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[NSFW] Vintage Porn Bursts with Flowers in Dromsjel's Psychedelic Erotic Collages

Found porn and psychedelia merge in Pierre Schmidt, a.k.a., Dromsjel's warped collage-illustrations.

Far from being mere titillation, the vintage porn used as collage material in the work of Pierre Schmidt is transformed into highly imaginative, surreal, and psychedelic artworks. The Berlin-based artist, who also goes by the name Dromsjel, takes grainy and often dreamy 'found' erotic photographs, often of nude women, and manipulates them digital to the point that their bodies become distorted canvases. Equally beautiful and grotesque, the bodies and faces in Dromsjel's work melt, implode, sprout colors and flowers, or serve as portals into space. Other times, he removes all features from the subject's face, or makes two faces or bodies merge, combining the body horror explorations of David Cronenberg with the surreal colors and painterly gestures of Salvador Dali.

Dromsjel tells Creators that he started out working in digital media with Photoshop and Illustrator, before progressing into graphic design. For a short time he worked at an agency, where he learned the craft before wanting to leave to concentrate on his own work.

Midnight

"Quite early I started experimenting with vintage images to use in my digital collages, this progressed with finding old retro porn images through various online source material," says Dromsjel. "The photographs have the same visual quality I like to use in my style. The surrealism and eroticism go hand in hand as outer body experiences, a constant expression through my work."

Dromsjel likens his search for vintage photographs—or any photograph, really—to that of a DJ looking for samples to reuse and reinterpret in their style.

Untitled II

"I'm finding my own hook through the sourcing of the photography and by manipulating the image through my own artistic style and experimenting to create something new, which is part of the process to a final piece of work," he says. "There are no specific sites. Tumblr or Flickr are great sources yet a lot of artists use these now, so I do look also from time to time for more physical vintage materials at flea markets and old book stores, places like that."

After he has found the right photograph, Dromsjel illustrates with a Wacom tablet in Photoshop. He paints over the original image, changing colors and backgrounds, but also spending a great deal of time on minute details. Dromsjel's aesthetic goal for the final piece is to have it resemble the original as closely as possible.

Schuld Und Sühne II

"The vintage sort of grain you see in the original photograph is hard to replicate but through modernizing it with a contemporary outlook and using my own style of manipulating the image with digital paint techniques, on first glance and maybe second, third, and fourth, you'd not see the difference," Dromsjel says.

Built into Dromsjel's images is a fascination with how the brain connects and computes with just a few pixels what is seemingly abnormal from everyday images. He is intrigued by how smartphone users scroll through images on tiny screens, and for a split second their brains register something that is visually not quite right, causing them to recoil but also try to understand it.

How to Disappear Completely

"We actively engage and we are no longer passively scrolling—that grotesque feeling we experience is our brain being disturbed by what unsettles us from the norm," Dromsjel says. "I like that place there: where beauty and the grotesque live in harmonic fascination."

Despite the surreal, grotesque, erotic qualities of his work, Dromsjel says his artwork is up for interpretation. For him, there are no predetermined ideas or assumptions attached to his work. "It's a process, a feeling, and an experience," he says.

The cover of Lost Wknd magazine

The next step in his artistic process is to develop his own fine art prints. Dromsjel has been researching this for awhile and believes this is something he can do, though he plans to do so with very limited runs and one-off pieces that will be available in the coming weeks.

Dromsjel is also currently exhibiting some of his works on a tour organized by Berlin Illustrative, which is soon heading to Switzerland and then China. Dromsjel also plans to continue making album art and tour imagery for bands like Team Dead and Crash Casino, and recently did the cover art for the magazine Lost Wknd.

I Might Be Wrong

Click here to see more of Dromsjel's work.

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