Love from Above
58A: Which is better: Being creative in your job or as a hobby?
Max Zimmermann: This may sound pretty cliche, but overall I’m pretty happy with my creative situation. It allows me to work on my skills in several different areas: Ramping up my illustration skills, using the precision of 3D animations, working with a creative team while being a creative entrepreneur. It’s really a bit of everything. Although most of it happens in a commercial context. In turn, most subjects and themes aren’t chosen freely, but initiated by the client. If you’re being creative as a hobby you’re free to choose yourself. But I’m also convinced that you can really wrestle out this kind of freedom next to your job obligations. This is what I’m doing right now.
58A: Why wrestle it out?
Max Zimmermann: Well, let’s be honest. Imagine you spend all day working on your computer. So to go sit down to draw or pursue other creative things once you get home in the evening really takes some kicking yourself in the butt. That’s also the time where your game system collection beckons, or you simply want to spend time with your family.
58A: As an artist, are you more of the hermit or a social type?
Max Zimmermann: Interesting question. Let’s put it this way: While drawing, Photoshopping or working with 3D graphics, I prefer to work by myself. Afterwards, being surrounded by a collective is super cool and also important.
58A: What does technology mean to you?
Max Zimmermann: For me, the whole tech factor has always been a high priority. Fortunately, I don’t need to have all the newest-latest stuff anymore, but at the bottom of my heart, I’m still a geek. Technology is also greatly a matter of your thinking and your approach. That’s great and keeps you on your toes! Technologies can really impact societies and change them: Just imagine what a huge ordeal it must have been to bury telephone cables in the ground throughout the industrialized world to connect people with one another. Africa is simply using technology to bypass this step entirely. They’re jumping straight to UMTS and LTE protocols to become part of the Web society. A little late, perhaps, without digging into the ground!
58A: What do you like about the 58 ARTBANG project?
Max Zimmermann: With 58 ARTBANG we are creating a platform where regular people that are looking to buy special and really cool artworks can find what they need without having to make tough financial investments. At the same time, ARTBANG can cater to serious collectors of one-of-a-kind etchings, original sketches all the way to oil paintings. That’s why we can also take a different approach than art galleries, which are inherently interested in artificially limiting the supply of art. Add to that the fact that we’ll feature a whole lot of good friends and great artists – which makes it a super exciting and cool project!
58A: Who or what is bothering you right now?
Max Zimmermann: I’m a pretty liberal and flexible person and hope to keep these character traits for a long time. But what I’ve always had a big problem with is the arrogance of human beings. Not all people, of course, but humans in general tend to take liberties or interpret things in a way as if they were his birthright. Next to the decay of social conduct I’m talking about things such as 1 kilo of meat for 2.79€, or the Ringfishing-Method, all the junk dumped into the oceans or Recycling in Ghana. I would like to see a little more humility and gratefulness. This kind of basic attitude would improve a lot about our planet.
58A: Meat or vegetables?
Max Zimmermann: I think people don’t need to eat meat every day. I tend to have meat about 1.5 times every two months. Which really works out thanks to the lady in my life! Fish is also a no-go, except if I can track exactly where and how it’s been fished.
58A: A quick question about material things: What’s your next purchase going to be?
Max Zimmermann: I’m back on the retro video games tip. I just can’t leave it alone. I’m currently eyeing a SEGA MARK III. And alternatively, I’m also putting my sights on a huge Japanese toy robot from the 1980s. Shucks! That’s going to be expensive, and I’m running out of space. Which brings us back to my dreams of having my own studio.
58A: What’s your next major move?
Max Zimmermann: I want to be able to put together an exhibit of my freelance work before I turn 40. And there’s also a family angle that I can’t reveal at this point.
58A: Well, I really hope this interview wasn’t too painful. If you run out of space, you can always leave the huge robot with me...
Max Zimmermann: Ha! Yeah right! See you later!
Max Zimmermann was born in 1974 in the town of Wiesbaden, Germany, where he grew up.
1990 - 1995 Illustrations & Logos for numerous clients: Advertising, fashion, music
1994 German high school diploma (Abitur)
1994 Internship at meiré & meiré agency in Wiesbaden, followed by full-time employment
1995 Rejected by art school – “no talent”
1996 Full-time position at Silverhaze in Frankfurt, one of Germany’s first
1998 Founded FIFTYEIGHT 3D in Wiesbaden
1999 Winner of the renowned animations award "ANIMAGO" with the animated short "Use a Doodle on the Noodle"
2000 -2007 Won over 40 national & international awards for numerous projects
2007 Move to the town of Frankfurt am Main
2007 Founding of the TASSEN sub-label, created first porcelain product prototypes
2008 - 2011 Close cooperation with Telekom in Bonn on"UI-Design and Animation"
2010 Private art moves from 3D back to illustrations
2011 First collective exhibit, “Cannics ARTBANG”
2013 Launched the 58 ARTBANG project