INFO > Feature in 3x3 Magazine's Blog
Interview with 3x3 Magazine
We had the pleasure of having illustrator, designer, multi-media artist
and cartoonist Oliver Weiss over to the studio for lunch. He's in town
for a couple of weeks following his trek out to Pasadena for
the 2010 ICON conference.
Weiss / Photo by Charles Hively
fter a few
minutes of conversation I could tell Oliver is not your typical
illustrator; he's done just about anything you can imagine including
He's been an
author—short stories, poems and children's stories, writer, freelance
editor, freelance copywriter for ad agencies, ghost writer, founder and
editor-in-chief of his own magazine, web designer—the first in Germany
and comic strip writer.
One look at his
site and you're not sure where to look—a bit disjointed but full of
energy and a good reflection of the artist except for the disjointed
part. Through all his experiences he has gained valuable insight into
the workings of the editorial, publishing and advertising worlds which
puts him head and shoulders above many out there.
A native of
Munich, Oliver laments how illustration in Germany before the war was
vibrant and original and wonders what has changed all that. Too many
German illustrators must find the really exciting projects here in the
States—he doesn't have a good reason for why that should be the case.
He senses that
the publications in Germany are far more conservative than you may find
elsewhere. And he chuckles when someone refers to his work as
"kindergarten" since most of his drawings are humorous, humor is
relegated to children's literature in Germany—a tough climate for
someone who likes to poke fun at institutions and the absurdities of the
One Style vs.
Insecurity is a
positive thing, it keeps us grounded.
We had a spirited
debate concerning styles and having more than one; the fact is Oliver
has dozens of styles and prefers it that way. The solution to the
problem should define the style used is his mantra and he's had some
success exploring different ways to solve problems visually.
My caution was
that in America there tends to be singular styles and it is expected
when showing work to an art director.
Perhaps Oliver is
so successful at promoting unique solutions to each problem because of
his editorial background; maybe there is more trust from the other side
of the desk due to his experience.
On the subject of
reps, he was adamant that he didn't want a rep—ever. He had had one for
a week and was so disappointed by the contract that he pulled out and
hasn't looked back. He is a big believer in illustrators having solid
contracts and approaching projects using good business sense.
In talking about
insecurity, he admitted as did I that insecurity is a positive thing, it
keeps us grounded. As I related every great designer or illustrator I
know has some insecurity, and it was most evident in our latest issue
when I interviewed Ed Sorel who candidly replied that he is afraid of
every job that comes in the door, afraid that he can't do the job. Great
designers are always fearful of being found out as shams.
delightful quiche, a few glasses of red wine and a homemade
raspberry/red wine sorbet, the lunch was over and Oliver was on his way
back to the City, the city he might one day call home.