By kneading the dough of a well-weighed mix of digital and analogue processes, Ramon Keimig – an Offenbach and Würzburg-based visual artist and illustrator – is able to cook up a whole bunch of projects. Whether it’s ceramic vases, paintings, wall hangings or graphic textiles, what caught our eye the most is his wonderfully abstract series of illustrative work.
Drawn in by the weird and bizarre, you would never have guessed that Ramon grew up in a small, conservative village in Bavaria, Germany. Nor that there was a lack of art among his immediate surroundings and family: “There was literally no connection to art and illustration,” he tells It’s Nice That, “but it did offer boredom and monotony.” He goes on to explain how this, plus being surrounded by nature, was not always a negative – because when we’re bored our imaginations tend to run wild: “I think being isolated from a lot of influences – as well as having access to visuals and music through the internet – has influenced me a lot.” With these elements in tow, he was then spurred on to pursue an education in design, receiving a BA in illustration and continued his studies at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach (where he is currently).
Ramon garners most of his inspiration from his friends and, more specifically, from the studio he shares with them. He also cites the “infinite amount of bizarre information online and offline” as a large part in the making of his illustrations. “More than that, I have a general interest in the extraterrestrial, subcultural, psychedelic and everything that scratches on reality, so to speak.” He adds: “I am also living in an old building, which can be loosely described as some kind of hippy place where a lot of beauty and weirdness happens. This too encourages me to repeatedly think freely and to try out new methods.”
Quite the contrast to his upbringing, Ramon is now positively surrounded by the strange and extraordinary, with inspiration coming at him from every corner. So, in terms of his usual day-to-day routine, Ramon either works from home or at the shared studio. “My process is oscillating between analogue methods like drawing, cutout, collage and so on, as well as digital methods like vector illustration or using digital brushes.” This multi-faceted concoction means that his processes often “melt together” in order to form the final picture. “Regarding content, I just have some kind of intuition and then I start fishing – it can maybe be described as a personal take on nostalgia and contemporary or futuristic topics.”
An example of this is in a piece inspired by his “nocturnal visits” to the nearby gas station with his friends, in their quest to buy beer and snacks. “You often meet odd characters there – it’s comical and grotesque at the same time,” he says. “From this starting point, I began to construct and draw elements to bring them together as a digital collage.” Then, he printed it out as a photocopy, drew on it and scanned it in again before colouring and cropping digitally. As for the rest, there’s colours galore, strange creatures, modern motifs (such as iPhones) and detailed scenes of autobiographical mayhem.
Although unintentional, Ramon’s illustrations are a portal into the inner workings of his mind. “I’m not a fan of a clear or one-dimensional meaning or message, but it’s possible through imagination and artistic manifestation to transcend your perception of things and expand your mind,” he says on the matter. “This sounds sort of esoteric, but it’s also the big freedom you have as an artist or consumer of art; you can free yourself from society’s stigma and just dive into the unknown.”