Can you please provide us with a brief introduction to who you are and how you began creating your wonderful world?
Hello nice to e-meet you! I am Friederike, currently living in Hamburg, Germany. I would describe myself as a visual artist, which started with illustration, exploring animation and now is fascinated by 3d. I’m enjoying to combine different media/expressions to create my emphatic but also weird experience. The interdisciplinary work allows me to think and create (also trough collaborations) in a wider and denser range. When I grew up, I never really created on an artistical purpose..as a kid, I just played around often inspired by other media or stories. I wanted to be part of that fantasy worlds so I just became their creator, trough art/drawings. (haha)
It seems as though your imagined universe contains its own rules and internal logic, can you explain to us the philosophy that governs your work?
I think as an artist you observe a lot and also get inspired my almost everything. I try to keep it very emphatic that people can relate to, but also fascinating in a way that is exciting, by showing something unusual, to generate some imagination and escapism. Continuously challenging myself to find new ways to express. In a reflective way, I love to play with voyeurism or brutal pop, to gently shock or amuse my audience. The important game is to balance, like life itself.
I see in your work an appreciation for Manga and American comics, but also allusions or references to eastern spirituality, sex, mischief, kawaii and even irony or humor. With this unique blend of characteristics and traits, your work becomes quite outstanding. How do you think these ingredients came together as your unique visual language?
Haha, thank you for recognizing it! Even when my form of creation is energetic and pop I always try to include something fragile and volatile. Something that is hidden but omnipresent, if you want you can call it soul or consciousness. In life, I try to don’t limiting myself in mind and heart. If you stay open you will recognize the connecting beauty in everything. This is what I want to reflect in my art through a wide range of appreciations. An unfiltered remix of life, everything exists simultaneously and we are a force of it: life.
You work in many forms from 3D modeling to digital illustration and I would infer analogue drawing also. Before creating a character or producing a story, do you plan their elements or just let them come to life as you create? Which method is better and why?
It depends a bit on the project, but when I create a character I normally start on the formal level, which means to draw something that makes me exciting, something where I can feel the energy. Being so free at the beginning helps the character to bring its own story to you, so you don’t have to burst your head, but as I said it depends on the project.
Can you walk us through the process of creating a new character from beginning to ending? This would include the software you use, how you make the voices etc.?
Please don’t laugh… I draw all my stuff in adobe animate, because for my linear style it’s very intuitive to use and I can easily adjust everything + it is vector and I can directly animate in the same program. For the 3d sculpting, I use Zbrush, because of its intuitive interface. But for the future, I really want to learn blender. For the moment sadly I’m unable to animate my stuff on the 3d level, but I will work on that. My workflow usually starts in 2d, I draw something – from that sketch, it’s easy for me to level it up into the next dimension because you know your creation, the proportions the appearance you can imagine everything out of the sketch. When I need voices for example by www.widewake.earth I recorded it by myself, but just because I was a bit overwhelmed by the work scale, after the recording, I had professional help with a sound designer (Julian Jaschke). In the end, it just has to feel right, for supporting the emphatic level.
The way you create eyes is so full of emotion and personality. What do you think it is about the eyes that so captivate you?
Short and sweet: imagine the eyes as a gate through the soul. The eye as something that unifies. In life it reminds me to recognize the soul in my neighbor, in art it helps me to maintain a connection, eyes communicate on a universal emotional level.
Which type of pop culture do you like? Can you give us a playlist, with possibly a great album or song, a film to watch, a comic to read or anything else that you may recommend?
I often start working by surrounding myself with everything I adore. I open several books and spread them all over the table or watch a movie to get in an inspired mood. As you see I really like the visual language of the Asian, especially Japanese art, like Hokusai, Keiichi Tanami, Kazumasa Nagi, Ikko Tanaka, Takanori Yokoo, Mitsuo Katsui, also Hieronymus Bosch, the pop of Tom of Finland, Heinz Edelmann the Chicago imagists, David Lachapelle, Antwan Horfee. I love Akira Toriyama’s humor. In music, I listen to almost everything it depends on what mood I need. Movies, of course, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Metropolis, all Ghibli films, I love the unique quality of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, also Quentin Tarantino style, etc.
Your Bimbaders campaign is so artistically quirky and visually phenomenal. Do you think you would ever create a Tv show or movie with your characters as the stars?
Wow, thank you so much! That was such a nice and impressive project!!! I was blessed with so many talented people who helped me to bring my universe to reality! I’m very grateful for the opportunity and the final output. I still can’t believe how exciting everything was. BIG THANKS TO THE AMAZING TEAM HERE! I would love definitely to create something more sequential in motion! So, hello collaborators/world/clients lets do it!!!
All images with courtesy of Friederike Hantel