This is Thierry Furger

Seneca once said, “All art is but imitation of nature.” Indeed! Yet to a young artist in an industrialized man-made environment—where spray-painted wildstyle letterforms and graffiti careered on concrete walls and on trains—gets that visual stimulation day-after-day will naturally influence that imitation—his art.

Thierry Furger, born in the 70’s, had a bit of fascination with graffiti early on and this wended his way to master the craft. Now, he’s worked himself up to exhibiting at galleries meticulously thinking of ways to show distinctions in every show.

In some ways, I can say Thierry had depicted graffiti’s moments in history incredibly well through his art. That at some point in time—before there was street art—he witnessed the evolution of creative complicity and letting others recognize that by visual evocation. THIS IS THIERRY FURGER.

Interview by Mark Changco.
Artworks by Thierry Furger.

Buffed Close Up 1 & 2, from Buffed Paintings Series

Describe your beginnings. How did you end up doing what you’re doing now? Where were you born?

The Graffiti in Basel, where I was born in 1975, inspired me towards the end of the 80s. This was a longer process and frankly said – not planned.

Do you still remember your first writing (tagging) experience? How was that like?

Yes, of course I do, that was in spring of 1988. I had started photographing graffiti some time before. Than I had to try it out myself! It felt quite good. And it is still.

What was your tag name? What’s the meaning behind it?

Fox! There was no meaning behind it. Back then there was a mountain bike brand ‘Muddy Fox’ which was just very hip.

Describe that moment when you have finally chosen a life doing creative things. How did you support yourself?

I knew quite early that I wanted to be a graphic designer. The ideas for art came later. If you really want to do something, then it is always, in a way, going to work out.

Do you have any influencers and/or mentors along the way? In what way did they influence you?

The two books Subway Art and Spraycan Art have inspired me. It was an overdose of letters, colors and forms. Even when I look at these books after 25 years, it is still relevant. They really created something for eternity. In terms of art, Keith Haring was the first artist it impress me very much.

“I knew quite early that I wanted to be a graphic designer. The ideas for art came later. If you really want to do something, then it is always, in a way, going to work out.”

(Take us back for a bit) How would you describe graffiti back then? And, what do you see different from today’s graffiti movement?

The times are changing and so is graffiti, which is okay! Back in the day it maybe it was a train or a great wall, that was admired for a few days. Today you look at a picture on Instagram maybe for a second and then you scroll to the next one.

How was your first gallery show like?

That was 2007, a great group show with many young artists. The exhibition was curated by Rémi Jacard, now an excellent art historian within the area of street art.

Zuerich Stadelhofen, from Schoens Zueri Series
S6 Buffed, from Buffed Paintings Series

Let’s talk about “Buffed Paintings” and “Schöns Züri” (Nice Zurich). How did you arrive to it’s name and style. Was it all by accident?

Schöns Züri‘ is the name of the antigraffiti program of Zurich. In 2007 they started to paint over all graffiti in the city in grey. This inspired me to paint colored pictures on canvas and then to paint them over in gray in order to imitate the antigraffiti program of Zurich.

My series ‘Buffed Paintings‘ was inspired by badly buffeted tags and trains. As a result of poor buff-attempts there often accrued forms which remained unintentionally. This caused something new and accidental that I personally found aesthetic. This has inspired me to my series ‘Buffed Paintings’.

As a writer, how important is typography and style?

It’s all about the letters!

What legacy would you want to leave? How would you want to be remembered?

I didn’t think about that yet.

What music are you currently listening on?

Very different kinds of music. Currently a lot of 80’s and 90’s hip hop.

Are you currently working on something new? How do you push your creativity? Describe your creative process when working on a piece.

I am working on a new series entitled ‘Sgraffito‘. I work rather quickly and i work one piece at a time. This is how I am used to. I like the energy that emanates from a piece like this. Of course not every piece always succeeds.

What is your advice to others that aspires to pursuit in the creative field?

Keep it simple and do not think about it too much!

Follow Thierry Furger on Instagram @thierry_buffedpaintings
Follow Mark Changco on Twitter and Instagram @markchangco