We first encountered Paul Paetzel’s work when we became aware of a small but brilliant collective from Berlin called Biografiktion. Comprised of three artists Paul Paetzel, Till Hafenbrak and Ana Albero, the collective sought to group together to produce a series of comics and books inspired, as their name suggests, by biography and fiction. Each of their books retells the lives of people of particular import, but with a self-conscious an honest assumption that it is fiction/ or is it? Whether Eddie Murphy, Mountaineer Rheinhold Messner, or in the case of Paul’s co-edition book with Nobrow about Bela Lugosi, the books take a humorous look at the boundaries between truth and fiction, celebrity and infamy.
We recently caught up with Paul to speak with him about his background, process and inspirations. Here’s what he had to say:
“My name is Paul Paetzel. I live and work in Berlin where I was also born. I am 26 years old. I like taking the metro and observing people. I enjoy seeking out nice settings to draw. I search for the mystic in everyday life and the normal in the abnormal. I am a member of the comic collective Édition Biografiktion which I founded with Ana Albero and Till Hafenbrak in 2008. We decided to come together to put out our own work. The first zines (Biografiktion) we published were comic stories about celebrities adding fictional elements. We decided to start a second series called Human News whose theme varies in every issue and which is more focused on Illustration. To produce our artwork we use the printing techniques which are easily at our disposal: silkscreen, linocut and reprography.
Ana and Till inspire my work a lot. I first met them in the Illustration class of the University of Arts in Berlin. I also enjoy looking at all sorts of illustrations and comics. I like superheroes as well as biographical stuff. My stories usually come from the process of drawing itself. So my illustrations often end up in comic strips or stories. The origins of my tales are mostly things which happened to me or which bother me. My fears, my wishes and my needs.”