Arts & graphics

  • The Kazmonavt

Dominik Heilig or Kazmonavt is a visual artist and graphic designer from south Germany. His artistic works cover the fields of illustration and graphic novels, poetry and kazigraphy. As Dominik Heilig he co-founded Brandy White, LLC, Strategy & Design in Moscow, Russia. At the moment he is active in San Francisco and Moscow

Q: Hi Mr. Kazmonavt, can you explain us what Kazmonavt actually means?

K: In short: the name Kazmonavt comes from the Russian word (KOCMONABT) Kosmonavt or Cosmonaut, which is the Soviet term for Astronaut. In my philosophy nothing exists outside the cosmos, which means that all and everything as a simple fact is cosmic. Therefore is the Kazmos my own realm of creativity, phantasy and inspiration.

But, here's the long story Where I was born, there is a huge meteorite crater with about 24 km diameter form about 14 mio. years ago. Its impact had the strength of about 1.8 million Hiroshima Bombs. One very nice and sparkling fact about that is, that the meteorite hit a local graphite deposit and crushed it into myriads of microscopic diamonds. Those can still be found everywhere in stone buildings in that area. Also a little hill was shaped – by the impact – in the center of the crater. It lies about 100 meters below the rim. On that hill is a small restaurant whose owners grow wine on the spot. The wine – the cosmic wine – as we liked to call it, as it grows on alien ground, is sold to the guests of the restaurant. While I was telling this story to a friend, I understood that not only the meteorite was a cosmic object but also the earth itself and thus everything else. I like this idea, it gives a bit of a spiritual hippy touch to everything and on the other hand it is such a plain fact, that everything is cosmic."

Q: Wow, that's quite a nice story, looks like if it still makes an impact on people. So what made such an impact on you to become an artist?

K: Mhh, I think my mother had to do with that. She was always drawing and painting or being otherwise creative and she dragged us (me and my sister) to all this exhibitions and galleries around. Then with 10 I started skateboarding. And these designs in the shops and catalogs, just blow me away. I had never seen such things before. Especially the stuff of artists like Vernon C. Johnson, Pushead and Jeff Phillips (Who is still one of my superheroes), that was 1984. Around '92 the pictures of the french graffiti master Mode2 and the rebellious art of Robert Williams appeared and formed a strong interest in all kinds of illustration and drawn type — independent (urban) pop culture.

Q: Skateboarding, I see, is that why you make all this surf and snowboard camp designs?

K: Yeeaaahh. In Moscow there is this crew called the Flammable Family, and inside that there is the DJ crew Flammable Beats. And after doing all the record covers for the German Turntablist crew Noisy Stylus it maybe was destiny, that flammables and me HAD! to meet in Moscow (2003). It started all with flyers, later on I did their logo and website and so on.Then Maxim Gankin one of the Flammable Family founders came up to me with the snowboard and surf camps.

DJ Tactics from FB is now working on the soundtrack for my comic Kazka. The comic itself is finished, after almost 5 years. We'll make a big noise when we present it ))

Q: KAZKA, yes I read it. Not so easy to read a whole story without any words. Why is that?

K: The idea with not using words was influenced by the movie les triplettes de belleville. The idea of telling a complex story just by images, is fascinating. Of course, in the animation they use some simple words and sound. Yes, so it was quite tricky. But even when you read a regular book, sometimes you get lost in the letters, skip back and start over again from where you got lost. and then you're back on track. And especially in this, let's say freudian scenario, you actually have to read more with your soul then with your intellect.

Q: Aha, I will try again, promise. As far as I know in 2009 you colored a quite big comic. What is it about?

K: Yes, last year. Studio Lebedev (my first employer in Moscow) came up to me, as the needed a colorist. The comic Inhabited Island is based on the book (1968) and feature film (2008) Inhabited Island, by Fyodor Bondarchuk. It's a pretty dark and radical science fiction novel by the Strugatskij Brothers, It wasn't an easy, but super interesting and challenging task.

Q: Sounds good, keep us updated

K: For sure, there is a lot in the pipe )) and thank you as well!!

From Kazifornia with love
Dominik «The Kazmonavt» Heilig