Meet The Artist: Andreas Krapf
07.02.2012 by Lauren Hunter
German born Andreas Krapf graduated in Communication Design at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg in 2009. The following year he relocated to the great city of Hamburg to open a store where he could sell his designs under the name of “denada”. The originality of his designs,. consisting of fantasy monsters and funny creatures, is emphasised by their facial expressions and gestures. He tries to achieve a mixture of weirdness and cuteness in order to generate an emotional response.
How did Denada come about?
After my design degree I started my career as a freelance illustrator and was able to gain experience in designing t-shirts. At the same time I started submitting designs to ongoing t-shirt contests like Threadless or LaFraise. After some of these were printed I got hooked on designing T-shirts and founded denada, together with a buddy, at the end of 2009. When I moved to Hamburg, we parted ways and I started putting more effort and time into the denada project. By the end of 2010 I set up a sweet little denada store near to the famous Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany, where you can buy all denada-designs printed on apparel, posters etc and I also build some art toys.
And Denada means?
The name denada is Spanish ("de nada") and means "you're welcome!". Under the flag of denada I can live out my creativity and share my weird fantasies with others.
What made you become an artist?
It just had to happen! I have always been drawing and building things since I was a little kid. My mother is a creative person; she makes pottery. My parents always supported me in being creative and so I decided to study design. After completing my studies, I wanted to work as a freelance illustrator. I have been doing this for two and a half years and love it! It's my dream job; always interesting and diversified.
Can you tell us about the 2 life size sculptures you did for the Yotel hotel in Time Square NY?
Gerard Green, one of the founders of Yotel, stumbled upon my character concepts on my portfolio site and asked me for life-size versions of two of these characters. These illustration concepts were based on my handmade resin toy named "Lesley". The big sculptures have been built by an extremely gifted sculptor, based on my illustrations. One of the sculptures, the male "moose", is stationed in the middle of the lobby, directly in front of the elevators. The other "moose", the female, is stationed near the restaurant bar. This was a very cool project which I'm proud to have been involved in and it's been an honour to work with Yotel.
You've illustrated a Brothers Grimm book, did you read these books as a child or was there some other inspiration behind the choice?
Which of your artwork pieces is your favourite?
The Brothers Grimm book was my diploma thesis and we had free choice of what we could do and so I chose to illustrate some of the most famous fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. The book deals with the very first versions of the Brothers Grimm's tales which are a bit more cruel than the versions we know today. The combination of humorous and colourful illustrations and the ancient tales make this book different ( that's what i hope ;) and this was what made the project interesting to me. But yes sure, I love most of these tales and have always loved them since I was a little kid. Unfortunately I was only able to get to know the old versions for the first time when I was working on my diploma thesis. I also thought the original versions of the stories would be more suited to my illustrations. The harmless and trivialised versions we know today are still cool but not half as cool as the original ones in my opinion.
That's a tough question. One of my first bigger jobs was a poster artwork for Ray Ban so this was an awesome experience that I will never forget. However, maybe I have the strongest connection to the only acrylic painting I have painted so far (shame on me) and also the only oil painting I have painted so far (yes I know…shame on me). These two took me heaps of working time and definitely have a stronger aura than digital art. I would love to do more "real" paintings with oil when I have more time!
A lot of your designs seem to involve food… any reason for this inspiration? Or just a love of food?
Of course I love food, who doesn't? But honestly, I have no idea why I design so much food stuff, it just happens. Sometimes when I'm thinking about a new work/illustration I try hard to NOT do something food related but for some reason I can't help myself and draw food again! Crazy!
What would you describe your style as?
I prefer other people to describe my style. I have heard comments like "humorous", "quirky", "cruel" and "cute". Personally, I just do what I feel like doing and what's fun. I love to create characters, monsters and funny stuff. I like bright colours.
Technically, I do a lot of vector illustrations but also pixels with the use of my helpful Wacom graphic tablet.
Any upcoming plans we should know about?
I plan to sculpt, mold and cast large figures when there is time and put them in my retail store in Hamburg (as mascots interacting with the stuff I sell there). I’ve read about techniques on how to manufacture big sculptures by using Styrofoam, fibreglass and silicone. it will be tough! Apart from that i just finished a fun project with Tic Tac USA who will release a smart phone app and billboard campaign. very soon. So I'm looking forward to that!
Any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Practice makes perfect! Never give up! Also, think “commercial” and “economical”, as you want to make a living from your art!