Interview with a contract artist
Herr Blum, you come from Basle but have falllen in love with Zurich. How did that happen?
Inspired by Paris, my ex-wife and I were always fond of making trips from Basle to Zurich. The cosmopolitan atmosphere, the beauty and the fantastic range of artistic and advertising opportunities drew me there.
In the Hotel Adler you have painted 150 square metres of walls with Zurich subjects and your murals can also be seen at the Google headquarters in the Hürlimann area of Zurich. What do you wish to achieve with your work?
It is a pleasure for me to change rooms and to create a feeling of well-being. I would like to bring people together, who would otherwise have to look at a bare wall. However, the greatest pleasure is my own, since I have chose this occupation myself!
What has inspired you to paint the Zurich subjects in and around the Hotel Adler?
Walking around the town, again and again I have discovered new situations and photographed them. This has resulted in an exclusive view for every room – first photographed, then transferred to canvas in the studio. Apart from the Rosenhof Passage, where I have painted directly onto the walls.
Do you have a favourite subject?
Yes, the view from the Limmat quay in the direction of Lindenhof, with the nested houses on the Schipfe. A fascinating variety of subjects!
What connects you with Rudolf Koller?
Rudolf Koller was a contract artist, like myself! His ability as a craftsman fascinates me. And he also painted pleasure on the walls for people. My favourites are the very simple pictures of cows; I think they are very amusing.
Which areas of Zurich do you like best?
The completely preserved old town has even won over afficionados of Basle. This happens to me every time I show my friends from Basle the Zurich old town. From my home in Zurich I can be in the Pfannenstiel district in a quarter of an hour by bicycle – in the middle of nature. I think that is sensational. And when I am at the Hotel Adler, I am particularly pleased to see that they have Swiss wine on the menu. If I am hungry as well, I eat in the Swiss Chuchi restaurant, usually a fondue or raclette. Specialities, in fact!
Heinz Blum, many thanks for the interesting conversation!
In 1997 during renovation work, Heinz Blum brought the history of the Zurich old town to all of the 52 hotel rooms with large-format wall paintings and also painted the atmospheric Adler courtyard, an imaginary Zurich inner courtyard, on the inner walls over several floors. In 2004 Heinz Blum painted both banks of the Limmat of the old town on the walls of the roofed passage to the Rosenhof.