On 12 July, the opening of the current bachelor exhibition will take place at Campus Hamburg.
Today, we present graduate Isabell Bartnicki with her final project:
What did you study and why did you choose Campus Hamburg?
I studied Illustration. I chose the Hamburg campus because I liked the university best in terms of its website. Unfortunately, there is not so much choice of universities in Hamburg that offer illustration as a course of study. I was born in Hamburg and didn't really want to move to another city. The UE is also, as far as I know, the only university besides the HAW that offers an accredited Bachelor's degree. That was also an additional crucial criterion for my selection.
What is the topic of your bachelor thesis and how did you come up with the topic?
The topic of my bachelor thesis is how to deal with light and shadow in painting and horror. In my thesis, I researched the techniques of various painters over the centuries. Then I analyzed different current concepts and paintings and determined which means are used to express the eerie atmosphere.
The inspiration for my paintings is very personal. It is a mixture of my own fears and nightmares that have flowed into my work.
I have always been a big horror fan. It all started when I was a teenager and I met with friends to watch horror movies. Then there's my love for games. Silent Hill 2 was the first horror game that I played.. I was and still am very enthusiastic about the atmosphere in the game. I like psychological horror best and not blunt jumpscares.
My interests also lie in many other things. I'm also a big Studio Ghibli fan and like to play Stardew Valley. But I think that horror is not represented enough.
Another reason is that in my own paintings/drawings, I wasn't so sure how to deal with light and shadow. So the theme was perfect for it. This way, I learned a lot in theory about the techniques of the old masters (e.g. DaVinci) and analyzed in newer paintings how everything together creates the atmosphere and the horror in pictures. These findings can then be applied to everything else.
Which materials/media did you use to realize your thesis?
I work almost exclusively digitally and paint in Photoshop. I sometimes forget that but I try to use as many references as possible, whether from Google or photographed by myself. I've also seen a lot of horror movies.
What challenges did you face with your bachelor thesis? How did you solve them and what advice would you give to the next bachelor students?
The biggest challenge was to find the compositions and a suitable lighting situation for the scene. You have to pay attention to many different aspects:
How do I best set the contrasts to guide the eye of the beholder? Does my composition work? Which parts of the picture do I have to work out, which parts can I make a bit coarser? How do the shadows fall when the light comes from this direction? What do the shadows look like? How do different materials behave when light hits them? What do stones look like at all?
These are some of the many questions I have asked myself constantly. The biggest help was good references and a lot of feedback from external people. I was lucky to get to know the Art Director Reiko Groß through my working student job and he gave me a lot of very helpful feedback. But it also helps to ask family and/or friends questions.
Do you already have an idea of what to do after graduating? What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to be a concept artist in the games and film industry. I don't have a certain studio in mind yet. I want to develop ideas and create worlds. I like solving problems, telling stories and creating emotions in my pictures.
Learn more about the Illustration course!