Serge Seidlitz by Matt Jeffery
There are not many occupations that would fit a half-English, half-German born in Nairobi, Kenya better than a creative. To be an illustrator is to create an image for a purpose, such as a magazine or book. Serge Seidlitz is seasoned in this business and being this culturally diverse is in no way a hindrance. Born in 1977, Seidlitz grew up travelling around Asia and the UK on account of his father. He studied at Camberwell College of Art in London graduating in 2000.
Inspiration to become a graphic designer came from Seidlitz’ childhood, overdoses of MTV and Mad Magazine’s colourful designs aroused a heightened sense of imagination. In an interview with FMCS, Seidlitz explains how his grandfather was an illustrator and an influential figure in his artistic life and style: “He always drew caricatures in the margins of the newspapers; I used to try copying them.” He admits – like a lot of us – to trying to make his own comic books as a child. Unlike a lot of us, his determination meant he was able to turn this creative thinking and design into a living.
After working for Cartoon Network for a period, Seidlitz knew his talent was better received on a wider market. Freelance illustration work came easy taking his influences from popular culture, graphic typography and the juxtaposition of many seemingly odd but oddly meaningful styles of design. Contractors for Seidlitz include MTV, Volvic, Orange Mobile, Honda and Playstation, a portfolio to rival any current graphic design expert.
In October of last year, Seidlitz brought his work to the The Coningsby Gallery in London, exhibiting work solo for the first time. Spaceship Earth showcased his work under many forms of media. His work with a small Nepalese community is a commentary on the man’s humility as he stressed the importance of keeping these age old arts alive. All of the handmade, woven rugs displayed at Spaceship Earth were produced Fair-trade with help from Seidlitz’ friend Chris Haughton. The company is called Node Rugs and works with Kumbeshwar Technical School in Kathmandu. Employees at Kumbeshwar are paid a fair wage, taught literacy and there is a school with over 260 children also available.
Seidlitz good work also extends to the city I’m currently studying in, Birmingham. In 2010, he – along with other Debut Art illustrators – went to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for a week long Family Art Festival. Seidlitz and fellow illustrators, John Burgerman, Harry Malt and Celyn all had giant, heart themed canvasses to display their expertise on and hopefully raise £2 million.
Serge Seidlitz is an inspiration to people like myself hoping to take creativity and move with that into a career, much like his grandfather was to him. His style of work is never subdued and will brighten any room. His quirky and colourful illustrations are universal and instantly recognisable as shown in the mass of companies asking for his help in advertising. This is not to say Seidlitz is static in his artwork, quite the opposite, but there is something signature in his work which should keep his name on the lips of the creative community for years to come.The aim of this article is hopefully to spread the word about an artist who I respect and hopefully get a few more people shouting his name.
“after a while I guess you discover some kind of pattern or style forming in your work”