview, funny idea. But when the artist is german-speaking swiss citizen, born in New Guinea and constantly travelling the world with his work, it's hard to tell which language Tobias Gutmann speaks… Could be love.. or cartoon..


Hands serie by Tobias Gutmann for Maison Tangible


Your address (real or fake) as you want to read it on a postcard?

Tobias Gutmann - Artist, Niederdorfstrasse 84, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland

On holiday, to give news to your loved ones, are you rather of the kind to send a postcard or MMS?

The people I really love deserve a postcard. :-) Sometimes, I draw my own postcards, not very often though…



Hands 01 / 03


Do you remember a post or postcard
that marked your life?

My aunty, who lives in Switzerland used to send me a children’s magazine to Papua New Guinea, where I grew up. I participated in a drawing competition of the magazine and  sent in my drawing of a pennant coral-fish. It got printed in the next issue of the magazine. I strongly believe, that what you get acknowledgment for as a child, influences you throughout your whole life.



We fell in love with Face-o-mat. Can you tell us more about this fantastic project ?

Since 2013, I am traveling the world with Face-o-mat, my analogue portrait machine. On A5 pieces of paper, I draw abstract interpretations of what I see in peoples faces. To me, a drawing only becomes valuable, if I give it away. The more portraits I draw, the more I am amazed by the fact, that every human being on this planet is unique. You can see some videos of the project here ! 



Face-o-mat by Tobias


If you could see the universe of an artist in a collection of postcards or stamps, who would you choose?

Barbara Kruger. I love her bold political statements placed in public spaces.



If you were to have an epistolary relationship with an idol, who would it be?

I want to write letters with God. I mean, I do talk to him and meditate, to listen what he says, but receiving a handwritten letter from him would be awesome! :-) *


* Indeed :)


Hands 02 / 03


Your most memorable journey?

I really enjoy looking back to my residency in Tanzania, where I met many artists, musicians and dancers. Together we organized art-festivals and for two months I stayed in Dar es Salaam, where I learnt wood carving in an artist community. The visual culture and the hospitality of the Tanzanian culture have really influenced my work and my character.


The destination, real or fictitious, for your next trip?

The moon. Silently he observes what is happening on planet earth. Humbly he reflects the sun beams that hit his face. I want to meet him and discover the world from his perspective.*

* We always thought Moon was a girl..
What a new perspective! :)



Direction and artwork for the band Kings Kaleidoscope.


You’ve got an impressive library of shapes ! Can you tell us more about your process and how it enrich the rest of your work ?

It all started with my interest in handwritten typography. At some point the 26 letters in the latin alphabet were not enough for me, so I started to invent my own letters. In my master thesis at Konstfack University of Arts in Stockholm, I continued the research of my visual language. Face-o-mat was definitely an important project, where I explored various ways of drawing lines. What I find most interesting, is when I can communicate with my language. For example I recently collaborated with Kings Kaleidoscope, a Seattle based Indie Band and designed their album cover, zine, band outfits and music videos.



What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

When I was a kid, I found a dead snake on the roadside. I pealed the skin off the snake and pinned it on a cardboard. After letting it dry in the sun, I used the skin as a bookmark. :-D


* Ok, that's certainly one of the nost badass things
we ever read in this interview series :)


Hands 03 / 03


Tell us about the series of stamps you have imagined?

After drawing so many portraits with Face-o-mat, I felt like drawing other body parts. I made a series of hand gestures. Hands play an important role in our body language. We use them to articulate our feelings and emotions. The hands have been shown in an exhibition at Kunsthaus Langenthal in Switzerland and can also be downloaded as iMessage Sticker App for free.


What's new for you soon, a news that you'd like to talk about?

As an Artist I want to design spaces that can be experienced. I am thinking of large size room installations. I am also brainstorming on a Face-o-mat publication, but I can’t say too much about all these ideas yet… :-)



Hands serie



Check Tobias works here, his Face-o-mat and his vimeo channel !


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