Christoph Niemann: You are fluent in this language (and don't even know it)
With charm and incisive wit, Christoph Niemann sketches the moments of our shared experience. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
is the greatest job there is.
each and every one of you
discovering new galaxies
is also a daunting job.
from nine to six, doing this.
that consists entirely
of the creative process.
about what makes my life difficult.
you are fluent in a language
of reading images.
of an intellectual effort.
is that you can take a very complex idea
in a very simple, efficient form.
exactly the same ideas.
at the college hat,
the accessory you wear on your head
is they cannot only communicate images,
an unfamiliar place and you see this.
or maybe downright panic.
more than just graphic icons.
of modern-day struggle,
between two airplane seats
30 seconds to fight it out
for the rest of the flight.
is full of these images.
the idea of discomfort,
to make you more comfortable --
is I fall into a sort of painful coma.
taste in my mouth.
it cannot be described with words,
prefer to do it while spooning.
for close to 20 years,
I've never figured out
even more complicated
"I had a bad dream."
sorry for them, they're your kids,
they're really cute and warm and snugly.
they inexplicably --
into your consciousness,
to have an emotional reaction.
at filling in the blanks.
there's this concept of negative space.
of drawing the actual object,
to project food into a void.
is a pair of AA batteries
by moving my desk lamp up and down.
to trigger such an image?
is to use the smallest amount possible.
one more element,
as an artist is abstraction.
which I call the abstract-o-meter,
for example the heart and the arrow,
as the symbol for love,
of realism or abstraction.
it just grosses everybody out.
and do very abstract,
what they're looking at.
the perfect place on that scale,
to a more simple form,
new angles in storytelling.
cultural areas and bring them together.
things become so obscure
to have a good understanding
vocabulary of your audience.
a comment on the Olympics in Athens,
of the "New Yorker"
idea of Greek art.
even appreciate the small detail,
on the bottom of the vase.
with magazine editors,
radical leaps with images
is that they often seem to push me
of really tired visual clichés
climbing up a ladder,
morphs into a stock market graph,
that's always good.
here in the audience,
like this is published,
and the tsunami in Japan,
one of the greatest drawings ever.
in Fukushima got out of hand.
of the workers in hazmat suits,
was how quiet and serene it was.
of a silent catastrophe.
an aha moment, for you, for the reader.
when I create these images.
going off in my head.
lead to a good idea.
and I'm trying to decode
what to do with that.
on the Brooklyn bridge in a traffic jam.
but also kind of poetic.
and put them together in this idea.
is not show a realistic scene.
already had this image with you,
were carrying it with you all along.
this is a very delicate process
nor scalable, I think.
important skill for an artist
from the perspective of the reader.
by becoming a better observer of images.
an exercise for myself
a random object I found around the house
could trigger an idea
with the original purpose of that item.
I'm blank for a long while.
is if I open my mind
I have stored up there,
a few lines of ink to connect --
moment of inspiration.
doesn't happen on paper.
clash with my artistic intentions.
be bothered or bored or inspired
as my artistic contribution.
an artistic statement
ABOUT THE SPEAKERChristoph Niemann - Illustrator, artist, author
With charm and incisive wit, Christoph Niemann sketches the moments of our shared experience.
Why you should listen
Christoph Niemann is the master of the deceptively simple. His work -- which often combines line drawing or brushwork with physical objects, or eschews drawing altogether in favor of LEGO -- has appeared on the covers of the New Yorker, WIRED and the New York Times Magazine and has won many awards. He has drawn live from the Venice Art Biennale and the Olympic Games in London, and he has sketched the New York City Marathon -- while running it. He created the New Yorker's first augmented reality cover as well as a hand-drawn 360-degree VR animation for the magazine's US Open issue.
Niemann is the author of many books, including the monograph Sunday Sketching, WORDS and Souvenir. With Nicholas Blechman, he published the book Conversations. With Jon Huang, he created the kids' apps Petting Zoo and Chomp. His work is subject of an episode of Abstract, a new original Netflix series.
Christoph Niemann | Speaker | TED.com