First of all I want to introduce myself to you all. My name is Simon Pape, I’m a professional Graffiti Fine Artist, Illustrator & Designer based in Germany. I currently earn most of my living by painting walls and houses with happy little trees throughout all of Germany. I also work as an Illustrator and am currently putting much effort into building this as a second branch of my freelance business.
Hi Guys, Tell us about your inspiration that drove you into art (How did it start) and also about your career so far, projects you’ve worked on etc.
What inspired me to go into art in the first place, is actually hard to tell. Like most of todays successful artists, I started drawing as a little kid just for the fun of it. I scribbled whatever came to my mind, which mostly happened to be dragons, dinosaurs, cool spaceships and the alike. A pretty typical young boys mind, I guess. And yet, I never thought of it being a way of possibly earning money, least to say your living. It was only at the age of 19, when I realized I could actually make a career out of art, whatever the exact profession would be for me later on. Seeing the explosion of art quality all over the internet around 10 years ago and ever since, definitely reassured me in pursuing this goal.
In 2011, I got to know one of my now best art buddies, who sort of changed my life back then. He introduced me to graffiti art, which was a totally new and exciting experience for me. It was the first time I found a medium with which I could express myself in ways I never could before. I won’t go too much into details with that one, but it’s suffice to say, that I found a way to make a living out of this kind of art and am now working full-time in this area for companies like Pelikan, Vattenfall, Edeka and the alike. (www.sirius-7.de)
Although I have a pretty good job doing this, I felt and still feel the urge for making Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Comic Illustrations, since I have a longtime passion for comics, games and movies alike, and am currently working on breaking into that industry.
Who inspires you to push the boundaries like you do in illustration (What cartoons on comics do you love the most)
Alex Ross has been a big inspiration for me back in the days, especially his Graphic Novel Kingdom was and still is a great read.
Now that I’m more into Fantasy & Sci-Fi illustrations, I let myself inspire by all kinds of old masters, such as Rembrand, Vermeer or Bierstadt, as well as contemporary artists like Jaime Jones, Craig Mullins, John Park and the alike. There’s a huge abundance of great art and artists out there, once you start looking.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced as an illustrator?
Ok, so the biggest challenge I faced up to now as a painter, was a rather huge personal wall project in 2013, where I painted about 100 m² of facadespace over the timespan of 3 months with a scenery inspired by James Cameron’s movie „Avatar“. It was midsummer and I had to paint 8-10 hours a day to finish it anytime soon ( initially I thought about 2-3 weeks). It was physically as well as mentally one of the most straining experiences I had to date, but it was worth it, because I learned a very important lesson back then: Persistence. That and quality work are key to success.
Which brings me to my second biggest challenge: Becoming a „Magic: The Gathering“-artist.
It’s a dream I carry around with me since I first started to play this game back in 2003. It’s not as easy as one would think, not knowing how the industry works nowadays, but what I do know, is, that if I’m just persistent enough with good quality work, success will come eventually. It is simply a matter of time.
What have been your most memorable projects and why?
I happened to be working, and still am, as a concept artist on a Graphic Novel called „Hemispheres“ since 2013. The first issue out of the planned trilogy called „Corpus Separatum“, was published last year. (www.hemispheres.world)
Up to know, I learned a lot over the course of this project about production processes, marketing and different skillsets, which are either needed or at least come in handy for a concept artist and illustrator alike. It really helped my growth as an artist on many levels.
Have you created any characters of your own? (If yes tell us more, if no why?)
So far, I haven’t done much work on creating my own IP, due to my involvement in many projects over the years. But I plan on making my own Graphic Novel sometime in the future. The basic idea already exists, but it’s still far from completion.
Your advice to young illustrators out there.
Make art, that you love. Be passionate about your art. Make art, that you care about and that inspires you and others to become your best self. And most importantly, don’t stress out. Good things will come to you in time. Just keep at it.
What do you think about the comic industry here in Africa?
To be completely honest, I don’t know that much about african comic culture as of yet. What I think, though, is, that Africa has the potential of becoming a huge market for exporting african culture through comics, which would be nice to see for a change, since most of the international comic industry is dominated by anglo-american comics to date.