Johanna Ploch’s tongue-in-cheek illustrations poke fun at the ‘grotesque’ details of modern life
Her characters are full of life and color, and while they aren’t traditionally stylish or attractive, it’s clear that she has a great deal of affection for them. “I mainly deal with characters and situations,” Ploch told Creative Boom. “I have a rather chaotic, expressive trait that characterizes me. I like flashy, colorful combinations and intrusive personalities. I get to the heart of the matter with a lot of irony and humor.”
It is this impertinence that gives Ploch’s work an attractive rough edge. “I like anything that is imperfect and beyond the norm and I support all kinds of self-acceptance,” she adds. “And things that aren’t perfect for most people can be weird at times, but it’s always a matter of observation and I like to leave that open to the viewer. In my illustrations, the characters always stand on their own, even though they’re eccentric. And that gives me joy. I also find that people can be very rude when they don’t feel like they’re being watched. “
When it comes to inspiration, Ploch finds that “daily observations” combined with his own imagination can be enough to imagine his “vile” characters. “I like to observe people, then imagine what they are like, then put them in a very individually created context,” Ploch explains. “But apart from observation, I also like to put myself in situations that are new to me and I like to get out of my usual bubble to get to know different guys and just to listen.”
Born in 1991 in a small German town, Johanna went on to obtain a design degree during which she mainly focused on stop motion films. She then obtained a Masters in Illustration in Hamburg. She now works as a freelance illustrator for clients around the world.
“I would say that my work is motivated by the feeling that I can get while drawing,” Ploch continues. “I like to look for the characters in my head while I draw them. And it works in very individual circumstances. With good music, for example. Sometimes a character only becomes good when I hear the same song twenty times. imagine he is celebrating exactly that song. For example, when I was doing the illustration with the two bikers taking a break and eating fries, I would quite often listen to the song ‘Highwaystar’ by Deep Purple. I haven’t been able to hear it since then either without thinking about both. “
Looking closely at the often absurd accounts of his work, like a bustling pig cafe, merry cows drinking milk, or some sort of ‘dress like a tiger’ party, Ploch’s illustrations also remind us not to take life too seriously. “Have fun, be exactly who you are, don’t take yourself too seriously and do exactly what you want and accept when others do too,” she says. “And trust your process! “