After collaborations with Sony and Nokia, the graffiti artist come graphic designer Manuel Osterholt (AKA Superblast
), has produced the artwork for the latest Don’t Panic
poster. Forming part of his Utopian Icons
series and following on from the success of his book Neo Utopia
published last year, the poster’s powerful imagery adheres to Osterholt’s trademark style. “Themed around psychological archetypes, fictional mythologies and [his] personal utopia,” Osterholt’s work has won him critical acclaim far from his native Berlin. Renowned for keeping his hands-on style intact with every piece of work he produces, Osterholt combines visual art and the written word to produce complex and striking images. Don’t Panic
spoke to him about how he combines street art with more traditional design and his fascination with urban culture.
What was the process involved in creating your work for Don't Panic?
First, everything gets sketched out in my blackbook to get the idea of it. Then I transfer it onto the medium – in this case a wood box – and then work with acrylic paint and markers over the sketch. After that I add gold foil, with a clear finishing at the end. Later I take a digital picture and finish the print document on the computer.
How did your work for Don't Panic differ from other work that you have done in the past?
I think that all my work has a ground or a vision that holds it all together. Every medium is another way to talk about that vision. It’s the same approach. This painting for Don’t Panic is one area of my work that is the most personal. Maybe it translates emotion in the best way for me.
What was the biggest challenge with the poster brief and how did you overcome it?
The brief was ‘Animal’. That’s pretty broad, so I had to narrow it down for my visual language. What sort of animal is fitting in my world?
What is it like collaborating with massive brands like Sony? How do you keep your creative vision in tact?
Working with big brands is mostly quite easy, because most of the requests I get are about my vision and work in the first place. So I’m in a place where I can create something interesting within the ‘natural’ borders of a brand. Most of the time, through the new methods I discover for a project, I end up finding something to use for my personal work. I have to get out of my comfort zone.
If you can't come up with any ideas what do you do?
Fill myself up with information, as much and as diverse as possible, until I’m overloaded and I have to get things out of my head. That can take days, weeks... and normally this process comes in waves.
Are there any places in Berlin that you go to which are particularly inspiring?
It’s not so much a specific place than an overall feel that is inspiring: people, moments, but also everyday situations. I just moved to Kreuzberg a week ago and there I have the feeling that I have to re-discover a lot of places. It feels just right to be here at the moment.
Who are the artists/ designers that inspire you?
There are too many artists from all sorts of background, mediums and times. Most of the time it has nothing to do with my work. I like the "Renaissance Man" approach of people like Picasso, using the creative force for all sorts of media. Also my girlfriend inspires me with her unique way of putting dance and theater together.
What are your favourite fonts at the minute?
Right now I’m getting pretty classic with my taste in fonts. Or I create them myself. Depends on the project.
What do you like most about your job?
The moment when you realise that your idea works out.