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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Interview with Daavid Mörtl

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)My name is Daavid Mörtl. I illustrate. I was born in East Germany and live and work in Berlin. I studied Visual Communication. That’s how I got to illustration. Right now I am graduating.
I am very interested in the borderland between illustration and art. An illustration, unlike a piece of art would have to get to a certain point much quicker. To me a really valuable illustration still needs to have a certain depth, an interesting hint or reference. And it should need to get to this point either in a fashionable way as an expression of now or in a timeless and beautiful way.

q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?

a)Due the fact that I studied Visual Communication I never thought of calling myself an artist, even though I quite like this artist concept for myself.
It’s just different, to get attention by having an illustrated ad of yourself in magazines or a framed drawing in a gallery. Both is nice.

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)Because I love using lines any media of drawing is my favourite. Ink is nice and especially coloured crayons.

q) How would you describe your style?

a)Well, I guess it’s a very figurative style which deals with surreal elements within that.
A little twist maybe is my usage of lines and structures. It still makes me happy to create plasticity and structure with lines – a classical issue. I try to carry the classical modes of drawing into our time by using fashionable attributes.

q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?

a)A certain process maybe is to start several times. This isn’t a bad thing, as a good motivation gives you energy enough to start a second time. In fact it’s only getting better if you do something again.
Also it’s half of the work to just sit down and pre-draw everything in your mind. And as a matter of fact I only mean a mental sketch - to think about what will work and what won’t work, to think how a picture, a composition and how colours will work - that’s most of the work.

q) What are you working on at present?

a)I am still graduating. So recently my biggest job is my diploma. It’s going to be a book with illustrations to short texts by a German writer. The concept is that the illustrations are working like paintings – dense and heavy, kind of drawn-out, different than classical illustrations. The idea of a classical illustration mostly intends a certain time effort, something well looking but quick. The illustrations of my book will look like images in an art catalogue in terms of that they imitate the principle of referring to actual works somewhere on a gallery wall and weren’t related to a deadline or process which included stress.

q) What about recent sources of inspirations?

a)Post-modern paintings and paintings of the New Objectivity are some inspirations. Generally I just collect tons of images which inspire me.
But if I would rate, my sources of inspirations I would start with psychological inspirations. I am inspired by slightly scary or melancholic stuff, an Edgar Allan Poe text for instance. I am inspired by moods – an upcoming storm.
Then there are secondary inspirations which are useful to upgrade a main idea. They work like tools to get to your aim, like patterns, a new fashion gimmick, a television show, sub cultural references as well as a good prominent face.
To get a technically or formal inspiration it always works for me to study artists I like. Artists you like are the best inspirations if you study them good enough – look at every tiny detail – mostly you are surprised that you like them for quite simple reasons.

q) What are some of your obsessions?

a)My obsessions are definitely faces, bodies, characters, figures. Interesting toys and figurines for instance which refer to the human face or body can really amaze me.

q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

a)Just write me an e-mail and say hi.

q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?

a)Well, I am just starting. So my advice is more an intuition: Try to stay calm. Keeping an inner relaxation will make you judge your own work in a much clearer way. It is also helpful for getting more ideas. On a good day sometimes all of these little fragments and ideas, which used to confuse you, suddenly make sense and become something new and very useful. These classical moments under the shower are very valuable.

q) Who are your favourite artists?

a)I love Neo Rauch. I also like a lot of these new romantic paintings. They express and illustrate what we are looking for nowadays – romanticism, mystics, poetry, secrets. David Thorpe is brilliant.
Also I love a lot of vintage illustrations, like Edward Gorey or the old Andy Warhol drawings. And if I start to think properly and turn away from the heavy impressive stuff more to simple things I figure out, that artist like Ian Stevenson or David Shrigley are so perfect because of there psychological jokes. And the condition why these jokes are so strong is one thing: formal plainness.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)Actually only picture books with the content I mentioned earlier: Postmodernism, New Objectivity, Surrealism, Neo Rauch. I feed myself visually.

q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?

a)To the Berlin concept of never fighting, never struggling, of knowing that life will always work out without putting too much effort in it and you never ever have to get up too early. That’s making you produce a lot less I guess.

q) your contacts.


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