[WARNING] This article contains imagery that may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Reader discretion is advised. He’s called trippiesteff for a reason.
Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?
From rogue news media outlets pushing fake news and Twitter battles between trigger-happy world leaders; from quantum leaps in technology to seismic steps back in democracy, we are certainly living in strange times. At the receiving end of it all is us – we people of the 21st century digital age who have been hurled into these difficult times with no road map to guide us except perhaps the screen staring back at us. If it feels like the modern age is having an identity crisis, it’s because it really is.
Identity today is a collage of a million different moments; it is a surrealist juxtaposition of news, views, brands, influencers and entertainment. Incidentally, this is also a fitting description for the work of TrippieSteff, who invites his Twitter followers to turn on, tune in and drop out with him on a journey into the modern psyche through the means of psychedelic animation and illustration.
The mind behind the moniker is Steffen Heil, an animator, auto-didact motion designer, illustrator, communication designer and artist hailing from Berlin, Germany. In the four years since he’s been creating, TrippieSteff’s career as an artist has seen him collaborate and work with diverse range of clients spanning from global brands like Bosch and Huawei to music labels including
7wave8 and TNC to recording artists such as Soulja Boy and Wyclef Jean.
It’s an impressive portfolio to say the least, and yet TrippieSteff is not the least bit full of himself. On the contrary, he is as laid back and humble as they come, happy to divulge his influences and creative process.
Inspired by the digital world and social media, the artist’s work is a kaleidoscopic commentary on the strange times we are living in. His animated music video ‘Cacophony ’ (for the song of the same name by Fabian Tombers), is a perfect example of this. When we spoke of his inspiration, TrippieSteff cited Salvador Dali and the surrealism movement before proceeding to name-drop such nineties cartoons as Ren & Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life .
Within the first few frames of the animations, we see all these influences come together in a psychedelic symphony, one that transports us into a digital-sphere rabbit hole where the lines between the real and the imaginary aren’t clear cut.
“I think with videos like Cacophony, I tried to mush all these concepts together – like Trump with Mickey Mouse,” he says. To build what he calls a ‘digital collage’, he dedicates time to consuming media to find the right images in which he switches between times and subcultures. Think zapping through TV channels, except replace the TV with social media apps and platforms like Pinterest. When an image catches his eye or spawns an idea – such as a pro-anarchy Teletubby getting hit by a wrecking ball-riding-Miley Cyrus – TrippieSteff takes to his iPad and, as he puts it, “just draws it out.”
Even the album artwork he has created for a diverse collection of recording artists are visual acid-trips in themselves, so you’d be forgiven in thinking this is an artist who spends his days experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs. And with a moniker like TrippieSteff, who could blame you? In fact, the uniquely-talented Steffen Heil has spent the last year on the road focusing on his full-time career as an artist.
Having travelled to sixteen countries in the short space of a year, TrippieSteff has had to minimalize his process to be more mobile. Working primarily in Procreate on his iPad, he can react quickly to inspiration when it takes him – whether that’s when he’s in a car, on the train or immersed in nature.
Two years ago, Heil had been working in an office, pursuing his creative passions in his spare time. If his job taught him anything, it was that he was not an office worker. That said, it was hardly a Dunder Mifflin situation, either. Since earning his diploma in illustration, Steffen Heil was working for a YouTube channel before he left to follow his dreams.
Today, a glance into his portfolio shows the time and commitment have paid off. Soaked in vibrant colours and dripping in surrealism, every piece is as unique as it is eye-catching while making a statement about the strange times we live in. He may have only been doing it full-time for just over a year, but TrippieSteff has already established himself as a generation-defining artist worth keeping an eye on.
[POUTIQ] We are honoured to write about inspiring individuals like Trippiesteff. His is a real-life story of why you shouldn’t be afraid to pursue the dream of doing what you love for work. With true passion for your craft and a perserverence to hone your skill, technology today gives us all the opportunity to become masters of our own
If you’re a creative that would like to be featured with us, hit us up.