THE FINE PRINT: Your work is a mix between collages and illustrations, both digital and manual, as well as photo manipulation. How has it evolved over the years to achieve such a combination?
PIERRE SCHMIDT: From the very beginning I was into experimenting and dipping into the most different styles. That is what kept me engaged and helped me evolve further. Take a couple of years back, for instance. Back then I was still working with analogue drawings which I digitally edited in Photoshop. At some point I must have lost interest in it, or maybe I just got stuck somewhere. I went back to working with different forms of collages, which is something that I had tried doing years before. You see, none of the experiments with varying styles are in vain. There is always something that sticks, something that I can reuse in new projects.
TFP: How would you say your German heritage and your life in Berlin affect your artwork?
PS: I don’t believe that any of that influenced my work. The majority of my inspirational impulses I get from the world wide web, music or movies. I’m afraid Berlin doesn’t play a major role in that process.
TFP: What’s in your tool box?
PS: iMac working with Photoshop and my Wacom Tabl
TFP: You take us into a psychedelic, surreal world, where the mixed emotions and the subconscious of your characters are palpable. Their faces are often dripping away to what we could guess, is another dimension. It pulls us in as well and traps us there. What goes through your mind when creating a piece? What is your creative process into achieving such high emotions?
PS: To be completely honest with you, it is hard for me to tell. My head is basically turned on autopilot whenever I start working. I usually trust that feeling in gut, experiment, make a few drafts or decide to go into a completely different direction. It’s like being in a dream: all the impressions, experiences or wishes get together and form the framework of a story. A crude story on whose outcome you have absolutely no conscious effect or control. When you wake up next morning and you are lucky enough to be able to remember your dream, it often appears to be surreal or weird, that stuff your head made up over night. Me personally, I don’t think about that too much, about any sense or meaning. That is only secondary to me, if it matters at all.
TFP: Your human subjects are often classic, refined and innocent looking ladies from the 1900s. Their escaping minds are intertwined with beautiful, blooming flowers. What is your approach to feminity in your artwork?
PS: That ominous contrast between innocence, beauty and the subconscious dark is what always fascinated me. Like in that great opening sequence of David Lynch’s movie Blue Velvet. Here, we are introduced to a compellingly harmonic and perfect world. If we dare to look closer, however, it’s not at all as beautiful as it seemed to be.
TFP: Your palette is very faded. Is there a particular reason for that?
PS: Faded colors have that harmonious and dreamy impression on me. Such a color palette is also quite timeless, I think. A perfect fit for the surreal, dreamy atmosphere I try to create in my works.
TFP: I’ve read that music has a big influence on you. You’ve actually started illustrating for bands on MySpace! What’s playing on your tracklist right now?
PS: Thanks to devices such as Spotify I am now able to listen to everything on the board, any genre that I feel like diving into. At the moment, it’s a lot of Timber Timbre, the new album by August Burns Red or Tame Impala’s newest album.
TFP: As odd as a question as this might be, I’ve got to ask. If your characters were to be on drugs, which one would it be?
PS: MDMA 🙂