In the Studio with Pascal Sender. Words by Ieva Jasinskaite

How important was art to you when you were growing up?

I was interested from very early on, knowing I wanted to explore and go down this rabbit hole.  

You were born in Switzerland, studied in Germany and now you live in London. How do you think living in different places has affected your practice?

Every time I moved and changed my place of work I got a boost to try new things and develop a new skill set, activated by my new surroundings and educational environment.

Your latest show opened at Saatchi Yates recently. Can you talk a little bit about the concept behind the exhibition?

For a long time now I have been working on a series of paintings with figures on phones. Whilst painting the figures I taught myself how to add a digital layer of 3d paint on top. I did this by learning how to create an app from scratch myself by experimenting with various tests on the catalogue. This new skill took roughly two years to master, with a lot of tutorials for it to be useable and naturally placed. When I got the chance to work on the gallery’s inaugural show in these strange new times, this increased my drive to make the works come alive digitally. The end result is of course the works in the exhibition, which bring together the two layered artwork presented in a final succinct form.

Pascal Sender, Bet 7, 2018, 82 5/8 x 57 1/8 in. / 210 x 145 cm Oil on canvas, Image courtesy of Saatchi Yates


It appears to be an incredibly comprehensive exhibition, 18 oil paintings, the Augmented Reality component and an accompanying publication. How long did it take you to put it all together?

I began discussions with Phoebe and Arthur roughly six months before we opened the show. Ultimately, I knew I would have the works ready, but needed to put a lot of puzzle pieces together in this short time.

I am interested to know about the Augmented Reality component of your practice. Can you tell me how you have developed it and how it enhances your work? Would you say you are a new media artist?

I think I mostly found pleasure again in creating models in VR but I learned it with repeating tutorials or randomly clicking. I believe I can now paint in 3d with time integrated! Maybe I am now considered a new media artist, although I don’t want to categorise or limit myself. I do feel addicted to the options CGI brings you nowadays.

There is an evident interest in modern life within your work — quite a few paintings have people looking at their phones, taking selfies, waiting in large crowds, etc. What draws you to the scenes of contemporary life?

Contemporary Life as I am living it with all its components!

Pascal Sender, Chill 2, 2018, 74 3/4 x 59 1/8 in. / 190 x 150 cm Oil on canvas, Image courtesy of Saatchi Yates
I would like to know about your source materials and inspirations. How do you come up with ideas?

If I would just know where my inspiration is coming from I could control it better, but I think in recent years I started to find it online as well.

What is your studio set up like, do you have a set routine?

I’ll admit, I am not very organised, especially with my digital material. I split my day with working on the digital aspect for the first half of the day until I am ready to use my whole body to move around and paint. Sometimes in the evening I try out new tutorials to learn a new modelling skill.

How do you plan for a painting?

I don’t plan because that would destroy all the fun.

How do you see your practice evolving? Any plans you could share with us?

I am currently busy working on a VR multiplayer exhibition space where we could meet in virtual reality and look, talk or experience together.

Pascal Sender, Selfportrait, 2020, 78 3/4 x 57 1/8 in. / 200 x 145 cm Oil on canvas, Image courtesy of Saatchi Yates
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Courtesy of Saatchi Yates and Pascal Sender