“I like the idea of irritating our everyday view on things that surround us, and putting them in another context,” says Matthias Seifarth, a graphic-artist and illustrator based in Hamburg and born in Warendorf, a little town in Northrhein Westfalia, Germany.
In one of his portraits, a girl in black bathing suit stands with giant spider legs crawling her back. Her face says she’s not frightened, as does the way she holds one of its legs — like it’s the strap of her bag pack, or a fish she found in the dusky brown sea.
“The images are more a fragment of a possible story, which each person can tell and interpret for himself,” he says, “Since childhood we learn and believe that such creatures are disgusting but I like to place a question mark over my pictures in order to think about it more. Maybe the spider is not that creepy, maybe it is. Everyone has to answer these questions for themselves.”
You said that these characters you create are inspired from random people you happen to see when you're out in the world. How would you describe that process where you see something and then go home and reflect it in your work?
Inspiration comes to me from strange characters that surround me. Currently I live in St. Pauli in Hamburg and the district has a full range of creatures from young yuppies to hipsters and broken old souls spending afternoons in lonely bars. I try to capture this loneliness in some of my drawings and I like to place a question mark over the things I see and to set them on a stage.
You see the protagonists are often in a mystic, autarkic, and empty space. In this way I put them out of their usual context. I want the beholder to create their own story or interpretation around my illustrations.
I think a lot of people have lost their inner energy and try to chase questionable ideals so it becomes more and more important nowadays to look inside oneself, learning to like and accept one's character with all of its rough edges and mistakes in order to come to terms with it. I'm in the process as well…
You quote Stephen King in at least two of your illustrations, “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” Do you believe that evil exists in our free will?
Of course. Look at this weird world we're living in and you have the answer.
Weapon of choice?
It is always changing. Right now I like drawing with fine pencils most and I color the drawings digitally so that I can experiment with different moods.
Seifarth studied graphic design, illustration and product design at the University of Applied Sciences in Muenster, Northrhein Westfalia, and has been working for clients like Rolling Stone, Novum–World of Graphic Design, and Indie Magazine. More works can be viewed in his portfolio.