A common theme threading together the life and work of Berlin-based illustrator David Leutert is the balance between contemporary design sensibilities, technology, and the preservation of media and techniques. “I’ve always been inspired by skateboard graphics, album art, underground comix, Saturday morning cartoons, gig posters, old matchbooks and signage,” Leutert explains, before noting his admiration of designers Seymour Chwast, Will Eisner and Paula Scher, as well as cartoonist Mœbius. “My style is a combination of bold lines, dynamic hand-drawn letterforms and limited color palettes, with a bit of a retro vibe.” He entered the visual communications industry as an intern for the last remaining retoucher’s studio in Nuremberg, Germany, when he was fifteen. “[The retoucher] was only able to sustain his business in the face of digitization by replacing his trusted airbrush tools with a new, unfamiliar digital setup,” Leutert recalls. “This was my first time experimenting with a drawing tablet, and it taught me to always be aware of technological developments.” After he turned eighteen and worked as a design apprentice at an ad agency, Leutert attended the Nuremberg Institute of Technology for an undergraduate program in design, interned at an animation studio, then worked as a T-shirt designer for adidas before getting his masters in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York, learning under Louise Fili and Marshall Arisman. Leutert draws inspiration from all things illustration, including preserving old signs and sign paintings he comes across—which he discusses on his podcast Paid 2 Draw—or just drawing for the sheer joy of it. “I just want to make people laugh, even if it’s just for a brief moment,” he says. “Life can be really cruel sometimes, and art has helped me through some challenging times, so I want to extend that favor to others.”
This Innsbruck, Austria–based photography and filmmaking collective seeks to reconnect viewers of its work with the real world.