Each spring, Pictoplasma transforms Berlin into the international meeting point for a diverse scene of artists and creatives, trailblazing the face of tomorrow's visual culture.
The annual Festival showcases latest trends in fine and urban arts, illustration, animation film and graphic design.
For its 11th edition, Pictoplasma Berlin is reinventing itself with a five-day programme of lectures, screenings, exhibitions and networking.
More than 40 inspiring artist presentations, over a hundred animations illuminating the big screen and a carefully curated exhibition of character driven art are promised, with the addition of a forum to enhance networking between high-level producers from various industries and attending talents.
According to Pictoplasma, the 2015 edition takes a fresh approach towards anthropomorphic fundamentals: “the title Form Follows Empathy breaks with the modernist credo of functionalism and puts the empathic perception at the base of any interaction, inquiring if, and how images can direct the attention of the viewer to create a strong emotional bond with objects.”
Workshops, animation screenings, performances, exhibitions and rapid fire talent-presentations are clustered around a central conference, in which leading artists give insight to their creative process of perceiving and designing characters.
The central exhibition of 2015 in the recently rediscovered and refurbished former crematory of the Wedding district, Silent Green, offers original works by the Festival's participating artists.
A second group show at Urban Spree introduces the raw talent of the alumni of the Pictoplasma Academy from autumn 2014. The organisers said the annual master class for interdisciplinary character creation has once more admitted a fine selection of young aspiring professionals from more than 20 countries. Further happenings will take place at art venues throughout the city.
The CharacterLab now includes a forum and allows high-level producers from animation, advertising, toy design, new media, or stationery products to meet the upcoming talents who will be designing the faces of tomorrow.
The following is only a selection of work by some of the featured artists.
Luciana Eguti and Paulo Muppet founded Birdo with two computers and a fax machine back in 2005. They now share the roles of producers and directors over a team of multitalented artists that include writers, designers, and animators.
As directors, the duo has worked on more than 80 projects, including six feature films, 17 short films and music videos, and dozens of commercials for clients such as FIAT, Google and Unilever and many other diverse projects from social games to theatre plays.
Most recently Birdo has created the Olympic and Paralympic Mascots for Rio 2016 and are also directors of its animated products.
Originally from Calais, Loup Blaster studied 2D animation at nearby ESAAT in Roubaix and moved on to Volda University in Norway.
In 2012 she started the project BBBLASTER, a handcrafted VJ-ing project in collaboration with music producers Hibou Blaster and Numérobé. Her video for his track ‘Lighthouse’ incorporated hand-drawn 2D animation and stop-motion techniques to intriguing effect.
Photography, piano-playing, cooking, singing, composing and myriad other activities all come naturally to the young multi-talented animator/director, whose work cannot be defined as any one style.
Loup takes inspiration from the world around her in a quest to constantly surprise herself. She is keen to use images and sound to develop atmospheres, and experiment with perception and feelings. She is represented by Strangebeast, London.
Brosmind is a Barcelona studio founded by brothers Juan and Alejandro Mingarro in 2006. Their style is fresh and optimistic and always combines fantasy and humour. Brosmind illustrations have been awarded prestigious international awards, including Cannes Lions, Clio, Eurobest and Graphis.
The brothers have worked for clients such as Nike, Coca-Cola, LINE, Microsoft, Virgin, Gillette, Honda, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Bicycle and Kidrobot.
Personal artistic projects include Brosmind Army, Brosmind RV, Brosmind City, Brosmind Wagon and the most recent What’s Inside?
Yves Geleyn is an award-winning, mixed-media storyteller with an emphasis on story and characters.
He is known for numerous short films and commercials, most recently the heartwarming The Bear & The Hare Christmas advert for John Lewis, which he co-directed with Elliot Dear.
For each project, Yves applies techniques and media that best serve to tell the story – and bring across sensibility, delicacy and poetry.
Represented by Hornet, New York, his numerous references include Japan, art, nature, animals and especially birds, which can be found in all his productions.
Snil Yom is a character-driven artist from Seoul. For more than ten years he worked as graphic designer in Seoul and Tokyo, before returning to Seoul to focus on his career as an artist.
He experiments with very basic shapes and animist principles. Intrigued by porcelain, he started to explore it as the media of his choice to transform his trademark two-dimensional character visuals into three-dimensional shapes and objects. He is now extending his work to include wood, iron and textiles.
Based in Nagano, Japan, Hikari Shimoda first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before she began her career as a contemporary artist in 2008.
Shimoda’s artwork paints a world where cuteness and horror coexist, and fantasy meets reality. She credits the Japanese pop culture she grew up with as the main source of inspiration of her ‘Irasuto’ style, art inspired by anime and manga.
In her Whereabouts of God portrait series of other-worldly horned children, she comments on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as saviour of humanity and mirror of our fantasy heroes. These characters not only represent heroism but an adult desire to watch our children grow and defend the world we have constructed. With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.
Mike and Katie make up the design duo better known to the world as TADO. Based in Sheffield, this creative powerhouse has produced an endless list of darkly adorable characters, artwork and projects that have terrorised and delighted individuals and clients worldwide for over a decade.
Founded in 2001 when the pair began to work together at university, TADO quickly became an established name through their unique style, humour, illustrations, animations, and toy designs. Everything they do is produced in total collaboration – whether it's taking turns in drawing, painting, drilling, glueing, scribbling or clicking.
TADO's portfolio includes a vast range of projects from fashion to advertising to model-making and product design, with clients such as MTV, Nike, Nickelodeon, Lucas Arts, Sanrio, Kidrobot and Virgin.
Hailing from the Alps of northern Italy, Lucas Zanotto lives and works in Helsinki as a writer, animator and director.
He has received a Golden Design Lion in Cannes, Gold at the Promax International, the HAFF, the ITFS and at the Ottawa Animation Film Festival.
He loves mixing different medias and exploring new ways of creating animations. The way he combines classic animation and digital media gives his films a very modern and analogue feel.
Stefano Colferai is a young Italian illustrator based in Milan. Armed with a good sense of humour he gives life to new characters via both digital and traditional 2D art techniques, before moving his creations to clay.
Colferai creates his recognisable imagery by starting with plasticine moulding as the base of the composition, before moving towards the computer for final enhancements. His use of the material has become something of a trademark, but as he himself admits, he has simply always been too lazy to try to learn a 3D application.
When Mr Kat is not sleeping or busy looking for food, he spends his time creating friendly, cute and classy 3D characters, playing with shiny materials and sculptural bodies.
A big part of the Peru-based, Spanish-born artist Jaime Alvarez’s inspiration comes from the fusion of pre-Columbian art and contemporary character design, focusing mainly on animals and skulls. His love for 3D drove him to bring these designs to life through wood, plush, resin and fibreglass.
The central Pictoplasma Conference is hosted at Babylon am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in the heart of Berlin. The historic cinema also offers its big screen to the new animation programmes, with many of the international studios and filmmakers present for Q&A rounds after each screening.
All exhibitions accompanying the Pictoplasma Festival open on Wednesday afternoon, April 29th, and run until Sunday, May 3rd. The Conference lectures and all other activities take place from early April 30th to late May 2nd.
Participation in the three-day Pictoplasma Conference requires prior online registration.