Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I am Lilly Friedeberg or “Elfriede” (25 years old) and I am a Berlin based illustrator, designer, and recently I also get the chance to work/assist as a set designer and stop motion animator.
I love collecting vinyl toys, all kinds of stop-motion movies, flea markets, the internet-tumblr-world, and collaborating with other artists or sketching for hours while dreaming of weird candy worlds and outer spaces.
How would you describe your style?
It’s always hard for me to describe what I am doing, but I want to try to explain.. I grew up with a big influence from Nintendo and Disney. I was in love with Mario and Yoshi. I loved those cute but also weird places you can hide for a while. Today I don’t play that much anymore but I still like to escape sometimes to colorful candy places! So I need to create my own worlds. :)
I always try to combine corny elements with weird or even a bit basely things. I would say I have a really dark and ironic humor which I always want to find in my work. Something can look so funny, friendly, and bright at the first sight and so mean and wrong on the second. For me its also important to not have this good guy/bad guy Disney image. I like characters that are good and evil and the same time :)
My illustrations also have a strong graphic influence. I like to draw icons and patterns. And I think its obvious that I am a bit addicted to candy colors!
What’s your inspiration?
My inspirations… I think there are several.
I get a lot of inspiration from the tumblr world. I created a reblog blog. I started to collect what I like and it helped me to understand me and my work better. I think that’s really important to my work. I see my work sometimes also like a way of editing everything that I saw into something new.
Then, of course, friends and other artists are a big inspiration for me.
I am inspired from the lowbrow art scene, Japanese manga and toys, Nintendo, food packages, and old board games.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends. Some pieces took of course longer than others. When I start a new illustration I normally draw a few versions until I am content, and than I choose one. I always start with a really rough sketch to have a plan in my mind.
How do you keep motivated?
That’s a good question. Sometimes I look at old illustrations I did and compare them with new ones. That really helps me, because I am really critical with myself. And when I see that I improve my style and techniques, I get motivated to go on and on.
For me, an also interesting aspect is the whole social network. On the one hand, its a big motivation and it helps you to connect and show your work to a bigger audience. But at the same time it can sometimes be really hard to not lose yourself if you see all this great artist out there. It’s important for me to try to get better, but at the same time to just have fun with what I’m doing and don’t take myself too seriously. ;)
And of course the feedback from my friends, family, and other creative people is really important and motivating for me!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Do something you really like, concentrate and be serious for ten years, and you will become really good!
What are your thoughts on art school?
I think there are some really good schools for design and art but honestly, I think for me it was more important to be in the right city (in my case Berlin) and to meet the right people. A city like Berlin can give you so much inspiration and show you all the great work of other artists from all over the world. This really helped me to find a way into my own style. There is also a lot to be learned at university, but in the end it’s what applies to everything: it’s what you get out of it. Of course a great university can show you a way, but you need to learn to motivate yourself as well.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I hope I will be able to travel a lot and to see and discover more!
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
I am still in the beginning and I also still learn a lot. But so far I can say: you really need to believe in what you are doing, work hard on it, and stay focused. I guess this is the typical answer, but it’s so true! And I have one good advice: Always finish a painting/illustration. Even when you realize in the middle of the process you don’t like it anymore. Finish it! :) You can always learn something from it and keep good elements for the next one.
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
I really like the honest, bright, and weird snapshot analog photos from my friend Resi, the great Fashion Label, “IndyAnna” and their little store in Berlin is always a inspiration for me! marco the graphic designer, and the work from Kohlen Pott.