Raymond Lemstra illustrates a fantasy world populated by odd characters with huge heads and tiny facial features. Back when I first started blogging, Raymond was the first illustrator I had the chance to interview and so it seems fitting that he be the first artist I champion on this new platform!
As well as being the first interview I ever conducted, it was also the most collaborative. Requesting that we converse over a few drafts of the feature before it went live, we worked together over the course of a few weeks until the piece was to both of our likings. And this attention to detail carries over into his design work as - whether it is the latest addition to his family of Crumbs or a new more simplistic character such as that featured in the print he produced whilst taking part in The Jaunt - there is an exacting quality to everything which he creates.
One of the things I found most interesting when discussing his work was the fact tat this attention to detail does not come through endless redrafts or constant overthinking but simply from a natural instinct. Never worrying about or even hesitating over there being too much or too little detail in one of his creations or going too far with his love of abstraction, Raymond's keen designer instinct always kicks in.
I first discovered Raymond’s work when reviewing his edition of Nobrow Press’ Big Mother series. Since then, he has become one of my main inspirations as a designer, not because we share a similar aesthetic, but because I admire the transportive quality his work has. His mesmerising and in his own words "somewhat awkward" artworks truly do transport you to another world where, through being surrounded by foreign beings and landscapes, your sense of curiosity is heightened to that which can only be matched by an infant.
In childhood, one encounters and experiences many things for the first time. Through curiosity and imagination, these moments are lifted to almost magical heights. As you get older, new impressions become more scarce and it's a rare experience to be surprised by anything. I try to bring back the sense of wonder we remember from being a child, bridging the young and mature, by creating a contained fantasy world populated by my characters.
- Raymond Lemstra
Raymond’s fantasy world is so far-flung from our own it makes you want to spend as much time in it as possible in order to understand and appreciate it’s alien ways. After some time, you begin to understand this new sense of reality and adore it’s occupants. In fact, I have become so at home in Raymond’s world I think if one of his warped beings walked past me in the street I would barely bat an eyelid, only stopping to ask where they got their swish suit from or how they get their skin that healthy shade of green.