When it comes to printmaking, Julia Schimautz is something of a dab hand. Having worked with numerous methods, from screen to inkjet printing, it seems she's tried, tested and mastered every possible approach. But, as Julia explains, no technique has quite resonated with her like Risograph. “The beauty in combining print and animation lies in the uncertainty of the outcome,” she says. “Although it’s designed digitally, the imperfections and mis-registrations of printing render a composition that is, mostly, beyond my control. This, more often than not, leads to something more interesting than I myself could have imagined creating.”
What draws Julia to the Risograph method is her infatuation with the vintage “look and feel”. Finding inspiration in her vast collection of design books from the 1960s to the 2000s (which is a sure fire way to spark an idea), Julia’s main aesthetic incentive is to “achieve a textured and nostalgic look”. And – while making the move to combine her love of Risograph with animation – her work is a colourful blast from the past. A sweeping red orb seems like a moon taken from a 70s science tv show, where gradient oranges, greens and purples transition into one another like a backdrop for a psychedelic band and dotted molten forms wouldn't go amiss in an acid house club.
Originally from Austria, Julia has also spent time in Cape Town – which is where she honed her printmaking skills and began creating merchandise for local bends. After completing a degree in Communication Design, Julia had the “incredible” opportunity to work at Dream Press, a Cape Town-based Riso and publishing studio run by Candice Ježek. “She taught me everything I know about Riso printing, from the technicalities to publishing and bookbinding,” Julia recalls. “This is where my passion for animation first began.” It was then in 2021 when Julia moved to Berlin and, alongside fellow creator Francis Broek, she started the Riso and design studio DTAN.
Each of Julia’s animations usually begin with a “rough idea”, and then some exploration of colour or movement is crafted in After Effects. Perhaps most important for Julia, though, is how the process keeps her on her toes. This comes naturally while working in a digital space that is being transferred to print. For instance, when it comes to the printing process, there are more restrictions in terms of colours and space. But, Julia expands: “these limitations spark creativity through the problem-solving process. I appreciate the nature of Riso with its mis-registrations and errors as it allows my digital designs more freedom in how they translate, often in ways that surprise me as well.” To later compliment the visual work, Francis creates sound pieces which elevate and add to the hypnotic feel.
Now, Julia is looking for a new space for the DTAN studio, one where exploration and experimentation can flourish: “there are so many amazing creatives that enthuse and inspire me and I’d love to collaborate on publishing books and zines with them.” For now, however, she’s excited to continue doing what she does best – exploring the vast possibilities in print, Risograph and animation and how they may all complement one another.
GalleryCopyright © Julia Schimautz, 2021–2022
Julia Schimautz & New Eyes: In Bloom Music Video (Copyright © Julia Schimautz & New Eyes, 2021)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.