Artist Profile: Meet Pierre Schmidt, a.k.a Drømsjel, the Surreal Genius

German artist Pierre Schmidt, also known as “Drømsjel,” creates mind-bending imagery that combines illustration and collage techniques. He’s greatly influenced by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who challenged ideas about individuality and the meaning of our existence.

To look at Schmidt’s art is to look at the artist’s subconscious while delving into your own. But what’s most striking about Schmidt’s surreal art, which is reminiscent of the great Salvatore Dali’s, is that this artist is reliant on computer technology and he’s not apologetic about it.

Schmidt walks that fine line between pop art and fine art, and we’re excited that he took the time to speak with us here at Firsttoknow.com.

Read our interview with the artist below and make sure to see our slideshow of his artwork above.

FTK: How did you start making art? Why do you make art?

Drømsjel: It all started when I received my own personal Internet connection. That must have been ten years ago. It was then that I first witnessed what was possible with digital graphics on such websites as DeviantArt, for example. And that’s what I wanted to do myself. Before that revelation, I actually had never been into graphic and art design too much. I stepped in because I was simply curious. And suddenly I found myself having so much fun, I just had to continue.

Can you remember one of the first things you created? What makes it so memorable?

When I started working on graphic designing and illustration MySpace was still a big thing. I started out using this platform to contact various musical bands and asked them whether or not they needed someone to do design for t-shirts or album covers. I remember the first thing I designed was an album cover for a band from Düsseldorf. I didn’t get any money, but it was an important experience for me. It made me delve into how to prepare printing and all accompanying procedures. What I didn’t know back then: The image you see on your computer screen is not the same thing that later comes out of the printer. There are a few steps in between to be considered. And that’s how it started. I kept on working like that, some new commission came in and it kept on being a fun thing to do. And I later started receiving payment. That was good, too.

What inspires you?

Many things. I mostly get my inspiration from things on the net. It doesn’t matter which website, really. If I am able to find a picture, music or color composition that appeals to me, it directly goes into my archives for later potential inspiration. And if I feel like it, I go back to it and use it for my own works.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

That would be my computer. Without it I could not create any form of artwork. Recently, I started to appreciate working with my Wacom pen tablet, as well. It’s something that I can still experiment with to discover new things. I’ve been exclusively working with that for a year now. The final “tool” I’d like to mention would be Spotify. There’s no way for me to get inspiration while working without some music in the air.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why? 

There are several artworks that I like a lot. Right now I would like to mention “How to Disappear Completely.” It’s my favorite. Why exactly, I do not know. I guess that is because it kept true to the initial concept I had in mind. Usually pictures change throughout the working progress. The initial image I had in mind changes while editing so that in the end something completely different  emerges from the working process. That was not the case here and so “how to disappear completely” stayed true to the conception in my head. That being said, however, a progress through which a picture changes its appearance completely is also very enjoyable. Sometimes you surprise yourself with what you can come up with.

How do you know when a work is finished?

That is a very good question. I guess it all comes down to that feeling in my guts. That’s what tells me if something is finished or not.

Do you have a favorite artist? If so, what draws you to that person’s work?

At the moment I’d say I really appreciate the works of Joan Cornellà the most. I like his quirky humor and the expression on the characters’ faces. I always have to smile when reading his comics time and time again.