For centuries, Strasbourg is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists. From Tomi Ungerer to John Howe, his tireless curves have overcome thousands of pencils and paint tubes. And it is indeed our city full of resources that still feeds the work of Olivier Deichtmann, a local artist who has decided to place a little dream and sweet euphoria in his city. We went to meet him.
Trained as an architect, Olivier Deichtmann has always enjoyed observing and drawing the buildings around him. A few years ago, it was her attentive gaze that gave her the idea of a somewhat original Christmas present for her sister. He began to draw the facades of famous buildings in Strasbourg: the Palais du Rhin, the Palais Universitaire, or the Lycée des Pontonniers, to make a poster of them. The gift appeals to his sister, but also to those around him. His friends began to ask him for prints: the artist had the idea of marketing them, and so began the great adventure of Olivier Deichtmann and his views of Strasbourg.
Take the time to observe
Like a meditation, the artist likes to slowly work the volumes, the effects of light and to transcribe on paper the details of the facades. From his training as an architect, the artist has kept a taste for manual work, which he prefers to computer work.a tool he only uses to color his boards after carefully scanning them. Armed with his sheets, his pencil and his Indian ink, he explains that he spends a lot of time on site when he takes it into his head to draw a building. He observes it from every angle, resumes his sketches, improves them, or adds a small detail that he had never seen before: “I spend a lot of time there, but I like it because my days are not alike”.
Taking the time to observe, to bring a building back to life on paper, is for the artist a way of taming architecture. He likes to cast a scrutinizing gaze on his city, with a keen eye for small details. We find on its buildings the half-timbering, the sculptures, and all kinds of small moving details which are just as many traces of History. : “I like to draw architecture because I like the details to understand the building, to try to enter into the mentality of the builders”.
An explorer of the Alsatian capital
By transcribing Strasbourg on paper, Olivier Deichtmann becomes a sort of explorer of the Alsatian capital. He gleans here and there pieces of what surrounds us and puts them forward to try to relearn us to take the time: “I want to show people that we have lots of beautiful buildings, and I think that someone who will buy my [affiches de] facades will necessarily be more attentive to what surrounds it […] when you pass Place Kléber for example, you don’t take the time to look at the buildings, you’re not necessarily used to looking up”.
The artist has even found a playful way to make us pay attention during our wanderings in his glossy Strasbourg, by creating the Alsatian twin of “Where is Charlie?”, “where are you Hans?”. In the hustle and bustle of a somewhat fantasized city, in which elephants roam among the traditional Saturday demonstrators, or in the center that has become Petite France Plage, there are hidden details that the spectator must collect by browsing through the little things in the movement of a festive and joyful city: “I like to overload the images with funny little elements: pretzel buoys, animals, dog poops”he says, laughing.
You can find the poetic and mischievous works of Olivier Deichtmann in the Little Nuage boutique in Strasbourg, on his Etsy page, but also in physical form in various designer markets whose dates are transmitted on his social networks.
So, have you found this rascal Hans?
© Charlie Picci-Claude / Pokaa
© Charlie Picci-Claude / Pokaa
© Olivier Deichtmann / Artist’s Facebook
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Olivier Deichtmann: the mischievous illustrator who revisits the facades of Strasbourg
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