“Dynamic. Spontaneous. Narrative.“
Today we meet Felix Hülpman, he the man for fancy surreal illustration, based in Berlin!
Hello Felix, happy to meet you and thanks for your time!
Felix, could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into drawing? Is it something you have always done? Do any childhood memories stand out?
I have been drawing basically for my whole life. Both my parents are Graphic Designers, so I got into the whole art thing quite young. I started drawing comics and always loved to express myself. Whereever I found a pen and a paper, I started drawing. In my teenage days I made my first steps with Graffiti, due to having friends of my sisters as idols. There are a lot of funny stories that I remember but it is hard to tell a specific one, that would be beyond scope I suppose =)
Streets or galleries?
It all started in the streets somehow, but I also like the gallery aspect as well – nowadays you can luckily combine both sides. But painting outsides is the most chilled thing, you can put struggles aside and free your mind.
About what are your illustrations? Which stories are you telling?
My illustrations are a mix of wild characters in different scenarios. Each piece has a different story, whereby it depends on the mood and choice of materials. The stories are about life, surroundings, feelings, certain things that happen at certain stages. You can find a lot of easter eggs and hidden messages, depending on the background. So the approach is to look closer and define maybe also your own story as a viewer.
Tell us some of the techniques you use to create your pieces, what’s your special move?
I preferably use markers or spraypaint when I am painting. But i also like using Acrylic paint and brushes. There is basically no boundaries, the more unconvenient the surface gets, the more challenging it will be and exploration means fun to me at the first place. I think a pretty special thing is that I have a really strong stroke in my paintings and that there is a high recognition value when it comes to characters and forms.
Pens or brushes?
Pens. But also combining stuff is great, mixed materials are pretty effectful.
Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?
Due to my Graffiti background where it was all about the crew aspect and creating stuff together I really love to collaborate with other colleagues. Fusing styles and learning about new approaches are always good for your own development of skills and to reflect your way of working and styles. I have done different collabos with fellows from various artistic fields, but also participated in battles all over the country with my crew. I think the fact to put your own ego aside and to learn from others by communicating and the input is always a big thing for the development and to school your eyes and skills.
How would you describe your illustrations/streetart in three words? Were there any particular artists who inspired you to get your vision? What are your main influencers in the world of graffiti?
Oh my, that is really hard to tell – but I try: dynamic. spontaneous. narrative. That would be it I guess. Main influences are Comics from the childhood – Clever & Smart, Lucky Luke, Werner, Digedags etc., the Expressionists like Otto Dix, George Grosz, but also Picasso, Basquiat, Warhol are my heroes. Also my father Bert, Kat Menschik and my uncle Jan where people I looked up to!
From Graffiti I really like the different styles, it is pretty hard to tell who especially was it, because there have been many from all over the world who inspired me. But mostly stuff from the 90s I would say.
What do you find the most fulfilling about painting in the streets?
Mainly the aspect that you connect with other people and that you create something unique. Depending on the surrounding every painting is special and your focus is only on creating and put problems, bad issues and other stuff away for some time. Freeing your mind is the best part about it and when you created something nice the day was great.
How do you decide what to paint? Where do you get your inspiration?
Usually I try to freestyle when I am painting, that is the goal. But I always collect ideas, make notes, safe images that might be cool to combine, stuff also comes from walking around or through talks or news. I get my inspiration almost everywhere. Travelling would be one and checking new surroundings. When I am painting collabos we make up a concept, but when I know I have no clue, I pick up colours randomly and the main idea comes while starting the first lines. I like the aspect about letting it flow while thoughts navigate your hand with the material.
Tell us about the street art scene in Berlin.
Berlin is full of creativity. I really like the different styles and backgrounds, you can find a lot of interesting artists from all over the world, that you can connect with. The city has its own vibe and also has a special status in comparison to other big cities in the world I would say. You have a lot of opportunities to express yourself, although there is a lot of competition. Before Corona there was a lot of events and exhibitons, the scene never sleeps. Hopefully this comes back for good. It all changed over the years, so there is more respect and recognition for Art and its meanings. I think the scene got bigger and more interesting over the years and I am looking forward to the future.
If you could paint anywhere in the world, where would it be?
One goal would be to paint in New Zealand one day, I always wanted to go back, due to having lived there for a year ages ago. Another city would be New York, because it has a special meaning to the Graffiti history and me as a fan of the city vibe. Travelling in general is pretty important to me and I wanna see as much as I can in the future. Meeting different cultures and exploring new ways and cities has always been a main inspiration to me.
How has the public responded to your work?
Luckily I have gained mostly positive feedback for my works.
What do you see as your personal mission in these times?
Firstly to stay positive, work hard and to bring more joy to people with my Artworks. And to not stop creating.
What is your general philosophy?
If you are curious and stay focussed on your goals, treat others with respect and love what you do, you can achieve a lot. Always have patience, be reflected and learn from your faults.
What’s your biggest challenge as an artist?
The biggest challenge is to make a living from your passion and not to step on the spot. And never being to satisfied and try to look for new approaches and ideas.
Besides illustration, graffiti, street art, have you any other particular interests? How do you spend your days off?
I like to take walks, meet with my friends, travel other places and enjoy cultural stuff like concerts, readings or just chilling at home and watching a movie. But usually I am always surrounded by Arts and stuff.
Do you think that art shouldn’t be conceived only as something separated from the feelings of the majority of people?
Art is never seperated from feelings, because you can only reach people, if they feel your Art and recognize it.
What advice would you give to artists looking to get involved in painting the streets?/What advice would you give to young artists in general?
Try out as much as possible. Ask people for advice and collaborate. Find your style and what you wanna express. Ask yourself, what you wanna achieve and what you need for getting there. Expect failures and deal with it. Ask people for advice and collaborate, create a network, that is very important for the future.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Maybe that I do not drink coffee.
How do you define success?
Staying healthy, having a nice and supportive family and friends circle, making a living by following your passion. It is not necessarily about material things or wealth I would say. Everyone has another definition, but the things I said are the most essential points for me and I feel more than lucky and priviliged.
About what should People be more conscious?
About their environment and habits I would say.
How do you think the world can be a better place?
If we respect each other, stay humble and kind, think about our kids and the future.
Curious for his work? Check our online shop for his special limited Art Prints, Signed and numbered by Felix Hülpüsch.
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