With Halloween fast approaching, self-taught illustrator and concept artist Stefan Koidl caught our eye with his creepy illustrations. He kind of reminded us of the photographer Megan Maynard who we interviewed last year. Her work could be called a little disturbing and, the work of Stefan Koidl falls into that category. Evidently ‘disturbing’ has a certain degree of subjectivity. That said, there will be a great deal more consensus on the quality of his illustrations.
Allowing his mind to meander, he creates magnificent fantasy worlds, outlandish ghouls, and goblins. In fact, there is a certain degree of these nightmarish visions being ones you would associate with childhood: the ghoul who enters your room at night.
Check our short one-one with Stefan where he talks about all things that creepy.
Can you talk a bit about how you came into the world of art-can you name a moment, person, thing who inspired this interest in art?
I started drawing when I was a little kid. Creating characters and scenes that do not exist in real life fascinated me. I just had fun sketching and painting random stuff. Often, I copied drawings of creatures, excavators, or dinosaurs out of children books. Later I focused more on skulls. In my opinion nearly every young boy finds skulls cool at a certain age. It was kind of: I like it, I draw it.
How would you describe your art? We read somewhere that your art is inspired by the things that frighten us?
Everyone feels scared of something, some are afraid of the dark, dark forests, abandoned stuff, creatures, ghosts, the unknown. I love to play with the “fear” and as a kid I was always attracted to dark and creepy stuff. An Illustration should capture a certain story, so people can connect to it. In my case, fear is easily connectable. Most of my ideas are random. Sometimes it is only when I am 50-60% into a painting that I get the “twist”. I do not plan them right away.
For us, your work also has a large fantasy/otherworldly aspect to us. Tell us a bit more about these fantasy worlds you like to delve into?
Sometimes the world just feels cold or boring. I do like to create a more sci-fi direction. Still retaining that real-world element while being more interesting to look at. People like to see something new, create their own stories in their head from diving into such worlds. I do not want to tell a clear story right away. There should always be a certain mystery.
Your images seem to be fuelled by childhood nightmares.
Right away, no, most of my ideas are random. I do not paint any nightmares I have heard or read. My images just allow people to connect to their own nightmares. I expect that is why my work appeals to such a broad audience. Humans are easily afraid of what they do not see or do not know. Those nightmarish scenes are just to tell a certain creepy story.
Like great horror writers they relish the ability to use words to instil fear-you seem to love instilling fear.
Good point. Why would someone want their audience to feel fear? Deep down in there, some people are just attracted to dark, frightening creepy stuff. I do not know why, but I just have fun painting what I paint. That is why I do this. Of course, I also like to play with the fear of the viewer, a good nightmarish story is just entertaining. Art is here to entertain. It can be an escape from the monotony of a bleak and gloomy everyday life.