When You Look into the Abyss, the Abyss Also Looks into You: An Interview with Pierre Schmidt

Written & Curated by Lilly Ball


pierre schmidt

Looking at the work of Pierre Schmidt is looking at the artist himself. Working headlong through the impulsivities of his psyche and employing titles based on the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and the melancholy underpinnings of Avro Pärt’s Spiegel em SpiegelSchmidt manages to delicately thread a line from his very being to wherever you might be. Swimming freely in pieces such as Ressentiment I, Ressentiment III, are ethereal filaments and strands, admittedly plucked from the soft tissue of his subconscious, grasping desperately for meaning in a world only partially realized by the creator himself. Prepped and sliced for dissection, we find his suppressions, ruptured and swollen, spilling forth bits of nostalgia, idiosyncrasies, and an ache to gain a higher consciousness. 


What are your tools for creating?
Lately, my usual mode of operation embodies the exclusive work with my computer and Wacom tablet, which allow me to try out new things and experiment a little. Accompanying that: the classic combination of pencil and paper. I scan the raw pencil drafts and continue editing them digitally.


pierre schmidt“Daily Inspiration,” (2014). Digital Collage. 28 x 34 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.

pierre schmidt“Der Spiegel im Spiegel,” (2014). Digital Collage.  28 x 37 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.


Your work looks painstakingly intricate. Why are you dedicated to the complexities of this art form?
It’s rather difficult for me to say, actually. I like creating a certain vividness in my work through the use of details. I want people to be able to come back to my work and always rediscover new small details they might have overlooked before. That way my artworks stay alive and exciting. And it’s also harder to pin them down to any form of fixed interpretation.


pierre schmidt“Menschliches, Allzumenschliches,” (2012). Pencil Drawing (digital post-processing). 41 x 49 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.

pierre schmidt“Nietzsche I,” (2013).  Pencil Drawing (digital post-processing). 21 x 29.7 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.


Where does this dedication come from?
Who knows, really? It may have something to do with my relation to the high art of simplicity. Simplicity in art is something that I really adore, but have never been able to master. It’s easier for me to just fill a blank sheet with lots of detailed scribblings than to painstakingly design a clean geometric logo.

Where do you begin in your illustrations? What is your process?
When I start working on a new project, I usually don’t have any specific intention or message in mind. It’s more about the subject matter itself, an impression or some sort of impulse. How to describe it? The artwork itself is the result of many different steps during the process of working on it. I try things out, throw out initial ideas or find out new forms of composition. Hence, factual coincidences occurring during the process of arranging the various constituents of the picture lead to the development of entirely new concepts. Applying this form of work, I sometimes find myself surprised with my own final product.


pierre schmidt“Ressentiment I,” (2014). Digital Collage. 29.7 x 42 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.

pierre schmidt“Ressentiment III,” (2014). Digital Collage. 29.7 x 42 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.


What are some of your greatest influences?
I have all kinds of inspiration. Sometimes it’s day dreams, sometimes it’s music or film. And of course: the Internet. Tumblr or Pinterest, for example. That’s where I usually discover fresh ideas for new artworks.


pierre schmidt“Sirens Singing,” (2013). Pencil Drawing (digital post-processing). 29.7 x 42 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.

pierre schmidt“Slow Motion,” (2014). Digital Collage. 29.7 x 21 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.

pierre schmidt“Strange Magic,” (2014). Digital Collage. 29.7 x 29.7 centimeters. Courtesy the artist.


What artists do you look up to?
At the moment, these are my favourites: Joan Cornellá, Kikyz1313,  San Poggio, and Arx Lee.

Pierre Schmidt was born 1987 in a small city near Cologne, Germany lived and raised up in small city in Ruhrgebiet, Germany. He held an apprenticeship for an advertising agency from 2009 till 2011, when he moved to Berlin where has lived and worked ever since. You can view more of his work at www.dromsjel.de.


Lilly Ball joined FORTH Magazine as Art Director/Brand Manager in the Fall of 2014. She is interested in writing, people, and the forest. lilly@forthmagazine.com.

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