Benedikt Luft

This young German illustrator is already picking up some top commissions, though he always keeps time free to explore his passion for creating comics (and photographing his fingernails).

What are you working on right now? 

I’ve been in Berlin for six months doing an internship at HORT. Whilst there, I worked on sleeve designs for Secret 7“, illustrations for Converse and gamer profile pictures for Xbox, among other things. Now I’m back at my university in Wiesbaden where I study communication design. I’m already working on ideas for my thesis, which is due next semester (the working title is Re Re Re Think). Besides that, I have also just finished illustrations for two articles about Switzerland and Zurich for the art and culture magazine frieze d/e and I am currently working on a book about the personal information that people publish on the internet.

Where do you go for inspiration? 

I’m influenced by just about everything that goes through my brain’s filter system. Many ideas come to mind when I wake up in bed in the morning – there is this peaceful silence around you and you’re not yet distracted by your daily routine. To get to that point you need the really intense moments of mental activity as well, for sure. Just talking to people helps me, too.

What have been the best and worst reactions to your work? 

One of the best was when my father was super-excited about a drawing I made when I was a kid; I was really proud about that. I’ve got some really bad reactions from some of my professors, comments such as “that’s not a unique style” and “you won’t pass the Bachelor thesis like this.”  Maybe I should be proud of that, too.

Tell us about a favourite recent project. 

I really liked working on the sleeve designs for Secret 7“ together with HORT. My aim was to develop a really broad range of different looks and concepts. The most interesting part of the process was to push myself in totally different directions for every sleeve. I experimented a lot and discovered some nice new techniques and styles by doing so. Too bad that the Massive Attack one got lost on the way to London.

The Re:boot Music Camp was also fun. It’s a project initiated in order to build a forum for music producers in the Rhein-Main area in Germany. Together with Pietro Mazza, I tried to fill a room up with strange combinations of objects and characters to create an abstract feeling of how the events might look like. It was a very simple concept but coming up with these objects and combinations was a nice challenge.
I’m looking forward to continue my “:-)” comics as well.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be? 

I thought about this question a lot and didn’t really come up with a resolute answer. I’m currently fascinated by artists like Christoph Schlingensief or Erwin Wurm and his One Minute Sculptures, or the Metro-Net project by Martin Kippenberger. But I also like other illustrators and designers. I love the Don’t Hug me I’m Scared videos by Becky and Joe or by Moniker. Really, I think in the end it’s more about getting along with whoever you might be working with and feeling good about what you produce together and not idolising people so much.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career? 

The After School Club (a free graphic design festival for students) at the HfG Offenbach helped me very much. I had a great time there, met awesome people and learned a lot.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

“If you ever travel back in time, don't step on anything, because even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can't imagine.”

What’s the most recent photo you’ve taken with your phone? 

I recently started a new photographic series where my cut fingernails are arranged into a face. It’s going be called Disgusthings.