Just like Neo from The Matrix, we sometimes get a strange feeling deep in our guts that something is not quite right with the world. German artist Steffen Kraft, who also goes by the name Iconeo online, makes amazing social commentary pictures that highlight how ironic, weird and even hypocritical life can sometimes be.
“On the one hand, I’m inspired by little things, like my pencil, a cup of coffee or toilet paper. These little objects are icons. Everybody knows them. We don’t have to think about their function when we see them. It’s good brain training trying to place these things in a different situation. Sometimes, the results are meaningful, sometimes not.”
“On the other hand, I’m inspired by bigger things, like climate change, plastic pollution or social behavior. I try to make these complex themes simple and surprising,” the artist revealed to Bored Panda.
Kraft believes that in our daily routine, we are “overwhelmed with images and impressions”, which is why we lose the ability to “self-reflect and to see the world from a different point of view.”
“Of course, I also produce images, but it’s the kind of communication most people understand quickly,” he admitted. “My goal is to surprise the viewer with simple ideas that they may not have thought about and which make them think, and make them discuss them with others.”
Iconeo got a degree in Communication Design in Germany and founded an advertising agency. He admitted to Bored Panda that at that point he was “far away from being an artist” and also didn’t want to be one.
“I liked to work for clients and create ideas to sell products. It was an important time for me, but after 8 years, I left the agency. Since then, I explored the art part inside of me. And it’s a funny journey, not a straight path. I still do graphic design, logo design, poster design for clients, but more the artsy way with my style, not the advertising way with trendy images.”
Kraft had some advice for all the new, veteran, successful and struggling artists out there: “Being an artist means having good times and having bad times, especially in the beginning. Be patient when you are uninspired or when you feel misunderstood. You are on the right path, as long as you are engaged in doing what you find interesting. And don’t forget to relax. I get the best ideas when I’m relaxed and out of my office.”
Finally, Kraft told Bored Panda about his future plans. “I want to do a book for children, but as with every new thing, this is hard in the beginning. And I’m trying to learn AR-stuff to explore new ways of showing my art.”