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Josephin Ritschel

Work / Illustration

Josephin Ritschel presents architecture and its surroundings as a stage for storytelling

Since we last wrote about Josephin Ritschel four years ago, the Berlin-based illustrator proclaims that her work has become “better and more detailed.” Her architectural paintings and prints present new perspectives of beautifully designed, existing houses that have previously resonated with the illustrator. From Eileen Gray’s modernist villa E-1027 to Richard Neutra’s The Desert Kaufmann, Josephin doesn’t simply copy images of these sleek delights in her work, instead she presents the famous buildings from never-before-seen angles.

Combining a birds-eye perspective of the buildings with a parallel viewpoint, the German illustrator creates highly stylised interpretations of several celebrated buildings. Laboriously depicting the structures through meticulous oil paintings, Josephin later reinterprets her work by putting it through the Risograph process. Creating new textures through a restricted colour palette (not to mention a vibrancy due to the fluorescent pink ink) Josephin’s new, large-scale works open up a new creative chapter for the illustrator.

For years, she’s been collecting images of buildings that she finds fascinating from the internet. The majority of them are old black and white photographs, but she also has a separate folder filled with photographs of landscapes. She’s naturally drawn to images that have a hint of the surreal, or reminiscent of her favourite television programmes such as the X-Files and everyone’s favourite eery watch, Twin Peaks. For Josephin, however, “it’s the set design and colour that is so perfect” in these shows, and through her own moodily intriguing works, she attempts to emulate a similar oeuvre.

“Architecture is a great base,” explains Josephin on her primary theme. By illustrating a certain kind of building that is meaningful to her, coupled with a carefully constructed surrounding environment, Josephin presents a stage for something to happen. “That’s how I see it, like a stage” she goes on to say. And by adding certain characters and foliage, in turn, she is able to tell whole stories through a single, still image. Josephin concludes: “Architecture can evoke so many different emotions and that really helps me direct the illustration to give off a specific feeling."

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