Krampus to Canvas: The Diverse Art of Stefan Koidl

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Stefan Koidl, an artist from Salzburg, Austria, skillfully combines digital art with traditional mask carving, creating hauntingly beautiful pieces. In this Geek Post interview, Stefan reveals his artistic process, inspirations behind his captivating creations, and the challenges of his unique art form. Sit back and read more about Stefan’s work and his unique journey.

GeekPost: What inspired you to delve into the world of mask carving?

Stefan: I have been a big fan of the Krampus tradition since I was a child; it always amazed me what can be achieved through wood carving. Since drawing creepy monsters and demons was a significant interest of mine at that time, deciding to try carving a mask myself was easy. The first one took many hours, but it was incredibly fun, especially with softer wood. Since then, I have become increasingly accustomed to it until it became a significant part of my life.

GeekPost: How has your approach to creating art evolved over the years? What role has technology played in the evolution of your creations?

Stefan: Like every beginner artist, I started traditionally with the pencil. I also tried a few different mediums like acrylics, oil paints, or Copic markers, but nothing was as exciting for me as the pencil. Hours and hours of work were put into each sketch. I always had the goal to create something that looks like a photograph. When I got older, the computer became more important, and I tried to paint digitally with a Wacom drawing tablet and Photoshop. It was a really frustrating learning process but in the end worth the countless hours.

GeekPost: In what ways does Austrian culture and tradition influence your art, aside from the Krampus masks?

Stefan: Not a lot, since the Austrian culture and tradition is so well rooted in my everyday life that it’s hard for me to tell if there are any points that I think are worth mentioning. I am more influenced by the culture that I’m not confronted with daily.

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GeekPost: What are some of the most challenging aspects of working in digital art and mask carving, and how do you overcome these challenges?

Stefan: It was always a challenge to learn “right” from references, but the current situation in terms of digital art is somehow quite frustrating if you look at all the AI images that are created within seconds. Overcoming that trend is quite hard; a lot of beginner artists will give up on their artistic path because of that. For me personally, doing art is and always will be a huge part of my life; I try to not focus too much on these recent developments. In terms of skills, while I have overcome many challenges, there is still a lot to learn. The easiest way to overcome a challenge, especially when it gets more difficult, is to split the tasks into smaller achievements.

GeekPost: Your work often explores dark and creepy themes. What draws you to these themes, and how do you balance them with other elements?

Stefan: I love to draw images that tell a story; the painting should trigger a certain feeling in the observer and make him think. In my opinion, art is all about emotions and feelings. It is fascinating to look at an image and not fully understand the story at first glance. The deeper you dive into the image the more is going to be revealed. The mood and color palette are as crucial as balancing creepy elements with others.

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GeekPost: Can you walk us through your creative process when starting a new project, from start to completion?

Stefan: My process changed a bit but from starting with a rough pencil sketch -> to starting with a rough color sketch. I always disliked starting a piece with a pencil sketch, not knowing if the color and composition would turn out interesting later. Because my skill level improved over the years it is easier for me to start with a color sketch and get a better idea if the colors/values and composition will be worth investing time in. The first 30-60 minutes are the most important part of phase one.

  1. Color Sketch
  2. Adding a Point of Interest or a Story
  3. Refining Your Painting
  4. Final Detail Pass
  5. Finishing Touches

GeekPost: Among all the pieces you have created, do you have a personal favorite?

Stefan: There are many pieces that I like, but I wouldn’t call a single piece my favorite, since each one has its pros and cons. I would rather call them works that have influenced me further in my career. In my opinion, as an artist, it’s always difficult to call a piece your all-time favorite since the style and taste change quite often. A huge factor that improved my skill level are pieces like “Dragon bones” or “the Demon Book.”

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GeekPost: Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy in your spare time?

Stefan: Since I’m working a lot, it’s hard to motivate myself to do anything that takes a lot of concentration. But aside from doing art, I started with Bonsai trees recently, love to hit the gym, bicycling and of course traveling.

GeekPost: What mark do you hope that your art will leave on the world?

Stefan: I don’t hope for any mark that is left in the world. I just enjoy what I’m doing, and I try to not focus on anything important like the goal of being remembered. It’s more of an extra on the way.

GeekPost: Do you have any advice for artists struggling to find their unique voice or style?

Stefan: Not one, I have 3 important ones for younger artists that get frustrated easily.

  1. Never get frustrated by looking at other artists’ work; don’t compare yourself with experienced artists as it can get depressing quickly.
  2. Enjoy creating what you love to create; don’t force yourself to use certain art styles or topics that you might not enjoy doing.
  3. Last but not least, the most important thing: Practice, practice, and practice!

If you really want to choose art as a career at least paint 3-4 hours every day and you will improve quickly. Use the medium you love to use and just create!

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Stefan Koidl’s artistic journey, merging digital artistry with traditional mask carving, is a testament to creativity and perseverance. His unique approach to storytelling and emotional depth in art leaves a lasting impact. Geek Post extends heartfelt thanks to Stefan for sharing his inspiring journey with us.

Click the book cover below to get a copy of Stefan’s Art Book, scroll further down to follow him. Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think.

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