Steffen Wagner on the ‘Harmonic Synthesis’ of Abstraction
A plethora of words, colors, and figures: this is how the world looks, at least to typography artist Steffen Wagner. The Berlin-based designer has an undying fascination with “strong expressions and contrasts,” and typography is the most ideal way to channel this passion.
So which comes first, the word or the visual? For Wagner, there’s no such thing as procedure. When inspiration strikes, the creation process begins.
He cites abstract art and architecture — such as the Bauhaus movement in Germany — as his main inspirations. These influences take center stage in his Consecrea original, ‘Let There Be Light’, which is based on God’s first words in the book of Genesis. You may purchase the piece as framed wall art here.
[Note: The interview below contains minor edits for clarity.]
Tell us about who you are. How did art come into your life?
I am an independent graphic and typography designer from Berlin. Professionally, I design logos, visual identities, and digital and print products. But my passion is typography. I have always been fascinated by letters since I was young and art has often inspired me.
My passion is to bring these two styles in a harmonic synthesis together, often [in] thought-provoking ways.
What does the creation process look like for you? How do you feel while you’re creating a piece, and after a piece is complete?
In the beginning of the creation process, I am usually never convinced by the first idea. It takes time to get the right composition, forms, and colors to send a special message. So while I’m creating a piece, it is difficult to convince myself, but in the end when my artwork is finished, I often feel very satisfied. For me, this has always been the way to create things.
Who are your influences?
[I’m influenced by] the Bauhaus movement with its geometric forms. I need structure, so that fits for me, and the Bauhaus design always fascinated me. In addition to that, I love abstract paintings.
I often try to produce a contrast between them, but in the end, the structured [design] often wins, even when the structure is more subtle. Architecture and product design are also some of my biggest influences.
Where do you usually find sources of inspiration for the texts in your work? Do you seek ideas from literature, scriptures, or certain philosophies you live by?
Usually, there are some certain philosophies I think about and live by, and I think most people can identify with them. My artworks often reflect my attitude towards different things.
You mentioned in your site that your creative works “reflect attitudes in life.” What kind of ideas and attitudes do you like to express visually? Would you say that these attitudes are reflective of your spirituality?
I always want to express the ideas that keep me busy [in thought] — for example, the consumption of things we don’t need, and other stuff like that. And yes, of course, I do think that these attitudes reflect my spirituality.
Follow Steffen Wagner on Instagram here.