After receiving Alain Schwerzmann’s comics for this month i was absorbed for at least twenty minutes with the differing styles, colours and stories that the comics tell.I like all his illustrations immensely, but if I had to choose one, Alain and my choice would be the same. You can find out which one it is and much more in my interview with him.
Would you like to briefly introduce yourself and your career? (Name, education, profession, projects)My name is Alain Schwerzmann, I live in Lucerne, work as a comic artist and member of the editorial team at the comic magazine «Die Notbremse» and part-time in marketing at an engineering firm. In between, I also have enough time for illustration commissions. With the intention of studying scientific drawing, I attended the preliminary design course in Zurich after an apprenticeship as a design engineer, formerly a mechanical draughtsman. But I soon realised that storytelling appealed to me more than detailed drawing. So I studied illustration fiction in Lucerne. After graduating in 2020, I founded Notbremse together with former fellow students.
And can you tell me something about the pictures in this month's newsletter?
Most of the pictures are excerpts from comic stories that have been created over the last 3 years. I made many of them for the comic magazine «Die Notbremse» (The Emergency Brake), but there are also individual pictures that I did as commissioned work.
Do you have a favourite picture and if so, why?
If I have to choose, it would be the picture with the smokers in the train window. That's from a short comic I drew for the ZS (Zurich student newspaper). For it I adapted a passage from Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's book «Rome, Glances». It seems to me that the two figures correspond very well to the image I had in my head while reading. For me, they stand for the unknown, huddled figures who seem to linger apathetically in the background of everyday life. A world that is both closed and immeasurably extensive rests in such people. I find that fascinating.
What did you want to be when you were a child? I guess psychologist.
How would you describe your style?
I don't really have a style, more influences. Depending on the work, I choose what I find suitable and allow myself to freely use what I like. I prefer to draw from artists like Pratt, Tardi, Meurisse, Muñoz, Sfar or Blain.
Where did you grow up and did that have an influence on the course of your life? Or also on your drawings? I grew up on the outskirts of Winterthur, but I don't think that had much influence on my drawing. It was probably much more formative that the father of a good childhood colleague was a drawing teacher and encouraged our interest in drawing. My father's comic book collection, which consisted of numerous Tintin, Spirou+Fantasio, Marsupilami and the Nestor Burma stories by Jaques Tardi, also contributed to this. Last but not least, my excessive consumption of The Simpsons
What brings you joy at the moment?
I'll soon be on holiday, and when the mushroom hunting hopefully starts soon, the joy will be all the greater.
What is the most challenging thing in your life right now?
There is no single big challenge in my life. The most challenging thing is to balance the different areas of my life, such as my bread and butter job, artistic work, relationships, self-preservation, household and passions. Unfortunately, reading comics and books often comes up short.
What can comics, cartoons and illustrations do that other media can't?
Do you read comics or do you look at them? The whole secret lies in this ambivalence. But what exactly that is, I don't know.
List a few of your favourite things (or moments or experiences) in a nutshell.
Mediterranean food, good company, reading, the autobiography of Elias Canetti, the comic «The Rabbi's Cat» by Joann Sfar, the song «Mayn shtetele Belz» sung by Theodor Bikel, the 24 Preludes Op. 37 BV 181 by Ferrucio Busoni, drawings by Käthe Kollwitz, photographs by Alexander Rodchenko, cumbia, a beer at Ciel Bleu, sharing the bed, Marxism.
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