A Holistic Approach To Art And Design With Marisa Burn-Pichler

We first stumbled upon Marisa’s work on her Instagram account @marisaburn and fell in love with her peaceful approach to art and design in combination with her entrepreneurial skills. We asked her to talk to us about her practice, her life as a working mum and as a general awesome woman.


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Hi Marisa! Tell us a bit about you: who are you and what do you do? Where are you based?

Hi, my Name is Marisa Burn-Pichler and I live and work in Zurich, Switzerland. I’m an interdisciplinary artist, activist and consultant. I’m exploring how we can shift our lives to a more creative state and how we can increase our overall well being. Questions such as: how can we bring more peace in all our lives and how can we build a strong community? How can we create a new mentality of kindness and compassion? How can we live an authentic, creative and playful life? These are the kind of questions that are the centre of everything I do.

Otherwise, I’m a painter and I make music and on the other hand I do creativity trainings and consulting for brands and personalities. Together with our clients we are working on the core of their brands and personal vision. Together we learn to be flexible again, being courageous and staying free and how to stay close to one’s own vision.

What is Burninglights and how did you come up with the idea for it?

Burninglights is a Brand and Creative Studio which creates products that act like little anchors reminding us to be in the moment. Even if it is just in these little moments like drinking tea or cleaning the kitchen. That’s why we created products like our Holy Mountain organic cleaners with essential oils - Swiss mountain pine, cinnamon and frankincense have the benefit to clean the atmosphere and help us to relax.

Burninglights is like a house for Ideas where I create all kinds of projects, products and events where time, spirituality, art and design come together. As an artist and designer it is kind of my duty to help people to step in to a new slower world with the help of the beauty of art.

I studied Postindustrial Design/ Process Leading at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel Switzerland. After I graduated in 2006 I founded my first creative agency and fashion & design blog Hopehope fashion & tendencies. As a pioneer in Switzerland everything was growing very fast. I wrote for our blog and we created concepts, advertising shootings, interiors and digital strategies for our clients. At some point, the advertising work naturally grew bigger and bigger and became more stressful to handle - I started thinking about what made me happy about the work. I didn’t like the process anymore. The lack of trust and respect from the industries and also the negativity around it made me question everything even more.

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Then, in 2013 became a mother for the first time. I gave myself a new perspective: I felt I needed to change or stop what didn’t suit me anymore. I stopped blogging and wanted to use the new time to get really inspired again. I still did the creative consulting and styling jobs until I became mother of my second child end of 2014. That was the most vulnerable time for me in my life. And I realised my job wasn’t for me anymore.

I felt like an observer of the fast world, and all the problems around regarding photoshoots and design briefs weren’t important in my life anymore. I stepped back and gave myself the permission to find out what I wanted to do.

I knew I wanted to bring that peaceful feeling I knew of to the people, but not in a classical psychological or esoteric way, I wanted to find my own tools to bring more light and joy into our world. I rented a beautiful new space in the heart of the city with a beautiful courtyard. There I founded my new agency and brand Burninglights, a concept store & creative space for everything that brings art, design, mindfulness and spirituality together. I started with products and simple paintings, and I’m still curious where this creative space will take me.

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In your work you talk about holistic approach: what do you mean by it?

A holistic approach to me means that we try to see and observe what’s around us. That we feel what’s within us and that we take care of of this beautiful planet and it’s residents.

“Everything is inclusive"

In this life we have factors like time, environment, passion, health, faith, growth, personal boundaries and our own sacred space. A holistic approach means for me to accept these factors and have an idea of how we want to use these.

You're also the cofounder of the Peace Club, can you tell us more about it and what is your role there?

I started the Peace Club with my husband Gigi Burn, who is also an artist, two years ago. We where tired of all the populists and the negative news in the media. We both are political but we talk another language. We just thought: "what can we do as artists to say this is not our opinion?“ We still believe in a world that can transform in something better, if we just don’t let us infect with all the fear and hate. We see what is going on in the world and that it is difficult, however we will not accept it. We find peace to make peace, even if it is in our own little atmosphere.
The manifest of the Peace Club is:

“I am a burning light, burning for love, peace & humanity.

I’m tired of fear and populism. It’s time for a loving world, a balance between diversity and equality. Join the Club of open Hearts, open Mind, Respect and Compassion. Be the change & make a statement!“
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We do merchandise for Peace, as if “Peace" is a rockstar and everyone wants to show that he is a fan of “Peace“. We created Shirts with "Peace Club" written on it, I wrote a manifest and invited the people to a small get-together with an intimate concert. All we did was holding space for a kind and openhearted atmosphere and this alone resonated with so many people joining the event. It was really powerful. Our goal is to create a new mentality of reacting with love instead than fear, and we try to create little events that spread this message. We work together with a little community of friends, artists and musicians. I’m basically the project leader.
My husband and I work in a very intuitive, spontaneous way together. If we have a feeling or an idea we just create it.

You seem to have your hands in a lot of places and activities and you're also a mum! How do you keep up with all of it?

I think it is an illusion "to work a lot“ and " to keep up“. What helped me was to find out what my personal boundaries are. How far can I go? What’s necessary and what is too much of a disturbance? Having a clear image of my Vision helps me to stay on my path. But it’s an up and down. I don’t believe in "the faster the better”. I think we have to create a new etiquette. How do we wanna communicate and what can we expect from others?

In other words, to keep it basic, I try not to loose myself. I invest in my daily short meditations, yoga, acupuncture and a lot of other personal development sessions. I try to be in the moment, with my husband and my kids but also my friends and family. And I try to keep my passions intact and a lot of beauty in my life.

You have been self-employed since your graduations from the University of Art and Design in Basel 13 years ago. Do you have any advice for all the women out there wanting to become self-employed?

Being self-employed was great for me to just do something new that nobody did. There wouldn’t be any other way for that. I worked many many hours in the beginning. After a few years I had to set up some boundaries like not reading emails all the time or giving myself some free time. But the most important is and was not to identify with my business. What I still have to learn is to negotiate better. I think it is really important to have an eye on your finances. You have to go for the good deals. What you have to offer is something where you put a lot of work in and that has its value. Especially as we still have to fight a little bit more in the creative industry for a better (and real) price.

What does your typical day as an artist based in your studio look like?

After I meditate in the morning I bring the kids to the school and kindergarten. I start the day in the atelier with opening the windows, lightening up an incense stick and listening to the fountain in our courtyard. I usually organise the day with a to do list setting my priorities. If it is a painting day I start to clean up the atelier and make some space on the floor for the papers and if everything is already beautifully set up I start to paint with an idea on my mind. After I paint, I let the paper dry and start the work on our new project BurnPichler - house of change which I founded with my sister Raphaela. Together with Raphaela and our client we talk about the clients vision and the first steps to get there. After the meeting I organise the shipping from our online shop and go to the postoffice.

But really, every day is totally different and thats what I like.

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If we looked through your everyday bag, what are the 5 top things we would find?

My Purse, the house keys, my iPhone, EarPods, and sunglasses.

Finally, what is coming next for you?

As we just started our new creative consulting agency and think tank Burn Pichler - house of change, I’m working a lot on creative processes, worksheets, presentations and events. We do personal creative consulting and brand consulting, where we help people and brands to be more authentic and innovative with their own creative tools. But we are also organising the next events with the Peace Club and some special events with Burninglights. Hopefully, I will also work on another exhibition with my paintings!


You can see Marisa’s work at:
Burninglights
Burn Pichler
And you can follow her @marisaburn