5 Questions with digital artist & graphic designer Frédéric Geerts

I’m a graphic designer and digital artist, mostly active in the entertainment and advertising industry. A production company offered me some freelance work while still at school, so I began my own business straight after graduating. It wasn’t thought out very well but I’ve been doing it ever since. Starting as a graphic designer, I now specialise in creative retouching, key visuals and matte painting.

When did you first get involved with design?

I began taking art classes at the age of 7. Later on, I remember designing stamps in Corel Draw and cutting them out with decorative scissors I got for my birthday. But I only started taking art seriously after I went to art college at 16, and that was also the time I realised I wanted to pursue a career as a graphic designer.

Is there any work you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of my part in Gutterdämmerung, a film-concert hybrid featuring a great line-up of rock stars. Iggy Pop, Grace Jones, Slash, among others. It was a crazily ambitious project from creative director Bjorn Tagemose, who I work with on a regular basis. My part in the development was very early on, for years we worked on it in between other projects. To be honest, Bjorn aimed so high it reached a level of ridicule, knowing we were with three or four people working on it at the time. But eventually, it all came together, with a very small crew and limited budget. I don’t like corny quotes but in this case, anything is possible if you just believe. It really was a surreal experience to be involved in that project.

In your view, what were your biggest challenges?

Working as a freelance digital artist is my biggest threat, the juggling act between work and family life, the financial insecurity, long hours, the weight of responsibility… It’s a tiring roller coaster ride when having a wife and 3 kids. When I became a father I was back in front of the machine the same day. The baby was born 4 weeks early and I had too many deadlines, I couldn’t postpone everything… I still regret it. If your business is healthy it’s always hard to keep your personal life on track. You need to get your priorities straight. On the other hand, if your business is slow, you’re struggling with cash flow issues. The stability and regular income of an employee are very appealing at this point in my life.

What inspires you as a digital artist?

Just about everything. It certainly does not have to be design related. I created a matte painting once inspired by a composition of barbecue coals, which I used as a base for a hellish mountain landscape. I think every creative absorbs his surroundings like a sponge. It’s what being creative is all about. I can get inspired by anything.

Discover the work of Frédéric Geerts

Published by

Timothy Helmer

Designer, curator of Let's Talk Design and founder of Creative Network.