Kristian Hammerstad Interview
With an illustrative style that fits easily into the classic comic book genre, yet with his own twist, today’s featured illustrator’s client list is the kind of thing other illustrators turn green for. Penguin Books, AOL, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Wired Magazine and others on that list are a nod to his ability to accurately communicate concepts for a specific brief. With a soft spot for skeletons and a knack for capturing a strong sense of noir film in his work, it’s no surprise his illustrations are a sought-after addition to many high-profile magazine features. Ladies and gents across the Springleap universe, today is Thursday and that means we’re putting the Spotlight On Kristian Hammerstad!
Poster for Skurk feat. Captain T. © Kristian Hammerstad.
SL: Did you study to become an artist/illustrator/designer?
KH: Yes, I studied illustration at Central St. Martin’s School of Art and Design in London, England. I also did some basic Audio/Visual courses there and sort of taught myself how to do drawn 2D animation, which I then did for a living for a couple of years out of college.
SL: What’s your preferred medium, and why?
KH: I always draw with brush and ink on paper for my illustration work. I then color the image digitally because it gives me more options when I am doing an assignment. I will always draw on paper first just because I really don’t think there is any substitute for it digitally. There’s a signature to every hand that is somehow almost mystic. The rest of my process is digital, but I don’t want to lose at least that part.
For L.A. Times Weekly © Kristian Hammerstad.
SL: What other designers or illustrators have influenced your work?
KH: There are so many…. I have always been a huge fan of comic-book artists, even before I knew their names. In general the things I grew up with as a kid are probably the things that remain influential. Comic-book artists like Will Eisner, Carl Barks, Katsuhiro Otomo, Moebius, Bernie Wrightson, Jack Davis and Hal Foster were big for me. Later on I also developed a love for american ‘indie-artists’ like Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware. Another big influence when I was a boy was the skateboard-artist Jim Phillips. I am also a geek when it comes to horror cinema and have been influenced a lot by for instance the director John Carpenter and his joyous storytelling and characters.
For Noronna Magazine © Kristian Hammerstad.
SL: If possible, name your favourite artwork of all time. (If not, name a few!)
SL: What music do you listen to when creating your artwork?
SL: I usually never listen to music when I work, I find that it sort of takes me out of whatever I am trying to work on. Maybe it is just too much for the senses in a way. I do listen to a lot of radio shows and talk-based podcasts. I kind of have it on in the background. Like background noise.
Thanks to Kristian for the insights into where his illustrations draws inspiration – and for taking the time! Wanna see more of his work? Head on over to his website.
Enjoy the interview? You can check out Springleap’s other interviews in the Spotlight On series here.