Moritz Adam Schmitt

Most likely found with a paintbrush in his hand, we welcome the colourful German illustrator Moritz Adam Schmitt to the FeatureCo. family…

An artist with an instantly recognisable palette, well known for his bold yellows and light pinks, Moritz Adam Schmitt’s illustration career officially began in 2016.

Influenced by street and pop artists like Banksy, Warhol, Basquiat, Haring and Lichtenstein, you can see how these bold and colourful influences have made a lasting impact on Moritz’s style choices.

“Even though the art forms and all their artists are very individual, I love what unites them. Apart from the often colourful colours, it's the fact that both pop and street art are art that is for everyone, accessible, understandable, and relatable for many people. They're not just for the elites, and you don't need to have studied art to understand them.”

We caught up with him on a sunny, national holiday in Cologne, where he had just had breakfast with his girlfriend’s family, as he told us about how painting has become a kind of therapy for him:

“Often, I process things that concern or burden me in my paintings. For some time now, we’ve faced many crises and conflicts in our world, both globally and socially. Most of them are either due to the greed for power and money or individual differences among people. Both reasons are hard for me to bear and especially to understand.” 

His art not only becomes an escape from daily life, but helps him relax and express himself all at once.

Moritz doesn’t currently have any other prints of his work on offer, so we couldn’t be happier to offer you this one-of-a-kind print, as we get to know a little more about him… 

“Never forget that being able to live off your creativity, in whatever form, is an incredible privilege, and you should enjoy every second of it.”

Thank you so much for recreating your “Diversity” print for us, Moritz. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired the piece?

I’ve personally lived by the following principle for many years:

“I don’t care where you’re from, who you love, what you believe in, which gender you identify with, whether you’re poor or rich…Just don’t be an asshole!”

This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people’s backgrounds. On the contrary, I find it incredibly beautiful and important that our societies are diverse, colourful, and individual. It simply means that as long as someone is respectful and decent to me, I get along with them regardless of our differences. This principle was my inspiration for the motif. It’s about respect, equality, love, and freedom – for all people.

Did you always want to be an artist/illustrator? How did you get into it?

I only knew two things very early on. First, that I wanted to do something creative, and second, that I needed a job where I wouldn’t hate getting up in the morning.

Without knowing exactly where it would lead, I studied design with a focus on advertising after school. More or less by chance, I discovered my passion for digital illustration during this time. Through social media and a bit of luck, I was able to become a freelance illustrator even before graduating and didn’t end up in an advertising agency as originally planned. I’ve been doing this for over 8 years now.

And recently you’ve been enjoying creating artwork through painting, rather than digital work, is that right?

Yes, the more artistic approach, such as painting on canvases, is something I’ve only been doing for about a year. The developments in the illustration industry, with more technology and the introduction of AI, presented me with a choice: either dive deep into the AI topic or return to the roots. I chose the latter.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead?

Tough question. Maybe a photographer or videographer, but they are also artists. I can’t really imagine anything outside the creative industry, but if I had to name something, perhaps a psychologist or the owner of a small vegan café with a courtyard.

What has been your career highlight so far?

It’s paradoxical because I’m currently living the absolute cliché of a starving artist, under constant stress, and with many worries about the future. But although I’ve had the privilege of working on cool projects for many big companies in recent years, my career highlight is right now. Returning to analog painting is my absolute highlight. I’ve never felt so strongly that I’m on the right path. 

The messages behind most of my paintings, the fact that they help me process everyday life, and that they inspire and touch other people give my current paintings so much more meaning than an illustration for a company. I paint for myself and for people, not for consumers, and that brings me a lot of joy.

“I've been playing baseball for over 20 years, and the field is one of the places, aside from the sea, where I can really unwind.”

What or who inspires you, outside of illustrator circles?

It’s pretty close to illustration, but art in general, especially pop and street art. Hip-hop and skateboard culture. Nature, society, and everyday life. And even though we had a somewhat difficult relationship, my late dad. His creativity, joy for life, and above all, his enthusiasm inspire me a lot.

Do you have a happy place? Or a memory you carry with you everywhere? Tell us about it.

Even though I unfortunately live far away from it, I love the sea. Especially on the coasts of the Canary Island Lanzarote. As a child, I often went there on vacation with my family, and even now as an adult, I love to return there again and again.

I'm usually constantly under tension, find it hard to bear silence, and struggle to calm down. The sea has a magical effect on me. When I look out at the water and listen to the waves, I instantly become deeply relaxed.

What do you do to relax and have fun, away from your work?

Nothing really extraordinary. Going for coffee in the courtyard of my favourite café with my girlfriend or my best friend, taking photographs, watching Netflix, and playing baseball. I've been playing baseball for over 20 years, and the field is one of the places, aside from the sea, where I can really unwind.

Do you have any interesting projects or exhibitions coming up?

Apart from the print drop with you, I actually have two cool collaborations coming up, which I can't reveal just yet. Otherwise, I'm working on my own shop for prints and originals, which hopefully will be ready later this year.

There are no new exhibitions in sight yet, but the planning for the closing event of my current exhibition at Cafe Impact with music and T-shirt screen printing, etc., at the end of August is in full swing.

Finally, do you have any advice for artists just starting out?

Haha, I don’t want to sound like a walking book of clichés. Anyway…

  1. Don’t overthink. “Just do it,” as the motto of a well-known sports brand says. I missed so many opportunities because I had doubts, didn’t dare, or thought I wasn’t good enough. Whether it’s starting a project, beginning a canvas, or asking the café next door if you can exhibit your paintings, don’t overthink—just do it.

  2. Be patient. Everything related to becoming an “artist” is a marathon, not a sprint. Learning new techniques, getting better, finding your style, developing, or being able to live off it. Everything takes time, and you shouldn’t stress too much.

  3. Don’t chase your style and stress over it. Over time, an individual visual language develops naturally. I still haven’t found mine after many years, and that’s okay. Create what feels right for you, not what you think others expect or want to see from you.

  4. Creativity and a message are more important than perfect execution.

  5. And lastly—no matter how hard the journey was or is, and no matter how much you deserved it, never forget that being able to live off your creativity, in whatever form, is an incredible privilege, and you should enjoy every second of it.