Now in its 12th year, Pictoplasma returns to Berlin today for three days, bringing together some of the world’s best character artists for a mixture of talks, exhibitions, screenings and parties.
This year’s theme is ‘character posture’, with speakers being asked to talk about their character’s expressiveness beyond just their facial features.
The main conference features artists working across many different forms of media: from 'master of pens’ (and abuse) Mr Bingo to Becky and Joe – who worked with puppets, digital and stop-motion animation for their primary-coloured nightmare of a web series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.
Alongside those British favourites, the conference also sees talks from artists from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Korea and the US – where Julian Glander hails from and will be talking about his delightfully lovely animated GIFs (as seen here).
The first set of speakers were disclosed in January, and six more have been announced today.
Accompanying the main conference again are the Character Forum and Character Walk. The Forum gives attendees a chance to pitch their portfolios to high-profile companies including Disney and an as-yet-unannounced list of prestigious (we’re assured) motion graphics houses, illustration agencies and game developers.
The Character Walk (shown here from the 2014 conference) is an exhibition of work by speakers and attendees that’s also open to the public – allowing them to show their work to a wider audience.
From the next page we've included artworks by those speaking at Pictoplasma 2016. The listings info was provided by the conference organisers.
New addition: Ben Newman
Over the years, Ben Newman has developed a distinct aesthetics, a contemporary fusion of bold shapes, bright colours and playful characters which has been described as ‘bauhaus fuzzy felt.’ He has produced work for a large range of clients, including the Tate Modern, New York Times, BBC Radio 4, Google and Volkswagon.
Nowadays, he spends the majority of his time collaborating on the Professor Astro Cat children’s books with his longtime friend and scientist, Dr Dominic Walliman, which are published by Flying Eye Books.
New addition: Amélie Fléchais
Amélie Fléchais is a French children’s book illustrator and a visual development artist. She has released two comic books, Chemin Perdu and L’Homme Montagne, as well as one children’s book, Le Petit Loup Rouge. She produced concept art for the feature film Song of the Sea by Cartoon Saloon and the upcoming film Trolls by Dreamworks Animation.
New addition: Cécile Dormeau
Cécile Dormeau is a french illustrator based in Germany. She worked in graphic design agencies and as a junior art director in an advertising agency for two years before starting her career as an illustrator. Using simple bold lines and bright colours, she creates illustrations and GIFs that explore body image and everyday issues faced by women.
Beside her personal projects, she works for clients such as asos, Zeit Campus, and der Spiegel Wissen magazine.
New addition: Martina Paukova
Martina Paukova creates humorous, jam-packed images in a trademark palette and Memphis-inspired patterns for an increasingly impressive list of clients, including The Guardian (shown here), New York Times, Condé Nast and Google.
New addition: Ugo Gattoni
Ugo Gattoni is a Parisian born and bred artist and art director, whose surreal and exquisitely detailed portraits, depictions of cityscapes, and strange, otherworldly objects and artefacts are renowned worldwide for their unparalleled level of skill. Working predominantly with graphite or ink, Ugo’s work is a monochromatic whirlwind of minute details, dreamlike characters and typography.
New addition: Wilfred Wood
With a background as ‘headbuilder’ of the legendary TV programme Spitting Image, London-based artist Wilfrid Wood is known for his disfigurative sculptural portraits of made up personalities, celebrities, friends, or strangers that he simply likes the look of – always getting as much character as possible out of the lump of clay he’s using.
In his works of synthetic forms and bright colours, through an essential language, Italian artist Agostino Iacurci is capable of driving multiple layers of interpretation. This approach places his tales on the perennial threshold between innocence and artifice, serenity and catastrophe, in a magnetic tension that is the interpretive key to our very existence.
Aisha Franz is a Berlin-based comic artist and illustrator. She has published two graphic novels and is currently working on a new book which is about to be released with her german publisher Reprodukt. Besides working on long-term projects, she makes short comics and illustrations for various international publications and magazines and is a passionate self-publisher moving from zinefest to zinefest with her handmade little books. She is currently teaching illustration and comics at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.
Becky & Joe
Becky & Joe, dubbed animation ‘super-duo’ by It’s Nice That, are Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling. They are directors on a mission to make the world more fun, armed with an adventurous hand-made approach to animation and an absurdist sense of dark humour.
Becky and Joe have lent their talents to a diverse list of clients including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Channel 4, BBC and Selfridges, as well as directing sequences in the feature-length Graham Chapman biopic A Liar’s Autobiography. Together, they aim to create work with an original new voice, bringing their colourful imaginations to life through experimental craft-focused techniques and tactile materials such as plasticine and felt.
Guillaume Kashima is a French illustrator living in Berlin. He started his career as a graphic designer in advertising but later moved on to illustration “because it seemed more fun … and I was a bad designer anyway”. From this experience, he kept a direct and minimal approach of images as a vector of communication. His work today embraces different fields and medium such as prints, apps or objects.
Guillaume ‘s work is also very versatile in terms of visual aesthetics, but his process always originates from boldness, wit and humour.
Jan De Coster
Jan De Coster grew up with a fascination for science and sci-fi stories. After dropping out of school he started making his first online productions, as well as physical interactive installations. In 2002 he worked at BBDO ad agency where he developed a passion for characters while making a online games and animations. In the meantime his specialisation moved back to physical installations, until an agency called him with the request to make them a robot in 2012. Four weeks later Yummy the robot was born and Jan became a robot-maker from then on.
While making more robots, both commercial and personal, Jan is exploring the boundaries of human-robot relations. Rachel and Robin are travelling all over the world, depending on people around them to take care of them, and Steve is a 2m tall friendly giant who can charm every robot-scepticus.
Jim Avignon is an illustrator, painter and conceptual artist and one of the most unusual figures in the contemporary German art scene.
His paintings are a mash up of cartoonish figuration, expressionist composition and dominantly featured titles—always in line with the mantra “a maximum of expression with a minimum of lines.” His art remains affordable and is meant for everyone – and has meanwhile found its way onto airplane wings, watches, or the Berlin Wall. He has no agent, no contract with a gallery and no works for sale in the internet. You rather find him in rundown underground bars, where he performs as “neoangin” – notorious lo-fi electronic shows somewhere in between funny and subversive.
“Former baby, future ghost”: Julian Glander is a Pittsburgh based visual artist working on comics, video games, interactive toys, short films, and illustrations. Julian is best known for his oddball infinitely loopable animated GIFs inspired by Claymation. His Gumby-like animations have appeared in all sorts of places, including music videos, Subway commercials and Starbucks ads.
Jun seo Hahm
Jun seo Hahm is an animation director, graphic designer and media artist based in Seoul, Korea.
His current work is focused on digital expression of biology inspired life-forms in editable time and space. After studying art theory in Korea and experimental animation at Cal Arts USA, he worked at Bent Image Lab in Portland as a designer and director for 5 years, and then Cheil Worldwide in Seoul as a planner for 2 years.
Merijn Hos is a visual artist and illustrator from Utrecht, The Netherlands, known for his curious, optimistic characters and passion for joyful, quirky illustrative work.
He divides his time between working as a commercial illustrator for clients such as Bose, Red Bull, Google, The Guardian and Keds, and working on his own personal projects, exhibitions, and independent publishing.
Mr Bingo has worked with hundreds of clients across a wide range of media; you might have seen his illustrations in or on TIME, Esquire, QI, The Mighty Boosh, The New York Times and on Channel 4. But he's best known for sending people abusive postcards in exchange for cash.