Hanjo Schmidt grew up in Oberstdorf in the German Alps, and now lives and works mainly in Stuttgart. He has studied art, psychology and archaeology, and in his own words he ‘likes getting to the bottom of things, especially the complexities of human relationships.’ His large acrylic paintings nearly always feature naked skin, though more recently he has moved towards portraiture in a similar painting style.
He does not exhibit often, partly because his canvases are so large, but when he has shown his work it elicits powerful responses from viewers and reviewers alike. Hanjo Schmidt’s paintings are not always beautiful. They are not smoothed out or prettied up like the images in the advertising world; they don’t try to fob us off with false illusions. His images are relentlessly honest because they hint at transience and decay. In this way he avoids kitsch and voyeurism. Hanjo Schmidt is not a painter of nudes, but rather a soul painter. Every fibre of the bodies he explores, every nuance of skin colour, is an expression of an authentic, believable, identifiable human being.
Hanjo Schmidt’s website is here, and his Instagram account here. If German is one of your languages, there is an in-depth ‘Meet the Artist’ YouTube video from 2016 made by Boesner TV, which you can watch here.
We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri for introducing us to the work of this artist, and for supplying most of the images.