Category Archives: Japan – Switzerland

THE LAST TEN YEARS: A Path to Awareness Intelligence

Photo 2012
BROKEN CULTURES (Mathias Sager, 2017. Oil on wood panel, 53 x 45 cm)
Photo 2022

Looking back to the last 10 years*, 7 in Japan, 3 in Switzerland, it feels exciting, like having entered a second life. Without shame of losing face, studying, and practicing. A learning path to Awareness Intelligence.

*Yes, sometimes I also look back … to learn without regret and without pressure to live up to a story others want to create for us.


Commonly unspectacular, a Swiss citizen’s life
Eastward with the goal to further thrive
When I arrive in the land of the rising sun
Cultural clashes, there I’m Mathias Sager san

I would not have believed my greeting future
Lost identity, emergence of an actualized father
Through the eyes of a child, with a child, for a child
A new land, far away, yet an inner view that died

Different, knowing, growing, fallen out of favor
Refusing the call to fight, love seemed braver
The shallowness of business passing by these eyes
Remembering my daughter, and the world of lies

I’m doing it again; the challenges are teachers
And teaching shall I be against the treacherous
Conditional “love”, which I find our time’s disease
If I can’t adapt, never will we have more peace

Curtains of tears are my entrance to the light
Working all day and night, this path seems right
Barriers bridged by worded paintings, painted poetry
The magic of the three, third career that’s necessary

My friends, the books alone stand by in times of loss
I do not fear death anymore; this pond I cross
At the same time, obstacles, and sources of energy
Putting into practice what I’ve studied in psychology

I was looking for happiness and found meaning, yes
When I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless
Knowledge from the heart because reason is blinding
The love for you gives purpose to everything

Civilization, shallow pleasures; they just exist
In nature, I resist; in privileges, I don’t insist
Inspired, I’m back to follow the calling
An artist’s fitness, kindness, and wisdom, I’m all in

Trinity warriors: A loving mother and father fight for a child’s right for both parents

As with predominant dualistic thinking, (parent-children) relationships are also wrongly understood as between two parties. It seems to be the insecure ego’s desire to own a person. A trinity warrior, on the other hand, doesn’t have to control through exclusive possession. Instead, he or she recognizes an individual’s right to be complete by one’s own and to maintain other relationships with both parents too.

Take the mother, who can separate her romantic bonding from exclusive rights on the common child. Look at the father, who respects the child’s need to have a mother and a father. Real adults know that balanced and meaningful contact with each parent in everyday life is a most powerful predictor of a child’s future health, well-being, and positive social functioning. Responsible parents respect that maternal and paternal parenting is equally vital for a child’s well-being.

Time distribution arrangements that ensure the involvement of both parents in essential aspects of their children’s everyday lives and routines—including bedtime and waking rituals, transitions to and from school, and extracurricular and recreational activities—are likely to keep nonresidential parents playing psychologically important and central roles in the lives of their children. The insecurely egoistic parent, in contrast, practices parental gatekeeping and works towards alienating the other parent to let their selfish urge win over reason and the well-being of others. That’s not right; we all can feel it. And, there is plenty of research showing the benefits of shared/joint parenting(  

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Life Patterns (Poems & Paintings) – BOOK

3 x 19
Poems and paintings captured
along the Happy Colorful Growth path
of life.

For my daughter Natalie.
Tokyo, Summer 2018.

Mathias Sager

mathias-sager-life patterns-happy colorful growth-book-painting-poetry

36 Days of Happy Colorful Growth

However it looks like, it feels the process. 36 days of compound effect. Daily happy, colorful growth reflection. Can’t wait to add the next growth ring.


Mathias Sager “36 Days of Happy Colorful Growth”, Oil on Canvas, P12 606 x 455 cm

United Colors of Humanity (Japan-Switzerland painting series)

#081 United Colors of Humanity (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, F8, 455×380)

According to the Happy Colorful Growth spirit, my paintings do happen (not always obviously) in the areas of (1) Japan – Switzerland, (2) Charging, (3) Female nature, and (4) Life water. I paint, although not within clear boundaries, “City scenes & Landscapes”, “Figures & Creatures”, and “Abstracts & Patterns”.

  1. Japan – Switzerland painting series
  2. Charging painting series
  3. Female nature painting series
  4. Life water painting series

For most work I use professional water mixable oil colour (Winsor & Newton) that are designed to look and work like traditional oil paint, because they can be used without hazardous solvents. I mostly use wood panel or canvas panel (board).

Current ‘Happy Colorful Growth’ painting

1. Thought on art/painting

Art can express the inexplicable. That’s  a remarkable potential we have because we still can’t explain the most important things, such as why there are ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ and what to do about it. Limitations in expression are limiting the thinking (yes, also this way round). We feel that there is something, somewhere in us, that holds more answers than we can explain with words. Art/painting is a key to the next human breakthrough in consciousness.

2. Most recent paintings


#76 Lake bed (Life water painting series,

Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, F10 530 x 455)

Continue reading Current ‘Happy Colorful Growth’ painting

Recent ‘Happy Colorful Growth’ Paintings

I do paint to show my soul that I am listening.

I believe the creative process is a key to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.


#66 Nature fights back (Mathias Sager, Oil colour water mixable on wood panel (F12 60.6 cm x 50.0 cm)


Continue reading Recent ‘Happy Colorful Growth’ Paintings

Japan – Switzerland painting series

#081 United Colors of Humanity (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, F8, 455×380)

mathias-sager-culture-shock-201704#75 Culture shock (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, M10 530 x 333)

mathias-sager-broken-culture-painting-201703#73 Broken Cultures (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, F10, 530 x 450)

mathias-sager-lost-city-painting-20161224#71 Lost city (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, P10 530 x 410)

mathias-sager-red-ladder-facade-painting-20161130#70 Red ladder facade (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil color on wood panel, M12 606 X 410)

mathias-sager-samurai-make-up-painting-20161112#65 Samurai Make-up (Mathias Sager, oil colours water mixable on wood panel (F10 530 x 455)

mathias-sager-facade-painting-20161105#64 Facade (Mathias Sager, Oil colours water mixable, 3 wood panels each 33.3 x 19.0 x 1.2 cm)

#54 Osaka (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 8F 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″)
#51 Yoyogi Park II (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″)
#048 Land of the Rising Sun (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))
#039 Alp village (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″)
#035 No radiation (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 27.5×22.1×0.4 cm (10.6″x8.7″x0.16″))
#034 No littering (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 27.5×22.1×0.4 cm (10.6″x8.7″x0.16″))
#031 Yoyogi park (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))
#028 Never again Fukushima (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″))
#026 Tomigaya / Uehara hills (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board (53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))
#025 Kanji II (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))
#024 Shinjuki construction site (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″)). Given away.
#022 Old bridge in Kyoto (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 33.5×24.3×0.4 cm (13.2″x9.6″x0.16″))
#019 Kanji I (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))
#018 Wakkanai fish market (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil painting on canvas board, 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″))
#017 Shiatsu (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 27.5×22.1×0.4 cm (10.6″x8.7″x0.16″)). Given away.
#014 Happy Japanese dinner (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46x53x0.4 cm (18.1″x20.8″x0.16″))
#012 Playful Kanji (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46x53x0.4 cm (18.1″20.8″x0.16″))
#004 Homey Japanese village (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 41.1×31.8×0.4 cm (16.2″x12.5″x0.16″))
#002 Sapporo-Pontresina (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 46.7×38.1×0.4 cm (18.4″x15″x0.16″))

Art / Paintings

All Art

(mathias sager – Psychology & Art)

Hello Mathias! Tell us a few words about yourself. What does a typical day look? Do you just do art, or is art just part of the picture?

Hello! Thank you very much for having me! I’m an artist, although I’m a psychologist too. I’ve decided to work part-time to dedicate sufficient time to art, painting, and related writing. During my job in a youth home as a work/learning coach, I also enjoy introducing and motivating young people to the unlimited possibilities of art, which is an insight and experience that I consider essential for personal development. In everyday life in my residential studio, I can’t wait to get up and immerse myself in the inspiring environment of finished and works in progress, their forms, colors, and meaning. This doesn’t necessarily mean early mornings, as I often paint deep into the night following intuition and inspiration as they come and flow. That way, art is always present in my daily life as a means of self-expression and empowerment of others.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

Yes. The pivotal point was when I was driving by a little homeless girl in the streets of Mumbai, India, during a business trip. The girl was about the same age as my daughter. As we looked each other in the eyes, I could no longer stand my relatively ignorant and wasteful lifestyle as a businessman. Instead, I felt to have to dedicate my life to more meaningful activities. A bit later, I lost my daughter through gatekeeping and parental alienation, representing a loss that couldn’t be worse. This cemented my pursuit of creating (painting and writing) for a more just and peaceful world. I was later able to travel to India again, this time as a psychologist and artist on a social mission. Art is a means to staying connected with my beloved daughter, the street girl in Mumbai, and all humanity. I feel satisfyingly obliged to do what I do, I see meaning in it, and it makes me happy that art always offers new opportunities to learn and teach. In this sense, it was not a decision in the sense of a career decision to become a painter, but a logical and constantly evolving consequence of cultivating the belief in the necessity and possibility of visualizing the invisible and being able to manifest positive changes. Now, after more than seven years of consistent and dedicated work, I think a professional artist’s identity has started to crystallize in a way that hopefully helps my mission going forward too.

Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.

The outer world can be photographed; the inner world I have to paint. I’m capturing inner pictures and dream- and vision-like forms and ambiances that often seem to lack precision, although they are worked out into details just enough to hint at what could be meant. Acrylic paints are my medium of choice as they allow me to overpaint and layer quicker to get rough surfaces and create structures. I like to use not only brushes but to press, scratch, grind, and polish with any objects like sticks, sculpting toys, sponges, and whatever I find in my atelier. Harmonic expression through appealing forms, their distribution, and intense coloring is essential to me, as is the choice of diverse formats to capture this aesthetic. Human contours often appear on my art, sometimes even emerging in unexpected ways during the process. This isn’t surprising, though, as my psychology and art always revolve around the topic of developing human potential.

You’ve lived in Tokyo and also in Pune/India. How much is your art influenced by travel, and different cultures?

After leaving my home country permanently for so many years, I had consciously and unconsciously radically forgotten my social identity. I recognized the random and relative nature of the particular cultures into which we were born. A more global mindset than ever has certainly contributed to a diversity of my thinking and, consequently, to subjects and painting styles. From a technical point of view, learning to write Japanese characters has influenced my love for characters and shapes. Since Kanjis are often pictographic representations of objects and meanings, they have further inspired and trained my sense of symbolism. From India I have a deep love for earthy and bright colors; think spices, textiles, landscapes.

You say psychology and art belong together. Tell me more about that connection, and your process of making an artwork.

For me, art situates between science and intuition, intellect and emotion. Mostly, my creations start with thought patterns that arise from (self-)reflection. I visually process these into a piece of art, and eventually, I become the emotionally reacting and revising spectator of the work. The purpose of my psychology is less the pursuit of a conventional notion of happiness than the one of a more profound sense of meaning. That is why the fascination of ingenuity beyond mere “decorative” beauty is important to me. Art helps me to clarify and imagine a meaningfully courageous world of social criticism and renewal, to find the true self, unconditional love and the connection with all of humanity. I hope to inspire many more with the combination of psycho-philosophical texts with paintings for individual well-being and the common good.

Which artist of the past would you most like to meet, and why?

I enjoy the works and admire the lives of many artists of the past and present, but I refuse to be influenced by others; it would be contradictory to the unlearning of social conditioning that I promote. I want to show my true self, not my educated self. I want to be universally human and not a disciple of any particular doctrine. Many artists I’d be most interested in possibly didn’t become famous enough to be discoverable. At the same time, I’m not sure if it is always a good sign for the famous artists to have been selected to fit into the history books of wars, humanitarian crises, and ongoing environmental degradation. While I’m optimistic regarding human potential, it often appears that the world didn’t become a healthier, happier, and more peaceful place so far. I’d like to meet future artists who not only contribute to a revamp of capitalism but who do increase awareness of true humanism. Nevertheless, if I could go back and meet an artist of the past, I would meet somebody like young artist Adolf Hitler and try to help him through the difficult times of his ruined dream to become a professional artist as he saw it after repeated rejection by modern art institutions. As a result, he lived in frustration and self-doubt and out of need to survive as an artist in cheap apartments and even homeless shelters. If he had felt worthy, accepted and capable despite the rejection of others, he may have continued to paint Mother Mary with the Holy Child, quiet houses on lakes with mountains and seek peaceful creativity instead of following destructive external power and confirmation as the dictator of the Nazi regime.

Share some interesting facts about your art with us.

As I do with Zen Shiatsu massages, for example, energy is put into the work. That’s why the originality of every piece is important to me. Every painting contains a spirit. Interestingly, people who acquired my paintings often stay in contact with me, and as they travel the artworks travel with them and the positive energy expands too.

Could you expand on your concept of ‘Awareness Intelligence’?

Today’s scientific and popular notion of social intelligence is still limited to “me” and “we.” As I published in my psychology dissertation, I’ve systematically added the extra-personal level of ‘they, all humanity’ to a coherent framework combining all social/human connectedness levels to all modes of time (the past, present, and future). The socio-temporal spot(s) our thinking mostly orients towards creates our worldview that has significant psychological and behavioral implications. Most of today’s problems stem from a lack of awareness related to the extra-future, i.e., the consistent thinking about how we connect to all humanity and the future. This may sound logical and easy; however, to truly making the extra-personal future to one’s purposeful identity requires the ability to abandon much of the desire for (material) security, giving up the need for approval from others, and radically accepting our very own mortality, respectively, our true essence that is the soul. More detailed explanations and illustrations about the concept, applications, and benefits of Awareness Intelligence can be found on my blog

Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?

Art is inherent to the services I offer as a psychologist and vice versa. I always welcome people in my atelier for self-reflection and painting experiences. In terms of shows and projects, I’m currently preparing for a contribution to the book ‘Artists Anthology. Contemporary Art 2021: Madrid Edition.’ which will be presented at the Fine Arts Circule in Madrid to clients, artists, art galleries, and cultural institutions on October 15th, 2021. Copies of the ISBN registered book will be deposited in the National Library of Spain. Also, I got invited to exhibit chosen works at the ‘M.A.D.S. contemporary physical gallery’ in Milano in February/March (on the topic of ‘Gaia’), including a multimedia-setup, digital channels, live streaming, and reportage with critical reviews and catalog of the exhibition.

Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?

Absolutely, as it hopefully became evident from my previous answers. Art is the most serious thing in the world, albeit business is often seen as such. As I understand it, art is about finding the true meaning of life and a deeper sense of existence, exploring the true and visible beauty of nature, and uncovering hidden potential and imagining ill-considered possibilities. Suddenly, not the overarching relevance of art but the ‘scarce resources’ game of (commercial) institutions appears to be trivial. It was never organizations that really started to change the world for the better, but rather individuals who bravely and artfully came forward to question the current state of affairs.

What are you currently working on, and what is next for you?

I’m working on becoming stronger, more self-sufficient, and radiating the change I want to see as a role model myself. On that journey, I’ve experienced that inspiration never fails to show up precisely in the right moment. Therefore, I haven’t planned anything else than staying dedicated, listening/watching and expressing in my art what’s showing up inside. I know exactly my direction towards making a significant difference for a healthier and more peaceful world (individually and collectively), but not the exact path leading there. I trust that the dots will connect at some point going forward, be it during or after my lifetime.