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We Heart Christoph Niemann, With a Cute Illustrated Arrow Through It

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See that illustration over there, that got the biggest laughs tonight? We’re the toothpaste and Christoph Niemann is the brush.

“Every morning I get dressed, I tell my kids I’m going to work and I go to my studio and I draw fried chicken.” But although his work is loaded with brush strokes and pencil sketches, Niemann approaches his work like a graphic designer, starting with the ideas first. It’s as if he gets the assignment as an illustrator and then he goes and talks to himself as the art director. And basically, he’s just having too much fun entertaining himself to do anything else.

After showing two exceptionally hilarious New Yorker covers, he reveals he has no problem pillaging famous pieces of work or artistic styles. He definitely would do conceptual work, he just don’t have the balls to do things people don’t laugh at. Illustration (“cheap jokes” as he says) gives him the kind of reaction that design just doesn’t get. It even goes against his upbringing, as he says people say to him: “Oh, you’re German, you’re funny, that’s unusual.”

He even treats us to a reading of his Police Cloud book he wrote for his children (we’ve heard rave reviews from four-year-olds). He’s writing a new book that uses personified Chinese lettering to teach the letterforms to kids. And his final slide was an amazing mosaic he’s creating for his kids’ bathroom that’s a customized NYC subway map created with 4-inch tiles (the subway is their very favorite thing). What we wouldn’t give to be adopted by the Niemann family.

All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

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