Christop Koester is a freelance illustrator based in Berlin. Always on the run, Christoph is currently working on his very own book. We’ve talked about his work, inspiration and his plans for the future.
Kaltblut Magazine: Hi Christoph, could you tell us a bit about your artistic background.
Christoph: I’m an illustrator and artistically thinking person from Germany. I’ve studied Communication Design at the Folkwang University of Arts Essen and graduated from Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle. Now I’m a Berlin based freelance illustrator. In 2006 I co-founded a collective called STEPPENHEXE with some high school friends and it’s very stunning that we’re still working together from time to time as really good friends! In general I’m interested in experimenting with different techniques in the massive playing field of illustration.
Kaltblut Magazine: We are in love with your drawing in the book “Eine Woche der Aufrichtigkeit”. What was your inspiration for this project?
Christoph: Maybe five years ago I was thinking for the first time that I would like to work with this (182) legendary collage masterpieces of Max Ernst Une Semaine De Bonté (“A Week of Kindness”) but I never did the first move. Max Ernst first published the book in 1934. So this is the oldest graphic novel I know. Max Ernst produced these collages by using old catalog and pulp novel illustrations. I had the idea to paint over the collages of the first chapter “The Lion of Belfont”. I used acrylic paint to place my characters at the same position like in the original pieces of Max Ernst, so I changed the motif and the characters but I retained his compositions and I always used the same format. I also changed the title of the book in “A Week of Sincerity” and the first chapter in “The Long Nose Of The Observer”. I hope I’ve killed all nostalgia and links to any kind of era or age.
Kaltblut Magazine: What inspires you in general when you’re drawing?
Christoph: To see the next step…
Kaltblut Magazine: Do you have any mentor, artist that influences you?
Christoph: Once I’ve read a good sentence from Picasso (I don’t like his work at all) and he says “if you steal, steal from the best!”.
Kaltblut Magazine: You are currently working on your own book. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
Christoph: It was my Diploma in 2013 and I’ve worked on a book project together with Jörg Albrecht who writes the story. We both act like curators by creating a pseudo documentary illustration work about an imaginary artist collective called Neo Sincerity. The result is a nonlinear story, based on “found” documents of the group which tries to work with the material/structure and the way of thinking of Andrej Tarkowskijs movie “Mirror”. The clue is that Jörg and I had the idea to get the collective collapse with their project in our real book, but (damn) I never finished the book. So the imagined story has had come to life really unintentional.
Kaltblut Magazine: You also do create sculptures/Objects on your own. How did you get there?
Christoph: For me it seems like there is only one word to adequately describe this process: translation!
Kaltblut Magazine: Is this somehow related to your illustrations?
Christoph: What I try to say with “translation” is: sometimes it’s boring to only have a sheet of paper. You can only simulate dimensions but if you use wood or ceramics or other stuff you can create a “real” thing. I love the effect of transforming a shape/character/whatever into another media!
Interview by Nicolas Simoneau