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Winner's Interview - Saskia Thurner

Please introduce yourself as an artist?

Already in my childhood I attended courses with local artists and learned different painting techniques. During my school days, art was my favorite subject; because then I felt understood.


The immersion in a different world of one's own remains to this day. As a young adult, I enrolled at the Learning Tree Fine Arts Center in Buffalo, N.Y. in the USA to learn oil painting from scratch and to develop my own style. I took part in exhibitions in the USA and even received a few awards.


After my return to Germany, I founded my art school "ART4kids" to inspire young people in my studio to paint and draw. After fifteen years of art school, the complexity of life demanded all its strength - and there was no time left for painting.


After my cancer diagnosis I find myself painting again. It's like a rediscovery of my great love and passion for oil painting. As soon as I smell my paint and sit at my easel next to the canvas, the motifs begin to communicate with me as they are created. Here I immerse myself completely in my own world. I paint almost every day.

What is your medium and why did you choose it?

My medium is oil painting. As I mentioned before, I was able to take art classes with local artists very early in my childhood. So I had the opportunity to deal with different medias very early on. Here, too, it was clear to me very early on that I would have to learn oil painting at some point. Oil painting captivated me from the very beginning. The colors and the smell... especially the smell has always transported me emotionally to a completely different world... I can't describe this exactly – it just happens

What was the inspiration behind this work?

My current motifs are people of all facets: young, old and in many life situations. I love observing people: their behavior and how they interact and act with one another. I bring these impressions onto the screen. In doing so, I capture the interaction, the dynamic cooperation in social relationships.

By depicting posture, facial expressions and gestures, I try to make emotions recognizable and show the intimacy of the moment. People are social creatures who want to express themselves and communicate. Above all, they want to interact with their environment.


Feelings are communicated. In my paintings I often pick up on the feelings that are overlooked – or even laughed at – in everyday life.

“It is a wonderful freedom and also a great happiness to show people how they feel. Free from inhibitions and without shame. Moments in which you don’t allow yourself to be reduced to the aesthetics judged by other people.”

And that was the inspiration for this painting too.

Who is your favourite artist? Why?

Actually I have two favourite artists.

First favourite is Norman Rockwell. He impressed me from an early age. Because of my stay in the USA during my childhood, I was able to visit his museum and its large exhibition in Stockbridge Massachusetts several times.

My second favourite is Frida Khalo. She has always impressed me very much. All of her paintings report on her own life. About your loved ones but also about their difficulties and fears. This is also what makes Kahlo so unique.


Very early in my youth I also bought and devoured books about artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, etc., which were classified to the Impressionism.


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