Das italienische Kunstportal PAPERIDEAS
interviewt Matthias Bade in seinem
Online Magazine PAPERZINE
In what media or area could illustration be used in an innovative way? Is there any virgin territory?
I think the way in which illustration is used rather than the medium itself constitutes something new. One mostly finds little illustrations or vignettes that indicate pure content-related information: this is what the article is about. What is far more rare is the design of entire pages. But that's a way for magazines to distinguish themselves as innovative!
Obviously, it seems like precisely magazines and newspapers are once again new territory for illustrations, because the number of illustrations has decreased enormously in most publications; certain media like Die Zeit or the magazines of the Süddeutsche Zeitung are pretty much the exception to the rule...
Fashion magazines like Vogue or Elle include one illustration per issue at the most. Recovering this territory can only be achieved through innovative, experimental, charmingly handcrafted, creative illustrations. The kind that have only appeared in illustration coffee-table books in recent years. These are usually independent projects that unfortunately didn't get used anywhere else. This begs the question: why aren't fashion editorials painted or illustrated every once in a while?
Books aren't illustrated at all any more. I have an old edition of Candide by Voltaire, every chapter opening is adorned with beautifully drawn scenes - sadly that kind of thing barely exists any more. In Germany, one sees advertising campaigns with good illustrations about twice a year, if that.
Thus: Illustrators! Storm the billboards, packaging and shop walls!
How big a role do agencies play in procuring illustration work?
Huge! I think that in Germany they set up 80% of the contacts to advertising clients. In the editorial sector it's probably a lot less, but here agencies are also gaining ground, because editors like to rely on their reputation, good selection and good research: they always find a suitable artist even if the client's first choice is unavailable.
What assignment are you most involved in at the moment?
I'm working on an independent horoscope series in which I'm combining bright watercolours with intricate artistic drawings and portraits of famous women. I want to offer them to women's magazines - there already seems to be some interest!
Moving away from the computer - how much manual work goes into your artworks?
Definitely a lot, even though several of my advertising clients still want that 90's look - smooth, slick, digital illustrations - but even here I work watercolour elements into them. Elaborate, high-quality manual craft is on the rise since it offers a high level of authenticity and also "tells" more.
I would love to offer more virtuoso oil paintings, watercolours and drawings - but for that we still have to educate the clients!