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Illustrator, Simone Klimmeck, juxtaposes pencil with pixel to create images that clash the accurate with the abstract. Her true fixation is the face, which she draws with a flawlessness that rivals black-and-white photography; a detail that draws your eyes into the depths of the grey etches, framed by splashes of colour. We talk to her about her work, inspiration and her view in the ever-present fashion versus art debate.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m a 24-year-old METAL kid addicted to avocados and Hermann Hesse. With my Dad being an architect and a painter, I sort of grew up with the pencil in my hand.
My hometown Munich is a clean and safe bubble, inhabited by people that all look and act the same – a boring hygiene which is not really inspiring. At the age of 19 I left Bavaria to move to a more contrasting place inside of Germany: the rather big, dirty and colourful capital, Berlin, to start my studies in fashion design. It was my professor at University who later encouraged me to focus on illustration.

In what ways do you feel living in Berlin has influenced you as an artist?

I left home for Berlin, spent the last six years here, began and finished my studies, met super inspiring people, worked on different projects, so of course I grew a lot. But maybe that could have happened at any other place away from home.

How would you describe your personal style, both from a fashion perspective and an art perspective?

Fashion-wise, “Aaliyah meets Goth meets 80s” might be a good title. I used to work as an extra for film productions and I was always asked to bring clothes – “neither black/white/bright colours nor big patterns, but sexy, please”. However, all I’ve ever owned is black/white/bright/patterned and oversized.
Art-wise, it’s faces that captivate me the most so I spotlight these in my pencil-and-pixel mixed collages creating little Tumblr fairy-tales. Recently, I’ve focused more on working with brushes and paint. I don't feel too comfortable with a stiff definition of my style, hoping it will never stop changing and developing.

The symbiosis between art and fashion is becoming ever more evident, yet there are always critics who argue otherwise. To you, what is the relationship between fashion and art? How do you feel they coincide and conflict?

Fashion IS art. Anyone who creates an arrangement of forms, colours, sounds or any other element and medium that succeeds in affecting the senses and emotions of its beholder is an artist to me. How is the work of a fashion designer, who has a vision and concept, drapes, draws and creates, different from the work of a sculptor? In my opinion fashion left the path of utility long ago and elevated to an art form.

How do you feel your background and work in fashion design has shaped your style as an illustrator?

To be honest, I don’t think it had a big impact on my work. Even as a kid I was fascinated with face. That never changed. But of course everything I experienced in my studies and especially in my time abroad in Stockholm when I worked at Acne Studios enhanced my imagination.

You tend to juxtapose black and white sketches with splashes of colour, and intricate details with loose and abstract visuals. What do you like about this disjointed and contrasting style?

I’m pretty ambitious with the face, but once that is finished there is this punk in me that is bored easily and just doesn't have the patience to finish the whole drawing with pencil, so I have this need to add something quick and rough. I like this contrast.

Your website gives little away about you and what you do, allowing your work to act as the focal point of the site. What are the words and thoughts behind the images?

Right. I really don’t like to hand out a user manual to my work. I’m always fascinated by how people spend more time reading the painting description at the museum than actually looking at the painting. Mainly, my work is aesthetics. And I leave it up to the beholder and whatever associations or interpretations come to his or her mind when facing it.

Describe your creative process from the initial moment of inspiration to the finished piece.

There’s no exact recipe to my work, so all I can say is I need tea and a good audiobook. I work from photographs, as I mostly portray existing people.

Who or what inspires you both within and outside the fashion and art world?

To pick out a few, I would name Andrea Ventura and Jenny Saville, who I adore as painters. I love the poems of Joachim Ringelnatz, Erich Fried and Hermann Hesse. Last but not least, my boyfriend’s work as a photographer pushes me a lot.

How do you see your career developing in the future?

I want to learn to tattoo. I’m really curious about learning new crafts and being able to work in different mediums.


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