Monika on her lovely balcony in Berlin
Great library (and so nice to have some booze amongst the books!)
Quirky stamp collection
Angry White Monkey collaboration with Stefan Sagmeister
Wall painting in Ahoj Stuttgart
An illustration in her collage style
On Monday I interviewed the illustrator Monika Aichele. We met in her wonderful apt/studio in Prenzlauerberg - a neighbourhood in the former East Germany which has undergone dizzying changes since Reunification. Her apartment was filled with a wonderful collection of books, art made by her friends, and tchtokes from her many travels. We chatted on her sweet, plant filled balcony from which we had a great view of the city.
There was a real sense of movement and multitasking about Monika. When I arrived she was dashing about finishing up an assignment while her shiny silver suitcase sat packed and ready to be taken to Munich in morning!
It was not surprising to me that she was so busy. In addition to doing illustration in a number of different styles Monika also teaches at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, maintains a resource website for illustrators called How I got that idea, exhibits her work frequently through Europe and collaborates with other artists on projects! (One of the most well known of her collaborations is the Giant Monkey project she created with Stefan Seigmeister. See photos above. She also frequently travels to Munich, New York and Barcelona! It is no wonder she enjoys drawing on trains.
One of Monika's great strengths is her conceptual illustration so I asked her several questions concerning this. She credits her ability to think conceptually in large part to Heinz Adelmann, one of her instructors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. She explained that he trained his students to think in a way similar to that of a coach training an athlete. He always pushed her to go beyond the cliche idea - to keep thinking and thinking until an original idea emerged. To look at Monika's wondeful body work it is obvious that this intense training paid off.