April 3, 2014

Kyoorius Knocks: Alice Wellinger

By Preksha Sharma

Austrian artist Alice Wellinger, summarizing the essence of her work, says, I always try to tell a little story in my pictures – I like when people have something to think about. And she defines her idea about ‘art’ through Karl Valentin‘s famous quote, “Kunst ist schön, macht aber viel Arbeit”, which in English means: “Art is beautiful, but a lot of work.”  Anyone who spends sometime looking at the art she creates will understand how true her own definition and Valentin’s statement stands for.

Wellinger had always had a passion for illustration, but as an illustrator she calls herself  ‘a late bloomer’. This is because for many years she worked as a graphic designer. It was only after the birth of her children that she began writing and illustrating children’s books. In her chosen profession of illustration, Wellinger has learnt everything on her own. Her children’s books were published and won awards like the Austrian Children’s book prize. In illustration as well, she loves editorial illustrations the most, and discovered her love for it just five years back. “I like doing this because of the artistic freedom it allows me (most times at least). Each commission is a new challenge.” Along with editorial illustrations, she also tries to develop her personal body of work which is surreal, intriguing and mostly  thought provoking.

Here Wellinger answers some of our questions about her art, inspirations and more:

Your Life Could be Better

From a new series: Your Life Could be Better, Image Courtesy: Wellinger’s Facebook page

When were you absolutely sure that this was what you want to do?

When I was twelve years old, I wrote in my diary: “I want to be an illustrator”. Unfortunately I forgot about this for a long time…

At what time of the day do you feel most creative/productive? 

I think I am most productive at early in the morning.

As an artist, what do you feel most empowered about? 

The feeling of empowerment is very seldom, and also it is very hard to explain. It is this feeling when you go to bed,  satisfied that you’ve created something really good.

With a lot of your work, you are trying to make a statement. How difficult is that?

To make something worthwhile, when I am trying to convey and idea or make a statement through my work, the basic thing is that I do not want to bore myself. That helps in perceiving things in a new light. I try to avoid the banal, and the 100 times said and seen.

Private garden3x3

Titled Private Garden

Describe your work desk in one line. If you had to keep just one single item at your desk, what would that be? 

I don’t have a special work desk. I used to paint in the kitchen. My single item would be: a pencil that I can keep gnawing.

Which has been the most challenging project so far?

My children’s books.  I spent a lot of time writing, doing the illustration, and creating the layout. But I spent even more time in searching for a publisher. I think children’s book illustration is the supreme illustration discipline. It is not easy to step back into the child’s world of experience. Speaking with simple words and painting appropriately for children is a challenge.

Irgendwo- irgendwann klein.

Kurt bends bananas

 Are there any work friends, critics, you absolutely rely on for your work?

No. It is just me. I am a hermit crab.

One work of another artist that you absolutely adore.

It has to be the visual essay by Maira Kalman, The Principles of Uncertainty.

The book is a mix of personal diary, documentary, travelogue and a chapbook. Originally published as a monthly column in the New York Times website for almost an year, it was adapted into book form by Penguin Press in October 2007.




Tell us about one project doing which you have absolutely enjoyed yourself.

I like to combine words and pictures, so I specially enjoyed to work on my personal series “News Reloaded” which is about giving a new context to yesterday’s headlines. It was a long project of 70 illustrations.

News reloaded 4 klein

What are you upto right now?

There are a lot of ideas …

See more of her work on Behance. Like her on facebook.

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Kyoorius is a bi-monthly print magazine on visual communications. Subscribe here. For buying a single copy (or any of the previous issues), write to us at sales@kyoorius.com. You can order the issue from Tadpole, get the digital copy from Magzter and also buy it from bookstores near you. For any feedback on the magazine or to submit your work, do drop in a mail to us at editor@kyoorius.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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