Inspired by all things that don’t exist, Stefan Koidl turns his imagination into theatrical scenes that play on our nerves. He takes us to the dark side of our minds and tells us stories that do not let us sleep. Being mainly self-taught, the artist confirms that his unbelievable art skills result from talent, hard work, and motivation. His feedback is a gift, and you can find his tips for beginners at the end of this article.
With his Limited Edition design out this week, we caught up with Stefan to talk about his inspirations and dive into his world.
Where do you live, and how does this place influence your art?
I was born in Hallein, a small typical German town, in Austria, and have lived here ever since. I don’t think that my place of residence has an extreme influence on my art. What has influenced me most here as an artist are the traditional annual Krampus runs.
How did you become an artist?
I would personally describe myself as a self-taught artist since I haven’t attended any art school long enough to claim my skills were shaped there. One of my first experiences with art was coming face to face with the beautifully drawn illustrations of dinosaurs, medieval armor, castles, and historical events in children’s books. It was at that time that I realized art is something that is attainable and enjoyable for every age group.
Even if my motives were sometimes questionable, these small achievements in art, along with the positive enthusiasm of my parents, helped me maintain my motivation. Over the years I always wanted to improve my skills and techniques until I reach a level that my role models have. Art became a big part of my life, and I can’t imagine living without it. Learning new things and subjects is giving me extra motivation every day. I’m currently specializing in digital paintings, with this medium it’s easier for me and faster to capture an idea.
What does your creative process look like?
My process changed a bit from starting with a rough pencil sketch -> to starting with a rough color sketch. I always hated starting a piece with a pencil sketch not knowing if the color and composition will be interesting later. Because my skill level improved over the years it’s way easier for me to start with a color sketch and get a better idea of whether the colors/ values and composition will be worth investing time in.
The first 30-60 minutes are the most important phase
1. Color Sketch
2. Adding a Point of Interest or a Story
3. Refining Your Painting
4. Final Detail Pass
5. Finishing Touche
What are your biggest inspirations?
I am always looking for new references and inspiration. Like many other artists, I’m inspired by photographs, movies, and video games; but also by natural and constructed environments, feelings, and imagination.
Which artists do you look up to?
There are plenty of really good artists out there that I look up to. It’s hard to choose just a few but if I have to, I would definitely choose Simon Stalenhag, Greg Rutkowski, Anna Podedworna, Peter Polach, Oleg Vdovenko…
If you could pick another career path – what would it be?
Tough question, I am also interested in tattooing but it’s kind of the same, isn’t it? I might still be trying new stuff until I find the job I would love to have. But it would be definitely something crafty.
What do you do when you are not creating?
When I find some spare time I like going to the gym, hiking, bicycling, playing video games, watching a movie, or hanging out with friends.
If you could give one piece of advice to beginner artists, what would you say?
Not one, I have 3 important ones:
1. Never get frustrated by looking at other artists’ work, don’t compare yourself with experienced artists, it gets depressing really quickly.
2. Enjoy creating what you love to create, don’t force yourself to certain art styles or topics that you might not enjoy doing.
3. Last but not least the most important thing: Practice, practice, and practice!
If you really want to choose art as a career at least paint for 3-4 hours every day and you will improve quickly. Use the medium you love to use and just create!
What are your plans for the future?
Continuing of course. I love what I do and honestly, I have to say I’m happy about where I am now. It was quite a lot of work, but I think those hours are well spent. If I’m not into digital art and woodcarving anymore, I might start tattooing or start as an art teacher when I’m older.