Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Otto Dettmer

After leaving a Graphic Design course in 1991, Dettmer began experimenting with screen printing and found it to be more effective and completed an MA during this period. He enjoys working in an 'abstract Montage' style and with positive and negative space, originally using a simple graphic design program to create basic shapes. The computer allows him to work quicker and keep with the pace. As a result of working with positive and negative he found working with magazines very enjoyable as magazines would have a lot of white space for him to work with and the white space was good at showing the work effectively. He also said how he liked the look of work with accompanying quotes or type. He likes his work to ' Leave things to the imagination, rather than spelling it out.'

    Economist illustration. Dec 200

    His constant piece of advice was to be always actively self promoting yourself, and he began this with sending postcards of his work out. He admits that when he left college he was obsessed about promoting himself rather than the actual design work. His first regular job was for the Independent and says the price for an Illustration hasn't changed since he started. Dettmer says out of eight of the clients he would contact, one would give him some work. He advised us to keep the Copyright on our images and also says it is a good idea to re-use work once you have a substantial body of it.

    Economist Illustration. Dec 2008

    Dettmer's Influences include Polish design, Russian Constructivism. Others are the baroque painter Claude Boussin. He admired how each figure was so detailed and how they all appeared to be stuck together, as if it were a montage. Dettmer is also interested in Neo Classical sculpture which he photographs and uses them for his figures. He talked to us about the artist Broigul and commented that 'His figures are perfect'. He stresses the importance of having the correct figure as he believes it brings out the different dimensions in the image.

    Dettemer told us how he found the French clients a lot friendlier than the English. He said he believed that the English liked to keep work and pleasure separate, but he did not find this with the French. But, in spite of this, he said it was a lot easier to get a job in England first. He talked to us about the role of the Art director and the how it makes life a lot easier if you get on with them. He spoke about how adverts tend to 'drain' any other images on the page and refered to them as 'parasitic' and 'forms of vandalism'

    Dettmer told us how The Telegraph is very good for Illustration and how he usually spends 2 hours on the roughs and then 2 hours for the illustration when it comes to editorials.

    He also creates his work within books which he sells at Book fares. His latest is a large poster book which folds out to show smaller images of his work. He showed us his current book which is mainly black and white. He experimented by using a photocopier with coloured ink to get the unique finish to the images. He told us the book was to be viewed as a 'Catalogue influenced by consumerism' he finds the books he creates display his work a lot better.

    I found Otto Dettmers talk interesting, especially when he spoke about dealing with the clients and working to a dead line. His work is not to my taste but I did like the minimal use of colour in his work and how he stuck to the same colours, i.e editorial work white green and black, Promotional books, red and black. I think he has a refreshing view of the design world when it comes to editorial illustration as he doesn't avoid any notions that it is not hard work, and you have to be really motivated to want to work within this industry. I enjoyed looking at his influences and loved the notion of photographing statues for the figures in his own work. His editorial work is very clean and simple and gets straight to the point. I prefer his book work, especially for the textures. His lecture was very insightful to working for newspapers and if anything I understand after this lecture the importance of self promotion and getting your name known.

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