It’s a mad world


The Makers: Interview with artist ATAK

A mouse chasing the cat, a hare shooting the hunter and an animal tamer jumping through a burning hoop. In his great picture book Verrückte Welt Berlin-based artist ATAK turns the world upside down. Every time I flip through it I discover more and more funny details which I haven’t seen before: There’s Ernie from Sesame Street sitting in a window and there’s a Matisse print hanging on the wall. The remarkable thing about ATAKs book is the rough and handmade look of his paintings. You can even see every brushstroke. And although it looks like a children’s book it surely is also suitable for adults.

ATAK is an all-round artist and always very busy. He’s drawing comic strips, illustrating books and writing columns. Above all he recently became a professor for communications design in Halle. So I really understand why it was so hard to get him on the phone. But fortunately I did catch him for an interview for our series The Makers. After the jump ATAK tells us what advantages Berlin has compared to Paris and London.


Why Berlin?

I was born in Frankfurt/Oder, my family moved to Berlin very early. So I’ve got all my family and friends here in Berlin. I’ve been to Stockholm some time but there I came to appreciate Berlin. And I like the Berlin sense of humor.

What are your favorite locations in Berlin?

That changes from time to time. At the moment I like the surroundings of Berlin and my studio near Mauerpark. I also like to be in Kaffee Burger.


Does Berlin inspire you in your work?

Unlike Paris and London Berlin got this kind of relaxed, unstressed rhythm. But at the same time you find this unbelievable versatile creativity. This city vibrates but does not beat you.

Why is this kind of role reversal so fascinating not only for children?

It is a very old topic, which did reach the people already hundred years ago with the Neuruppiner Bilderbögen for instance. For me it was important that there was no text I had to illustrate. The pictures stand for themselves. I just transferred the topic into our time.


Everyone can see that your pictures are really painted and not drafted with a computer…

Yeah, that is a conscious decision! For me it is important to feel the material. It is a special aesthetics, which differs from many of these uniform and exchangeable computer artworks.

Is it difficult to collaborate with an author whose text you are illustrating? Are you always free to decide what you’re painting?

You’ve to take your freedom by yourself. I’ve worked with a publisher who had problems with a smoker I had painted. So in my next book you’ll find smoking people on every single page!

What’s it about?

It is a new version of shock-headed Peter (Struwwelpeter) I did together with Fil. The book is already finished and will soon be published at Kein & Aber.


ATAK: Verrückte Welt
32 Pages, 15 x 22 cm,
ISBN 978-3-941087-24-8
EUR [D] 14,95, EUR [A] 15,40, SFr 29,20

Text: Steffen Krautzig

Diesen Artikel auf deutsch lesen.

<a href="" target="_self">Guest Author</a>

Guest Author