Culture / Art Republik

The Mystic, Materials and Mantra of Artist Franz-Josef Baur

Franz-Josef Baur has shown further evolution since his last LUXUO interview, as seen with the vibrant new “paint, destroy, create new” showcase.

Feb 26, 2024 | By Florence Sutton
Franz-Josef Baur (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

Franz-Josef Baur — or FJBAUR as he is more commonly known — is a conceptual German pop artist who seeks to find beauty in the mundanity of everyday experiences and showcases it through his own special lens of vividly unadulterated expression. Having spent a portion of his youth and teenage years in the south of Germany, which had a fundamental impact on his artistic expression, Franz-Josef Baur would spend some time training as a chef only to return to his first love of art and become one of Europe’s most vibrant and innovative artists. The artist now calls Vienna and Berlin home taking inspiration from museums and art galleries both in Vienna and across Europe. The elusive artist meets with LUXUO to speak on all things art and unveils what he has planned for 2024.

Tell us a little bit about your background. When and how did you fall in love with art?

Life, in its vibrancy and enchantment, offers endless opportunities that one should always embrace. The foundational years of my childhood in Germany are the base layer of my character, which evolved through youthful exploration—both refining and deconstructing my perceptions—leading to a mature appreciation and love for art in my later years.

What materials do you prefer to work with? How do you select your materials?

I love working with different materials, whether it’s resin, plastic, wool, fabric, or paper. Currently, I have a preference for natural materials. I trust serendipity in my selection process; it has to feel right, and then that’s the material I choose for each creative phase.

FJBAUR has evolved immensely since LUXUO last spoke to him in 2021. Now, LUXUO catches up with the artist for the latest on his vibrant work including his "paint, destroy, create new" showcase.
Franz-Josef Baur’s “paint, destroy, create new” (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

You mentioned a few years back “my style is very much Pop art. I love to work between genres; art & design and fashion”. Is this still the case in your latest work?

Absolutely, my latest project is a vivid reflection of that philosophy. It is a newspaper series that draws fresh inspiration from the natural world.


What colours are your favorite for this new year in 2024?  

Normally I would say pink is my colour, but over the years, my exhibitions at Art Basel Miami have drawn me towards the enchanting pastels of South Florida, and this affinity continues into 2024. This year, I find myself particularly drawn to a vibrant, saturated “Miami Blue” that captures the exuberance and dynamic spirit of the place.

FJBAUR’s “paint, destroy, create new” (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

Where does the inspiration for your work come from?

My work is deeply influenced by the details and emotions found in daily experiences, capturing the essence of life’s moments that often go unnoticed, and it’s underpinned by confidence in my personal vision and artistic intuition.

Image courtesy of Jenni Koller

What emotions do you hope the viewers will experience when looking at your art?

When viewers encounter my art, I hope they feel a profound sense of unadulterated happiness, as if they’re being immersed in the pure, vivid joy that colours can evoke.

Read More: FJBAUR Presents The Mid-Point Between Art, Design and Fashion in Vienna

You once said, “my main aim in my work is to make people aware of our values, the real values of life in caring, and not losing them all”. Tell us more there?

I strive to illuminate the core values of compassion and mindfulness that are often overshadowed in our fast-paced, modern society. Through my art, I aim to encourage reflection and a reconnection with those fundamental human values that foster a caring community and enrich our lives beyond material success.

FJBAUR’s “paint, destroy, create new” (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

In your case, is creating a new artwork a solitary process? 

I thrive on interaction and exchange. While I don’t have a team of builders, the creative process is enriched by a continuous dialogue, which informs and inspires my work.

What should art lovers and collectors expect from you across 2024? 

In 2024, I will focus intensively on creating sculptural works. I aim to play with vibrant colors and expressive forms

Image courtesy of Jenni Koller

What is your dream project this year 2024?

Each year, I dedicate myself to realising one dream project, and for 2024, my focus has been on a daily collection of materials that has spanned the entire year. This meticulous process is infused with a deep sense of local identity. Through this endeavor, I’m not just creating art but also weaving a narrative that captures the spirit of the city day by day.

Image courtesy of Jenni Koller

Are there any artists who have inspired you on the contemporary art scene? 

Daniel Buren has recently been an inspiring figure, with his distinctive modern and minimalistic style. His approach is characterised by a strong conceptual framework that challenges the traditional boundaries of art, merging the aesthetic with the social and engaging with the urban landscape in a way that is both international and free-thinking.

Franz-Josef Baur (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

The entire art “system” can indeed be restrictive, bound by unspoken rules that seem elitist and arrogant, dictating what is recognised as ‘valid’ art. However, the landscape is shifting, opening up numerous opportunities for artists to exhibit work in unconventional spaces. Recently, I was asked to show some works on the billboards of NYC Times Square which I see as a testament to this evolution, affirming my belief that art is transcending the confines of traditional gallery spaces.

What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

Evoking emotions in the viewer and prompting them to pause for a moment. Through my art, I aim to provide an opportunity for people to reflect on what they see and engage with their own emotions. It deeply fulfills me when my works establish a connection and leave a lasting impression.

Franz-Josef Baur (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

Where can our readers and art lovers purchase your works online?

I primarily do online sales, using Instagram and other social media platforms to showcase and sell my artwork. Art enthusiasts and readers interested in purchasing my works can reach out to me through these channels, and they are welcome to contact me at any time for further inquiries or to make a purchase.

What is your favorite museum in Europe?

I can’t name just one! But the Tate Modern, with its imposing architecture and avant-garde contemporary art exhibitions, never fails to leave me in awe. The combination of the museum’s striking building design and its thought-provoking displays of modern and contemporary art makes it a must-visit destination for anyone passionate about artistic innovation and expression.

What about your favorite museum in Vienna?

The MAK (Museum of Applied Arts) and the Heidi Horten Museum are two of my favorite collections in Vienna. These museums resonate with me deeply as they uniquely showcase an extensive array of Pop Art and Experimental Art.

Franz-Josef Baur (image courtesy of Jenni Koller)

What is your ultimate mantra in life?

Generosity unlocks the fullness of life. If you give love, love comes back.

In my journey as an artist, I’ve discovered that generosity is not just a moral choice, but a creative one too. Sharing my work openly, engaging, and supporting fellow artists has not only enriched my own experience but also expanded the reach and impact of my art. To give freely of ourselves, our time, and our talents, we open up avenues for new inspiration, collaboration, and ultimately, a deeper connection with our audience and the world at large.

To discover more about FJBAUR and his artwork, head to his Instagram and website.

For more on the latest in art reads from across the globe, click here.

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