Sebastian Kruger was born in Hamlin, Germany in 1963. He studied painting and graphic arts and quickly moved on to make his living as a caricaturist, illustrator, and painter. Sebastian Kruger fanatically buries himself into the lifes work and ephemera of each subject so that he might channel their essence into the heady mixture of wash, pencil and impasto that are his illustrations. He leaves no stone unturned. For an illustration about Steve McQueen, Kruger referred to his own personal McQueen library. I have a DVD collection of almost his whole works - movie books and everything, says Kruger. So I was on the same wavelength with Steve McQueen when I painted him as Carter 'Doc' McCoy in Sam Pekinpahs The Getaway.
Kruger takes all of that background information and uses his prodigious imagination to lose himself in the alternative universe of his subject. I feel sometimes like an actor, he says. After a day of work in his studio, his wife Andrea will often ask him, How was your day today? And he will say something like, today I was Jimi Hendrixs shirt.
From Bogart to Brando, John Wayne to Jimi Hendrix, Stallone to Schwarzenegger - each Kruger caricature exists on multiple levels; as an illustration, as a visually explosive portrait and as a visual tone poem. This is what makes him more than just a talented caricaturist with great technique - and one of the worlds most sought after illustrators.
Kruger has been illustrating professionally for twenty years. He lives and works in a forest near Hanover, Germany, with Andrea, two cats and two Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs. His home is the oldest forest rangers house in Lower Saxony. Its a good quiet place to work and be a strange artist, he chuckles.
When he calls himself a strange artist, he is quite possibly referring to the disturbing elements that appear in his work - jarring distortions, dark or kinky humor and a frequent single eye that seems to exist in another dimension. The single eye often glows with primitive hunger, rage and sex - an id eye.
I like the dark side of peoples character, Kruger says in English that, while halting, is easier on the ears than Schwarzeneggers. Or I like to find out if there is a dark half. I like painting people like Vincent Van Gogh, William S.
Burroughs, Keith Richards or even Marilyn Monroe. These people are very special to me. I feel very close to them. Im very bored with all these entertainers with white teeth - where everybody is in good health and is so nice - I kind of dont like it! he laughs.
Every now and then I see a movie or a photo that stops me and I say, 'Yeah, this is what I have to do next' ... Willie Nelson, Chris Kristopherson, Burton and Taylor together maybe. This is what I am interested in.