Otto Schmidinger

Born in: 1947, Austria
Lives in: Gold Coast, Australia
Describe your art in three words: realism in paint

Alpha - Oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (Sold)

"I started my art career at 16 as a retoucher and Illustrator, rendering hyper real images using the airbrush. In the 50 years of my freelance career, I learnt to use all mediums to achieve the client's required result. My first painting was hung in the salon des refusés of the Archibald Australia's major portrait prize. I started painting seriously after retiring from my advertising career."

What themes does your work involve?
I don't limit myself to any particular direction. I am usually inspired by something I see or feel passionate about. most of my work is realist but I will change my approach depending on the subject and what I am trying to show or say. Mostly I paint landscapes that are of quite ordinary places made extraordinary by painting them.
Describe your creative process.

Landscapes. I usually start my paintings with a thinned down colour rendering when I am happy with the placement of the main objects, I then start filling in the darks and lay in the background colours working my way to the foreground. Finish with hi lights.

I will do a light wash rendering to find the likeness correcting the image with subsequent darker colours.Rough in the background to give a comparison of values, before applying the final rendering. Finish with the hi lights. Check the balance of colours and values.i f the eye is drawn through the image to the important parts, The painting is finished.

What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
It may be the light, a colour, an idea, or the subject matter itself ,but it has to be something that gets me excited enough to want to spend many hours to paint it. I have learnt in my long career that art can present an idea visually that may influence people to see things in a new way. I have used my art to promote a point of view that I feel strongly about and supported movements that I believe in.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?

To enter more art competitions, promote my art and hopefully sell more paintings at higher prices. I will continue teaching art to my students and using my art to make a difference in our world.

How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?

It certainly killed my interest in graphic art and Illustration. The ease of merging images and manipulating photos made realism blasé. After a few years I found using the computer to make images soul destroying and degrading of any art talent.
Computers have been a blessing to the advertising industry, Images are now produced quick and cheap and mostly nasty.
I think it will get worse. I do not consider digital images as art, they are the results of programs more than artistic talent. Digital art should be kept seperate from art much as photography is a seperate field..

I fear digital art will continue to make inroads in art practice and no doubt galleries will push this new way of making easy money. I will not support any merging of painting, sculpture, photography and digital art together under one art label.  Put digital art together with photography not art that takes skill with hands and paint.

What is the role of the artist today?
I always loved making art there was nothing else I would rather do. I chose my career as an Illustrator because I could make very good money with my talent. It certainly made my ex-wives wealthy. Although I regret not following a fine art degree offered by the Sydney art college, much to the Heads disgust. I wonder what I would be doing with my art now if I had taken that path instead.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Something that moves you or excites you visually. Art that can stir your emotions, or awake a memory. A painting that can capture and hold you. Something that you want to have with you always.
Generations - Oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm (NFS)
Nerang River - Oil on canvas 101 x 76 cm $6,000
Terra Nullius - Acrylic on canvas 152 x 91 cm $12,000
Monolith - Oil on canvas 101 x 76 cm (Sold)
Little Crystal Creek - Oil on canvas 101 x 76 cm $6,000
Coming Home - Oil on canvas 100 x 100 cm $11,000
AERIAL - Oil on canvas 100 x 100 cm $10,000


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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