Tobias Wüstefeld is an Illustrator, Designer and Director based in Hamburg, Germany. He studied Illustration and Media-Design in Muenster. Aside from his technical abilities, he has a strong art background. His Bēhance ProSite contains a mix of commissioned and personal work.
He has produced a number of commercial works for Russian Railways (CNN Commercial), car renderings, book cover art, papercraft, illustrations for calendars, website animations, 2-D packing, 3-D packing, Ikea catalog illustration, illustrations for various projects and other interesting animated works.
Some other companies he has worked with include Mercedes, Skoda, Jacobs, Sony Ericsson, Sparkasse, Stawag, RWE, Red Bull, Siemens, Coca Cola, Elastoplast, TicTac, and Ferrero.
For instance, one such project was commissioned in Arizona for SRP Community Solar called “The Salt River Project“.
“These are 3 Illustrations I did for the Salt River Project. SRP Community Solar gives homeowners and renters the option to adopt solar power. You can offset up to 50% of your annual energy consumption with solar power.”
He uses both computer rendering and his own scripts to produce most of his works.
One of his biggest projects last year was the production of Helfende Hand – Förderpreis. “With over 120 scenes, this was the most complex project I’ve ever done.” These are 15 Films showing the work of 15 voluntary Projects in Germany. They recieved the “Helfende Hand” Award in 2015.
Some of his most interesting work is his “Phantom Islands” series. These are renderings of old, ancient islands found in historical maps or documents, but may have never actually existed!
I recently contacted Tobias to learn a little more about his art and latest works.
Tobias, how is life for you in Germany!
Thanks – I am healthy and have the opportunity to do what I like, so I think its great.
“Phantom Islands or Flyaway Islands, are Islands which can be found in historical maps or ancient documents, but maybe have never existed.”
I first noticed your work on Bēhance. I see that you have a few commissioned works with the “Island” theme. Can you tell us more about how you create these works? Could you take us through the process of creating one of your islands?
I want every world to look and feel unique. I usually start with sketches to get an overall impression of how the forms of this world will be.
For me , clouds and trees are most important because they have some kind of natural abstraction in them. I mean, we can recognize a tree or a cloud even if they take really bizzare forms. Often they carry the soul of the illustration in its clearest way.
Mostly, I build around 3-8 different trees or buildings and maybe one “hero” tree or building. In my case that often is enough to make a rich looking environment. If I only want to create one Illustration, I build the assets especially for this one perspective. If there are more views of the Island, I build them more general and then start planting them.
Are the wood and paper designs all 3-D rendered? Or are they mini-scale models of paper and wood? They look very realistic. If they are models, what happens to the projects when they are completed?
The wooden and paper designs I have right now in my portfolio are 3D rendered. But I do a lot of research for inspiration. For example for the wooden worlds I used ten cuttet sticks, that I scanned and used for building the 3D worlds. The sticks after that had no more use. I did some work with my students, where we build some paper/wood worlds in real, and we got some really interesting results. I think I will publish them soon. In these projects most of the assets where destroyed, after taking the photos.
What inspired you to create this type of artistry?
There was no real inspiration. It was more like a evolutionary process. I experimented a lot with lowpoly style and I always try to introduce a little bit of chaos or randomness to my work, because I think in general randomness is the main motor of progress.
In the “Phantom Island” project I wrote a little script that picked texture files by chance and assigned them to the models. So in the end I had around 30 combinations of every Illustration and could pick the textures, that fitted best to each other. But by accident there was one version, where everything was in wood. And that fitted quite well to the lowpoly style, so I found the theme of wood.
How do you secure most of your commissioned works?
I am represented by an Agency. A lot of my commissions I receive from them.
Do you present any of your works in a gallery?
Not now. For now the internet is my gallery.
Can you tell us more on your teaching position and lecturing at Fachhochschule Münster — Muenster, Germany in digital design?
I really like the lecturing job. After a few years of working as an illustrator it is a good opportunity to reflect what you do. The students raise questions that you sometimes put aside too fast.
What is one of your most memorable designs?
When I was about nine years old I had a little camera and with a few houseplants, a plastic dinosaur and a handfull of sand I faked a prehistoric Setting. Later in school I told my schoolmates that I had been on a time travel. No one believed me. But there was a glimpse of an expression of wonder in some eyes. And maybe that was the point that influenced me to bring people to a small moment of wonder with my illustrations.
Can you tell us more about your background in music. I see many of your videos also feature some of your music creations.
Beside my trip in classical music, where I played contra-bass and cello in different Orchestras I produced Hip-Hop beats for about six years. Back then I focused on music and there is a lot of stuff that influenced me and that I can still use nowadays. But there was a point in my life a few years ago where I decided to focus on visual arts. But even though I don´t produce music anymore, my current work is still influenced from that time. Beside the aspects of rythm I think I also could transfer a lot about contrasts and composition. If you talk about illustrations you can use a lot of vocabulary that you may use in music. (Listen to some tracks from Tobias Wüstefeld)
Can you tell us more about your video creations and how these are commissioned?
Most of the video creations are commissioned over my website. I always like to take the illustrations alive. The last few years I focused mainly on illustrations – for me that was a better way to work on my own style. Doing illustrations is way faster than doing animations, so you can do more in less time. I think there might be a time when I will focus more on animation again.
What are you working on now? (WIP)
I have a few more experiments with the lowpoly style going on. For example I try to do some impressionistic lowpoly paintings to research the relation between lowpoly style and impressionism. I also have a small project on Instagram, where I deconstruct one smiley every day.
Tobias Wüstefeld is a multi-talented artist. He is an Illustrator, Designer, and Director based in Hamburg, Germany.
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