Sandro Kopp is a fine artist from Germany, who is well-known for an abstract concept named “mediated presence”. He often explores the limits of classical painting and digital technology intersection. However, the artist is probably most famous for being in a relationship with the award-winning actress Tilda Swinton.
Early life, family, educational background
Sandro Kopp was born on 14 February 1978, in Heidelberg, then-West Germany. His mother Kayla was a lecturer and his father Hermann an architect, but they parents divorced when he was young.
Sandro graduated from University-Preparatory School in 1998 as Abitur with majors in English and Fine Arts. As his mother was a New Zealander, she invited him to live with her in Wellington. There, he taught and studied at an art school for approximately a year, afterwards moving to Nairn in Scotland, where he settled permanently.
Kopp’s love for drawing began at two years of age, and it never stopped; from his early childhood he knew that he wanted a career in art. Skill Institute was where his first exhibition was held, when he was only seven years old. Now, he owns a mobile studio which he can use whenever he feels inspired.
As he travels a lot, he found a successful way to paint portraits through Skype, which involves live sitting, which he’s been doing since 2009. This idea was born during a Skype call with one of his closest friends Waris Ahluwalia, who played the role of a guard in the movie ‘Darjeeling Limited’. At first, he painted his friend’s portrait merely for fun, but soon realized the exclusivity of this process.
The artist constantly strives to combine new technology media with traditional oil painting technique. In April 2010, he started working on ‘Not a Still Frame (Hybrid)’, an art series which involved capturing the actors filming on set via Skype. His partner, Tilda Swinton, was included among the rest of the people.
His style of painting figures with broad brush strokes combined with visual distortions and heavy pixilation becomes even more visible in his 2012 show, which entitled ‘There You Are’, took place in New York at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. It included paintings of art celebrities such as Ryan McGinley, Haider Ackerman and Waris Ahluwalia, all of whom were painted through Skype.
Two years later, Kopp organized his first solo show in Italy, naming it ‘Son Qui’, and held at Otto Zoo in Milan. With this occasion, he presented two works – ‘You Are There’ and ‘The New Me’ – one comprised of nude paintings of family and friends done through Skype, and the other was his own reflection, painted a few times over a month.
In 2015, he introduced ‘Feedbackloop’, his entirely focus beingon Skype. He painted figures and then re-painted them through a very slow Wi-Fi connection until they were completely abstract.
In 2016 he held his most recent series in Paris, named ‘Take Time’, moving his attention to his partner Tilda, and his circle of friends, and no longer using Skype as part of his medium. The show consisted of a collection of paintings he’d made in the past 13 years, of people sitting against simple backgrounds.
Personal life, partner Tilda Swinton
Little is known about Kopp’s personal life, as he prefers to keep it as private as possible.
However, his marriage to Tilda Swinton is something no one could keep out of the spotlight. They have been together since 2004, and have been going strong since then.
Tilda Swinton was born in London in 1960, but she identifies herself as Scottish due to her aristocratic heritage in Scotland. She went to West Heath Girls School, where she met and befriended the future Princess Diana. In 1983 she graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Political and Social Science, but noticed that she was enjoying acting more, so joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.
‘Caravaggio’ was the movie that marked her debut in 1986. However, she became famous only in 2000, when she played alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Beach’. Then seven years later, she was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in ‘Michael Clayton’. Lately, she acted in several popular movies, such as ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, ‘Doctor Strange’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ – in the latter two movies she played the role of Ancient One, for which she went as far as shaving her head to depict the character as accurately as she could.
Sandro and Tilda’s relationship is somewhat unusual. Before he met his wife, Kopp was in a relationship with Emma Williamson for four years, until the filming for ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ started, in which he played the nameless centaur, and the White Witch was played by Swinton.
During the film’s set, Sandro broke up with Emma through e-mail, explaining that he’d fallen in love with another woman. Tilda was in a relationship too, with John Byrne, the father of her only children: twins Honor and Xavier. Until 2009, both Kopp and Byrne were romantically involved with Swinton, living in the same house and stirring a lot of controversy. When she was asked about their relationship, she stated: “We’re all really good friends. It’s a very happy situation. Life doesn’t have to be complicated. You just have to have compassion with yourself.”
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
Painting and drawing have been Kopp’s passion ever since he was a child. He hasn’t disclosed any hobbies or activities he enjoys doing in his spare time. In one of his interviews, Sandro declared: “I have never had the sense that doing anything other than making art was a serious option for me.
Making cool stuff that I enjoy looking at has been my primary objective for as long as I can remember. Luckily some other people seem to enjoy looking at it too”.
- His mother and his art teacher always encouraged his painting and drawing skills.
- He is half German, half New Zealander.
- He was ranked on the list of most popular celebrities from Germany.
- He is active on social media, especially on his Instagram.
Appearance, clothing style
Sandro Kopp has brown eyes and natural black hair, although he has been seen often times with blonde hair. He likes wearing a beard, and incorporates a scarf in many outfits. His height is 6ft 3ins (1.91m) but the rest of his corporal measurements are unknown.
Net worth and salary
Kopp’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, while his partner Swinton has accumulated a net worth of approximately $14 million, but given her Scottish aristocratic heritage, it might be even more than that.