Tagged: germany
  1. 20

    Nov 2015

    Fashion Fridays ~ Gerd Grimm (1911 – 1998)

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    Gerd Grimm was born 1911 in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1929 he began his studies at The State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe under the tutelage of German painters Wilhelm Schnarrenberger and Karl Hubbuch, and later attended The Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg. In 1933 he moved to Berlin continuing his art studies at Berlin University of the Arts. Graphic designer, Oskar Hermann Werner Hadank, was his professor was among others. It was also here that Grimm met his met his partner and future wife, Hilde van Gülick.

    Grimm finished his studies around the same time Nazis were gaining power. He started a promising career in illustration, receiving commissions for covers of prominent fashion magazines such as Silberspiegel, Die Dame and Elegante Welt. He also provided artwork for cigarette brands Muratti Ariston, Reemtsmas Ova, and sparkling wine, Kupferberg. However, by 1935, with the introduction of The Nuremberg Laws, Grimm was labelled a “Half-Jew.” Aware of his dwindling career opportunities in Germany, he decided to move to Le Havre, Paris.

    His relocation to France did not last as long as he intended and returned to Berlin the following year. However, due to increased pressure on Jewish citizens, Grimm and Hilde emigrated again, this time to England. And for a second time they returned home. He did manage to get work, but only with the help of Hilde and amicable publishers. During this period, he and his drawings became disconnected, culminating in not signing much of his work. This disconnection cultivated a deep anxiety against public appearances. Also during the Second World War his Berlin apartment was destroyed along with many of his early works which served to further deepen the creative mire he was in.

    Post-war, between 1945 and 1951, Grimm was far more productive. He had a drive akin to a young raw artist, thriving in an environment without restrictions. He began working for fashion magazines again. In particular Die Frau (The Woman), which in it’s relatively short run from 1946 to 1950, Grimm produced 61 of the 90 covers. During this time, Grimm was doing much better financially and decided to take a trip to New York. There he found work easily and was in demand from American magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Esquire. Though they thought about staying, ultimately his wife felt homesick, and so the couple returned to Germany.

    Now an international illustrator, Grimm’s work and reputation preceded him. Allowing him the freedom to take on a wide range of illustration and design projects for swimwear, clothing, perfume, cigarette and whisky companies. Also drawing book covers, notably for Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, and Thornton Wilder.

    At the end of the 1950s, Grimm entered a deal with cigarette company Reval. Creating multiple posters fitting with the pop art movement, expressive colour choices such as blue faces and green hair. Grimm had updated his style to match current trends but was careful not loose everything that made his artwork so distinctive.

    He did not really correct his lines. He would keep all his strokes regardless, eschewing perfection. Another one of his notable techniques was to leave large portions of the image incomplete, hinting at, and purposely omitting details leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks.

    Thanks to his success, mostly due to his Reval commissions, Grimm took Hilde and their son around the world. Travelling to New York again, as well as California, Alaska, Antigua, South America, South Africa, and the Far East. He produced hundreds of illustrations during his travels. Unpolished, expressive, often intense illustrations of everything from subway passengers and street musicians to Bolivian slums and deserted villages. Much of this work has never been published.

    To the best of my knowledge, there has only ever been two exhibitions dedicated to Gerd Grimm. Both in Germany, and both celebrating the centenary year of his birth. “Gerd Grimm’s 100th Birthday: Fashion, Girls, Megacities” at the Kunsthalle Messmer (Messmer Foundation) and “The new elegance: The fashion designer Gerd Grimm” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg). In 2014, his work was featured in the UK exhibition “Drawing on Style: Four Decades of Elegance” at Gallery 8, alongside other great fashion illustrators including René Bouché, René Gruau and Carl Erickson.

    The best place to find out more about Gerd Grimm is on the Grimm Foundation website.

  2. 17

    Nov 2015

    Andreas Deja

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    Andreas Deja is an animator and the genius behind some of your favourite Disney villains. Born 1957, in Gdansk, Poland, he and his family moved to Dinslaken, Germany, in 1958. When he was eleven years old he watched Disney’s Jungle Book for the first time. Its impact was instant and everlasting, right after seeing the movie, Deja was inspired to become an animator. Around the age of fourteen he began to attend life drawing classes and frequently go to the zoo to study the animals and their movement. Following a short stint in the army, he spent three years studying graphic design at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany.

    Deja began a correspondence with one of the Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” Eric Larson. Larson was heading up the Disney training program and during a visit to Germany, the two met. Larson was impressed with Deja’s portfolio and accepted him onto the training program. In 1980, Deja moved to Los Angeles and started training at the Disney studio.

    From the beginning, Deja sought as much mentorship from the people that inspired him as a child. Out of the Nine Old Men, most were retired, but Deja was determined. Slowly over the course of a few years, he managed to meet up with seven out of nine of the famous animators. All with the intention to one day publish a book of their advice and guidance.

    Whilst at the Disney training program, Deja’s portfolio began to make an impression, earning unanimous praise. Word spread to Joe Hale, a senior animator and one of the writers on the upcoming feature film The Black Cauldron. Hale saw Daja’s drawings and asked him to work on the film’s pre-production. Deja would subsequently work on the feature until the end.

    Deja moved on to other great projects such as animating the Queen in the Great Mouse Detective (1986), Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), King Triton from The Little Mermaid (1989), adult Hercules from Hercules (1997), and Lilo from Lilo & Stitch (2002). Let us not forget all the eccentric villains he has animated, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (1991), Jafar from Aladdin (1992), Scar from The Lion King (1994), and Alameda Slim from Home on the Range (2004).

    In 2006, the Animation industry showed their recognition and appreciation for over two decades of hard work by being awarding Andreas Deja the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to the art of animation. In 2015, he was named a Disney Legend by the Walt Disney Company.

    This year also saw the culmination of his regular visit to his idols and mentors in the form of the book, The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from Disney’s Great Animators. An insightful look behind-the-scenes of Disney that shares the foundation of timeless characters.

    Though there is not yet an official list, Deja has often been referred to as one of Disney’s “Nine New Men”, along with animators Glen Keane, and James Baxter. Deja is currently working on an animated film called Mushka, which is planned to be release in 2016.

    In 2011, Andreas Deja began Deja View a blog showcasing his own work, his inspirations, as well the work of the early Disney animators. He also shares his views on a range of animation subject. Quite simply, it is a treasure trove of information and beautiful images and an absolute must for anyone interested in Disney or animation.

  3. 4

    Jun 2015

    Christoph Niemann

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    Christoph Niemann is an award-winning illustrator, artist, and author. Born in Waiblingen, Germany in 1970, he studied Graphic Design at the State Academy of Fine Art in Stuttgart, between 1991 and 1997. After completing his studies, Niemann moved to New York and began his career as an illustrator.

    In 2010 he was bestowed the honor of being inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall Of Fame. The only club that can boast Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Andy Warhol and Jim Henson as members.

    So, how did Christoph Niemann get his name included among such greats in less than 15 years?

    Well, his path has been an expensive one, which has seen his work go from strength to strength both personally and commercially. It has seen him work with esteemed publications such as The New Yorker, Time, Wired, The New York Times Magazine. As well as leading corporate clients include Google, Amtrak, Herman Miller and The Museum of Modern Art.

    Niemann is habitually starting projects and in July 2008 he started writing and illustrating Abstract Sunday (previously known as the whimsical Abstract City) as part of the New York Times blog. A personal series in which he explores New York, pop culture, food, music and family life. Using a cross-section of media, from the tradition to the not so traditional, such as Lego, napkins, and leaves. The visual and often abstract series was (and still is) hugely popular putting Christoph Niemann’s name on everyone’s lips. In 2012 Abrams Books compiled sixteen chapters of the blog into highly praised Abstract City.

    Abstract City is one of his many books and projects. More recently Niemann released an interactive picture book for iPad and iPhone called Petting Zoo. Where, quite simply you get to swipe and tap 21 hand-drawn animals in the most amusing, adorable and soothing way.

    For Niemann, concept and visuals go hand-in-hand, he never compromises on either one and is always taking a different approach to best convey the narrative or message. He often plays with our preconceptions and pokes fun at the status quo. Unafraid to be politically contentious nor unashamedly straightforward. The strength of Niemann’s work lies in its clarity and its ability to instantly connect with the viewer. No matter how simple his illustrations sometimes appear, they always invite the viewer to look again.

  4. 19

    Dec 2014

    Laura Müller

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    Laura Müller aka Laumii is a comic artist and illustrator from Berlin, Germany. She has contributed to Undo’s Mega Man Tribute, and Subway to Sally Storybook. Ms Müller is the artist of Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits. Written by Vera Greentea, the first two volumes were funded by Kickstarter and the third volume is live on Kickstarter now.

    The vibrant and very cute illustrations of Laura Müller have a very lively quality to them. Though her style tends to lean towards manga, a western animation influence is very visible. Mr Müller has a varied colouring technique, all very strong, but I think her watercolours and her digital paintings are perticularly pleasing.

    You can find more of Laura Müller’s work on DeviantArt and tumblr.

  5. 12

    Feb 2014

    Wilhelm M. Busch (1908 – 1987)

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    William Martin Busch was born in Breslau, Germany. His father was a painter and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw. During Mr. Busch’s professional life he jumped from decorative painter to press illustrator, freelancing as artist, then sharing his wisdom as a teacher. Not least, amidst it all, illustrating over 300 books. Duly earning recognition and the distinguished Edwin Scharff Prize.

    Mr. Busch’s style ranges from meticulous and realistic renders, to loose and speedy sketches. Of which his entire gamut is equally enchanting. Personally, I am besotted by Mr. Busch’s more relaxed linework. He could capture the essence and gesture of a moment at a level that is rarely achieved.

    There are a couple of great websites that feature a ton of Wilhelm M. Busch’s work, head to Hans Bacher’s blog and Deja View.

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