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Work / Illustration

Tor Brandt’s minimalistic illustrations inspired by underground comics

For Tor Brandt illustration is a creative endeavour he always pursued. “I drew obsessively as a child. I don’t think anything in particular got me into it, it’s just in my DNA or whatever.”

However when Tor decided to study art academically he became less interested. “I enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, but I dropped out halfway because I got kind of bogged down with art at that point,” says Tor. “Instead I got a masters degree in Philosophy at the university and finished last summer.”

As a result Tor stopped illustrating for a few years, but gradually became “increasingly obsessed” with comic books “and now I spend most of my waking hours thinking about visual art,” he explains. More recently Tor has released publications of drawings via Berlin publishers Colorama, but his growing interest in comic books is beginning to inform his practice. “My influences are mostly underground and indie comics. I’d really like to make more comics myself, but to be honest I’m quite a terrible writer. Right now I’m working on a full-length graphic novel with the writer Michael Kleine, it’s still in an early phase though.”

Tor’s illustration style consists of bold shapes in a restricted colour palette, “in all my work I’ve become more and more minimalistic with time,” he explains. “I really like cutting everything down to bare bone, and I always strive to have as few elements as possible in my images, no excess fat.” Illustrating in such a neat style Tor says “may have to do with my own mind being a complete mess”. Always drawing on paper with technical pens or sometimes brushes before cleaning it up and adding colour digitally, Tor’s practice “gives me a sort of peace to arrange my surroundings in a very minimal and organised manner”.

Overall the illustrator explains that his main motivation “is mostly the wonderful feeling of finishing a piece of work, and getting it out there”. As his illustration career continues the process of publishing work has become an incentive: “In the later years I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of putting something out there, that improves the lives of the recipients to some degree. I want to make something that can be of value to other people.”

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