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Viktor Hertz: interpreting the mainstream

Viktor Hertz: interpreting the mainstream


Viktor Hertz is a freelance graphic designer from Sweden. He creates works full of sarcasm and humour and plays with popular mainstream works of art. Viktor has been featured in numerous worldwide exhibitions, magazines and books, and has also had his own work exhibited. In 2014 he started writing and directing short films, and is currently combining commission work with personal projects.

Q: What makes you sit in front of the computer and start working every day? 

A: I guess it's about the infinite possibilities of being creative and see actual results- making ideas come to life is just very rewarding for me, and helps me stay calm. And sane, probably. Showing and sharing my ideas and work to others is a form of emotional and intellectual networking, and it makes me feel connected to the rest of the world, which is something I think every human being needs and longs for. I do "waste" a lot of time in front of the laptop too, though, consuming funny videos and whatnot - but I like to see this as a form of inspiration and that it somehow and sometime will come useful.

 Parody Logos

Q:  How do you understand that you’re done with a work? When are you completely satisfied?  

A: The best hint is when I enjoy looking at something I made, for a long time, and can't find anything I want to change or add. That's the feeling I always aim for, because if I enjoy looking at it, the chances are that someone else will too. It's hard sometimes, though, to label something as "done", especially with my choice of tools, which is completely digital- I always have the possibility to open up old projects and keep working on them. I actually did exactly this with my latest project, "Pictogram Vinyl Posters", and updated older song posters and changed the colours, etc- I even made mini surveys for my Instagram followers, asking which version they liked best, and based my final decisions on their votes. So, basically I always have the chance to remix and update my own work, and change things that I don't like anymore, for better and worse, of course.

Viktor Hertz Posters

Q:  What is the thing you love to do when you want to get some rest from work?

A: I binge watch a lot of tv-shows- recently I really enjoyed S02 of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and S04 of Black Mirror. I also really love music- one of the most relaxing things I know is to turn off all the lamps and listen to Autechre on my headphones, and immerse myself 100% in the music. It's basically like a cheap way of experiencing VR, you just have to exchange the advanced 360° video with your own ideas- highly recommended!

Coffee and Cigarettes Poster

Q: You are a freelance graphic designer. What kind of job offer will make you give up your freelancing?

A: My dream job would be to work in an office and just sit in a bean bag and brainstorm crazy ideas all day long, and then pick the best ones and turn them into reality with the help of other creatives. But, a decently paid position as a creative somewhere would work too, although I really enjoy the freedom that freelancing comes with.

Viktor Hertz

Q:  How do you manage your time so that you could meet deadlines and switch from one project to the next? What is the hardest part?

A: For me, the hardest part is to focus and get things done, actually- I have so many ongoing (personal) projects that I started, some even years ago, that I haven't finished. I really could use some discipline, focus on one thing at a time, and finish more projects. This will be my goal for 2018, actually!
 Viktor Hertz Album Cover

Q:  Which work or project of yours makes you feel proud to be the author of?

A: Right now, I would say my Pictogram Vinyl Posters and the latest trailer for Uppsala International Short Film Festival. For the latter, I also made the music (with rubber bands), which was one of the most fun creative challenges in a long time. I really want to spend more time making music in the future, I have lots of concepts and ideas I wanna try out. Years ago now, I made a few tracks on an old Casiotone synthesizer- still proud of these ones, and I still have the synth, so I might take that up again this year!

Q:  Do you choose the subjects of your posters based on your favourite movies and songs or commercially successful ones?

A: It's basically a mix of those two- I prefer to create art for things I really like, but I'm also thinking quite a bit about the potential audience and what would be commercially viable. I really enjoy working in a mainstream and commercial area, but at the same time bring the best into it, creatively speaking.

Movie Posters Viktor Hertz

Q:  You’re also writing and directing short films with your friend. How did you come to it, what inspired you?

A: I've always dreamed of making movies, since I was a child and started watching Kubrick's films. For the last 10 years or so, I've been making notes for all kinds of concepts for films and scenarios, so I've built this kind of bank with ideas. In 2011, I got some help from a friend with filming the trailer for Uppsala Int. Short Film Festival, and after that, we stayed in touch, worked on another trailer in 2013, and eventually decided to make something together. In 2014, I looked through my archive for short film and sketches, and we picked a few ideas and made three short films over a couple of months. It's so much fun to work with film, and make an idea into something that works well- there are so many aspects and layers, which means more decisions and obstacles, but also more opportunities and greater rewards, once it's finished. As I'm usually freelancing on my own with just my laptop, making a short film with a team of people and actors is just amazing. Right now, I'm editing a new comedy project, and we just released a teaser on YouTube- make sure to subscribe to the channel, the full sketch will be released in February! 

Q:  You’re used to saying that you’re not a professional, but in fact you’re more famous than many professionals. What’s your secret of popularity?

A: I would guess it's a mix of making posters for mainstream things like movies and songs, which people already have a connection with, and the fact that my work is really simple, but also brings those clever little details that makes you think. I also had quite a bit of luck with getting publicity on blogs and in magazines, just when I started doing graphic design, as a hobby and for my own amusement.

Cigarette Loading

Q:  What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far?

A: At the moment, I would actually say it's my latest short film project, "How it feels to be hungover", even though it's not finished yet. But, I have a feeling that it will be the film project I'm most happy with so far. I'm starting to feel that the actual results are getting closer and closer to my original ideas inside my head, which is really rewarding and satisfying.


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