Artist Spotlight: Foreal

Interview with Foreal, one of the most exciting design duos to cross our radar this year!


by Dinah Hillsdon

posted on 12-15-2017

Dirk Schuster and Benjamin Simon are the young artistic duo behind Foreal — a design studio focusing on illustration and art direction — based in Trier, Germany. Their contemporary and striking “eye candy” designs have created an impressive roster of previous clients from the world of print, services, and brands — including (but not limited to), Wired, Billboard, Netflix, Microsoft, and Toyota. As our featured artists of December, we spoke to them to find out more:

Image Source: Foreal

How would you describe your style and the techniques you use?

We are a creative illustration studio that creates visuals with a focus on 3D — with a hint of photorealism. We want our imagery to be bold, graphic, and colorful, with a love for detail and haptic feeling. And we love to have a humorous story in our images.

Where do you look for when needing a shot of inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere and for us not necessarily the most important starting point. A lot of our ideas happen along the process of creating something. As we live in a world with visual overdose and screens everywhere, it’s not a matter of inspiration anymore. It’s about to get started — or as Chuck Close cleverly said, “Inspiration is for amateurs, I just show up get to work.”

Image Source: Foreal

What’s been your biggest challenge to overcome in the design industry?

It was quite a challenge to realize that not everything we do is the stuff we want to do and show to the world. Some tasks — or even whole commercial projects — are frustrating and far from what we would describe as a dream job. We had to find out that there is an effective and efficient balance between the personal projects you love and the jobs you do for money in the first place. Some projects are just in-between. (Maybe there are some creatives who are able to just pick the cherry projects from all the requests they get, but for most of us, it’s not like this.)

What are your perceptions of stock images, and do you think the perception is changing?

From our point of view, the reputation of stock imagery has changed. Years ago, we have seen stock images as soulless, mass-produced images with the same boring and corporate aesthetics over and over. But we figured out how to use them as small assets rather than the main component of a visual. We use them here and then as parts in our compositions when CGI comes to its limits. That can happen, for example, if we have to reproduce smaller and organic parts in one of our compositions, like people or food.

Image Source: Foreal

What artists and designers should we be following?

There are too many good artists out there, so we picked some random ones which we are currently following: Marius Sperglicht, Rutger Paulusse, and Clemens Behr.

What features did you most like the most about using Adobe Stock?

A common feature is the “find similar images” feature. Especially when it’s hard to describe the wanted picture by a few keywords, or when you need the same object from a different angle or light situation. It’s also very likely for each picture, that there is a whole series to it. As our 3D scenery predetermine the exact perspective and position of lights, we always need a range of options for each asset.

Image Source: Foreal

What’s been your favourite project to work on to date?

It’s always one of our personal projects which brings us the most fun to work with — when we can set all the rules for an artwork and have a final decision on each aspect. This can be exhausting, but in the end, it’s always worth it and the most rewarding. Even if there is no money earned. Recently we finished our “Digital Darwinism” project which is one of our beloved self-initiated projects.

What music do you currently listen to while working (if any)?

It’s the contemporary blend of indie, electronic, and hip hop you hear at young and creative studios right now everywhere. We are all into music, but wouldn’t describe our taste as extraordinary. Current artists of choice are Grizzly Bear, Kendrick Lamar, or DJ Koze. There is always a lot of debate in the office if someone puts on Drake. When it comes to radio stations, we stick to the Austrian station, FM4.

Big thanks to Dirk and Benjamin from Foreal for taking the time to speak with us. For more on their work, check out their website and find them on Behance.

Topics: Creativity

Products: Stock