How did you get started doing what you do?
My interest in illustration arose from music and comics. While my interest in comics faded in my adolescence, it was seeing Adrian Tomine’s “Sleepwalk and Other Stories” as a 17-year-old that made me fall in love with it all over again and realize the possibilities of this medium. Furthermore, collecting music and seeing all the visuals that go along with it made it an obvious choice for me to pursue a profession in art and design. After doing a foundation program in design at School of Design Basel, I majored in illustration at College of Art and Design Lucerne. During my studies my interest gradually shifted from narrative-driven work to a more conceptual approach. The transition to have this work published as editorial illustrations happened pretty organically after graduating college. I’ve been freelancing and doing mostly editorials ever since.
How would you describe your creative style?
As I mostly work with collage, I sometimes incorporate photographs which are up to fifty years old into my illustrations. Usually I’m attracted to their painterly quality and color palette which can be rarely found in today’s reproduction. I am, however, also concerned that these elements are used in a way they serve an imagery that feels relevant today and their origin becomes secondary.I like how the editors of Socks Studio put it: “His works could be vaguely described as an improbable collision between the aesthetics of Wes Anderson’s stop-motion picture Fantastic Mr. Fox and the 1960’s Terry Gilliam’s surreal animations.”
What’s your inspiration?
I try to maneuver through every day with open eyes and to remain sensitive to what’s happening around me. Keeping up a drawing routine plays very much into that. Apart from that, fictional content or an atmosphere in mediums such as music or film can spark an idea. If I can follow a brief loosely I also choose the opposite approach which is to develop ideas out of appropriating techniques in image-making I have yet to learn, experiment with crossovers and see what I can apply to my work.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Ideally, I invest 4 days for a commissioned full page from sketch to finish. It’s happened that I’ve been in the situation where I had to break it down to one day. Even though this can be stressful I’ve come to appreciate the creative decisions such a short time span forces one to make. In my personal work my pace changes back and forth; I like making fast decisions but also allow the pieces to sit for a few days and hang them in my studio before I continue to work on them.
How do you keep motivated?
I find it vitalizing to visit exhibitions of other visual artists and experience their works in real life. Sharing a studio space and being able to observe other people’s processes has also been very valuable to me and helps to keep on pushing.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I think they have always subconsciously affected my work. Overall I think it is the encounters and relationships with people that influence my work the most.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s just work.
What are your thoughts on art school?
I most enjoyed being able to connect with people that shared the same passion. It is also one of the few times I’ve really felt encouraged to experiment and have it facilitated with workshops of all kinds imaginable. In terms of artistic freedom, it goes without saying that the real world doesn’t really compare. Depending on the field of illustration you plan on committing to, completing a task may come with compromises.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I hope to continue making work which is acknowledged for having a voice of its own. Other than that I’m open to everything that will come my way.
What’s your dream project?
I have an ongoing love for album artworks. Even though my work doesn’t stylistically compare, I hope to do be doing work which is similarly connected to great music as the visuals for bands like Soft Cell, New Order or more obscure synth pop acts.
What art supplies do you use?
People generally assume my work is done digitally. But since I feel working with scissors and paper allows me to maintain an element of coincidence in my work, I haven’t made that transfer and probably never will. I believe doing things by hand is overall beneficial for my work. I work with a Canon A3-Printer in order to reproduce photographic images. Other essentials are Rubber Cement, colored indian inks, watercolors, a variety of papers which I like buying secondhand, same goes for all my pictorial material which I usually gather from thrift shops or the side of the road.
Check out Daniel Lachenmeier’s website here!