It’s a new month so it’s time for a new comic. Throughout February my newsletter is going to be enriched with the colourful illustrations and insights of Andreas Kiener and Luca Bartulović. I hooked up with the two artists and asked them about their career, their favourite things and the skull series that they drew especially for Ron Orp.
Hello you two! Would you like to briefly introduce yourselves and what you’ve been up to in your careers.
Andreas: I'm Andreas Kiener, I studied illustration in Lucerne, together with Luca, and then I started my own business. I now earn my living as a freelancer working out of a shared studio in Lucern. I was able to publish two major comic albums with Edition Moderne and am currently working on a third. As well as all this I am the co-editor of the «Ampel Magazin», a comic magazine that is published annually. At Fumetto festival in April 2022 we will present a main exhibition with this collective.
Luca: I'm Luca Bartulović, I have the same background, but I've been living back in Basel for almost a year now, where I continue to work independently. And so that everyone doesn't have to ask again at Fumetto: No, I still haven't finished my graphic novel. Ask again next year.
What is the skull series coming in this month's newsletter about?
Andreas: It's meant to serve as a (hopefully) funny teaser for the «Ampel Magazin» exhibition at Fumetto. We're dealing with skulls there and presenting our own dance of death. But of course the pictures also work as a daily puzzle: since many people don't know the comic artists mentioned in the picture who have unfortunately died, the newsletter reader can try to find out which character is hidden behind the name and the naked skull.
Ron: Do you have a favourite picture from it and if so, why?
Luca: I particularly like the Moomin skull (Tove Jansson) because it simply has the pear shape of the very simple character design, and yet - or rather because of that - it is immediately recognisable. Many of the skulls are completely absurd and make no anatomical sense at all, but that's where the fun lies, I think.
What did you want to be when you were children?
Andreas: An illustrator. Always.
Luca: Somehow i was very close to the profession and lifestyle I pursue today. So in a way I always knew.
Ron: When did you start drawing?
Luca: I think every child drew before they could write the first letter of their name. I just never stopped, and at school I scribbled all over the maths test instead of solving the problems and sold erotic drawings to my classmates for five francs. So there was no other way anyway. Thank you Pierre for the admission here, who knows what would have become of me if I hadn't been able to study illustration…
Ron: How would you describe your style?
Andreas: We adapt our style for projects. Often the reason is a customer request, i.e. a client describes how something should look based on our portfolio. But another reason can also be that the technology automatically sets a basic mood for a style - keyword vector posters. (Luca interjects: «Burn! Ouch.» ) But when we get down to personal projects, free comics being perhaps the best example, we work in the way we feel most comfortable. In my case, that's an ink drawing on paper and analogue colouring with watercolour. A general term for both our styles is difficult. But from our point of view it is unmistakable that we are inspired by the «ligne claire».
The style for the skull series in the newsletter is, according to all art historical books: «cartoony».
Luca: I can sign it like that.
Ron: Do you have a favourite colour?
Luca: I'm colour-blind.
Ron: Which topics are particularly close to your hearts?
Luca: In general, the three of us at Ampel Magazin are quite political and deal with sociological issues, and you can see that in one or two issues. Otherwise, I think it's important not to forget the humour. It always really upsets me when, for example, in films and series, everyone is always depressed, dragging themselves from crisis to crisis and always taking everything so seriously. That's sometimes the case in comics, too, but then it's probably better called a graphic novel. I often prefer a flat joke without much social criticism than a profound commentary on the end of the world without a wink.
Andreas: I have read 90% of all German Wikipedia articles.
Ron: What brings you joy at the moment?
Luca: That I'm taking more care of myself than in the last few years, for example, I've started boxing again. I'll leave it open whether that's good for my hands (and thus the drawing).
Ron: What is the most challenging thing in your life right now?
Andreas: Raising a child, earning money as an illustrator and getting some sleep with all that is quite a challenge. Who would have thought that?
What do you like to draw the most?
Luca: Faces. But I think that's normal.
Andreas: Everything except faces.
Tell me a few of your favourite things (or moments or experiences).
Andreas: Holding a freshly printed volume of your own comic in your hands, limes, realising that subtitles are no longer necessary.
Luca: Sriracha mayo, cycling through former Yugoslavia, explaining to young people how the modem worked back then and making the sound.
What do many people not know about you?
Andreas: That I played the flute professionally.
Luca: That I have a pierced ear.
Fumetto takes place from 2 - 10. Have fun at your exhibition, Luca and Andreas!
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