20 Minutes with Felix Sorau

We talked with the up-and-coming illustrator and designer about great design, sustainability and life goals

With his grainy looks, moody colour-palettes and his love for architecture and current lifestyle-phenomena, illustrator and UI/UX designer Felix Sorau creates a slightly shinier parallel-world – including hot topics like Tinder, avocado toasts or 'men-made disasters'. His designs show a modern romanticism, that does not try to whitewash today's social problems but promotes a feeling of nostalgic wellbeing and wanderlust. While one part of his work can easily be imagined on the covers of big, relevant newspapers all over the world, his more abstract work perfectly matches the vibe of Berlin's music scene. His illustrations are the obvious choice for LP-covers, party banners, Spotify playlists or festival posters. We talked with Felix about his kind of meditation, his love for Berlin and his plans to open a sunny studio.

Nele Tüch: Your style has changed from spherical-abstract to moody illustrations featuring architecture, objects and people. How come?
Felix Sorau: My style didn’t really change that much, I just had a time where I experimented a lot with forms, layers and textures to free my mind from working on illustrations and UX/UI Designs in the agency I worked in. Sometimes, I still create this kind of pieces – it is my form of meditation, especially when there's a lot of stress around.

NT: How would you describe your current illustration-style?
Felix Sorau: It’s very difficult for me to put my illustration-style into a box or define it. My illustrations are often conceptual and flat, they come to life through gradients, layer overlays and bright colours.

NT: You are also working in the fields of UI/UX – where does your heart lie?
Felix Sorau: In general my heart lies in good design. Thanks to my last art director I got tons of knowledge in UX/UI design and if there’s a project which combines UX/UI and illustration it’s a jackpot for me.

NT: What was your favourite project so far?
Felix Sorau: As an Illustrator, my main goal for my creative communication is to support messages, clients, products, communities and projects which are innovative, game-changing and not harmful for our planet. My favourite project was about plastic packaging and how to avoid it by some of Europe’s leading scientists in this field. The next one will be a big animated three-part album cover for one of my favourite Chill Hop labels. I can’t wait for it to be released.

"I want to open a sunny studio where I’m surrounded by all kind of creative people, dogs and plants."

NT: What’s the next goal you want to reach?
Felix Sorau: My next goal is to find an international representation and clients to spread my messages and visualisations all around the world. I also want to open a sunny studio where I’m surrounded by all kind of creative people, dogs and plants.

NT: How do you usually get the idea for an illustration – are they commissioned, topics you are concerned with at the moment or sprung from a source of inspiration?
Felix Sorau: Sometimes I dream about my ideas or get my inspiration from travelling, sometimes I hear or read things. It’s mostly a way to express my feelings or to visualize the music I listen to. And of course, there are commissioned topics. In general, I’m very happy that my clients give me a lot of freedom.

NT: Now that you have worked within the creative industry for a couple of years – would you still choose to become a graphic designer and illustrator?
Felix Sorau: I would never work in a different field. It may be competitive, not easy to sustain and takes years to develop how you imagined it, but in the end, I've found something which gives me the most joy in my life. In another life, I might end up with something different but not with something I wouldn’t enjoy.

"I’m not someone who talks a lot about the same things but a lot about new things."

NT: What is one topic you can’t stop talking about?
Felix Sorau: I think I can’t stop talking about the complexity of our world and universe but also about change, as I’m always interested in new things, technologies, projects, opinions and so on. I’m not someone who talks a lot about the same things but a lot about new things.

NT: You choose Berlin as a base – do you feel like the city is more creative than others?
Felix Sorau: Berlin is one of the greatest cities in Germany for creatives. I’ve never seen so much diversity in art, so many interesting opportunities and jobs like in Berlin. You can be whoever and whatever you want to be as long as you do something about it. I also like the very special vibe of Berlin - I love to build my life here.

NT: Personal leeway (=Freiraum) - what does it mean for you and where can you find it?
Felix Sorau: Personal leeway means to me that I can decide who I want to be and therefore I need to have the right mindset, the right skill and the right environment. If I figure these three things out I can get and achieve personal leeway.

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