Michael Kutsche is a wildly talented artist based in Berlin, German, who has won awards for his work in traditional and digital media. Michael is a self taught artist whose work has been described as an astoundingly lifelike depiction of parallel realities, he creates amazing characters for movies or comics. Michael Kutsche has created incredibly characters whilst working as a character designer on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful and Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. His amazing work has made Michael Kutsche one of the most in demand character designer’s working in the film industry today. Michael has worked with the likes of Disney, Dreamworks, Marvel Studio, Warner Bros, SEGA and many more clients. I can’t recommend checking out his work enough, take a moment (once you’ve finished reading his interview of course), and marvel at his imagination. Please enjoy my interview with Michael Kutsche…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I come up with drawings of fantastical characters and creatures that eventually come to life in movies.
I am currently reading Valis by Philip K. Dick.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende had a profound impact on me although I was really too young at the time to fully grasp it.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was a kid, my uncles and aunts were always making these predictions that I would become an artist, but at the time I wouldn’t buy into it, and I was also really interested in computers, so I always said I would become a programmer. In the end it became kind of a mix of both, I’m an artist, but in the image creation process I’m also heavily relying on computer software.
Did you demonstrate an affinity with art as a child?
Yes, from very early on.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
It might think that I became a bit cynical, but that’s only on the surface!
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
I would gift myself The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
Most of the time it’s in the evening hours, but while I’m working on my paintings I’m listening to a lot of audio books.
That might be The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring artist?
One would be that even after some success kicks in, never think you’ve made it, the artist’s path should be a never ending journey of learning. Also, no matter how complex a work of art and how intimidating an endeavor may seem, there’s always a way to break it down into tiny simple steps.
Who would you say are the three artists that continue to inspire you?
Moebius, Hayao Miyazaki and probably Hieronymus Bosch are still vast sources of inspiration.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
The book I’ve recommended the most is Neuromancer by William Gibson.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Do you think reading is important?
Most definitely, it makes us look at life from a myriad of perspectives and it’s a great trigger for visual imagination. It’s almost as if with every book, we acquire a new world that we can travel to in our mind and our dreams.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
That would be Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I prefer the feel of real books, but there’s no denying the practicality and portability of their digital counterparts.
Do you think there is a relationship between books and art?
There’s a lot of proof that they inspire each other tremendously.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
That would still be The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, it captured my imagination when I was very young and I still keep thinking how perfectly well all these symbols work together without making the story feel preachy. The book also serves as a very elegant criticism on materialism and that’s maybe one of the reasons it hasn’t aged in any way.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’d like to read more about the analytical psychology of Carl Jung since I constantly stumble over him when reading books about storytelling.