I love design. I love art. So meeting professional illustrator Christoph Niemann, a regular staple at the New Yorker who has even done a few of their covers, including one of my favorites (done for a story on the Japanese nuclear meltdown), had me walking on air. In looking at his work, I’m amazed at the simultaneous freshness and simplicity of his ideas. Many of his illustrations are incredibly abstract but still translate perfectly to tell the story.
He talked to us about his professional life in New York City, the mecca he still seems to adore that he pilgrimage to after graduating art school in Germany, his transition back to Berlin and his creative process. Neimann says moving to Berlin has given him the professional and economic space to pursue new outlets and refresh his work. To him, in New York, people only reinvigorated their work after a stress-induced breakdown or when their old ways weren’t working, which he thinks is a terrible time to reinvent one’s self- it’s too late by then. Rather, he took the opportunity to change things up while he was doing well and barely looks back (he still does think New York City is the best place in the world). He enjoys assignments with guidelines for him “to push against” and time constraints that don’t allow the luxury and curse of over-thinking (many of his New Yorker assignments have a two-day turn-around. Niemann was incredibly witty and nice and I bought a copy of his most recent publication, Abstract City, which features quippy illustrations and musings on his life and life in general. He even signed it for me.