Tilman – an interview from Niphal.com

Should your faith in Christ affect the way or what you design? Yes. No. Well, “should” is not the right word. Faith SHOULD not affect you design. It just does. I mean, running around and saying “man, there should be more faith in my design, let’s squeeze some holiness in it!” is not a good idea.

From the vault

This interview first appeared online at Niphal.com.
Since then, the world has changed and things have moved on. It is replicated here for historic interest including associated imagery.
Links are provided to the closest view of the site as you would have seen at the time, using my favourite internet archive site Archive.org

ed.

Tilman

Name:

Tilman (sorry about my quirky English, I’m German).

How long have you known Christ as your Saviour?

You start with the big questions, right? “…known Christ as your Saviour”. Sounds a bit too big and melodramatic to my ears. Nobody would call it like that here in Germany, where I live, and: Can we ever say we really know him? I dont think so. But thats just my nit-picky narrow-minded Germany-Ghristian background I think… The answer is: About since I was 15 or so. I was raised in a Christian family, but my faith never took off until that age. Still evolving.

Influences in your design:

Another one of those BIG QUESTIONS… really early influences: Sci-Fi and other phantastic literature. And Nature. Then a guy called David Carson showed me that design can be about emotion and individual feelings. And that you don’t have to rely on the rules. My time at Fork, with the guys from Tomato and with Amy and Josh from FutureFarmers taught me that you CAN make a living out of these things and still stick to your ideas if you really want it. Other influences: Godspeed You Black Emperor (band), Andy Goldsworthy (artist), Super Mario (hero), travelling, mountains, people, the web, trees, the sea.

Should your faith in Christ affect the way or what you design?

Yes.

No.

Well, “should” is not the right word. Faith SHOULD not affect you design. It just does. I mean, running around and saying “man, there should be more faith in my design, let’s squeeze some holiness in it!” is not a good idea.
If you try to live with the Lord, there is no way this will not affect your life. And it surely will affect the way and what you design. Don’t try to force it, that way you will do just crap. And don’t think you will earn
anything by doing some design work for the Lord. It just does not work that way. He has loved you from your very first day and gives you anything you will ever need, no chance you will ever pay that back or earn anything more by “working for the Lord”. So don’t try.

Many people seem to say that they were “called” to design by the Lord, how did you get into design? Is it a calling of yours? All I am and all I will ever be able to do comes straight from him. And surely my talent for design (if there is something like that, I don’t see that very often…) is a gift. So if THAT’S not a calling, then what?

To be honest: When I started, there was Tilman the cool designer and Tilman the Christian. And these two were completely different persons. It didn’t even come to my mind that my designs could have anything to do with my faith or have Christian-related content. In my design-world [there] was no room for something un-cool like faith. It took me years to see that keeping the Lord out of my designs was a big mistake. I discovered that I could do “Christian design” and still do something interesting and – yeah – COOL. Now I like turning my thoughts and feelings into any visual form. Sometimes the link to my faith is pretty obvious, sometimes not so much, but it’s always there in a way. I try to do stuff that is not too “flat” or repents people because

it’s too missionary or “too holy”. And I don’t hide my negative feelings, doubt, anger, blindness. I’m not a perfect Christian (haha, who is?) and I don’t see why I should pretend to be. To be as honest is harder, but I think it’s the only way to really talk to people.

Favourite design that you have done:

Hm. I tend to be very picky about the stuff I have done. There is always something that didn’t turn out right, something I could have done better. I somehow like the story of the two sites I have done so far (my own home http://www.tint.de and the collab projecthttp://www.The-Mount.net), mostly because of the wonderful feedback I got from some very kind people.

A design you are most unpleased about:

Nearly everything, see above. I REALLY need to update tint.de soon. I hope I can find the time soon.

And I hope we can all find the time to build a better “Christian design community” soon. There are and were already some great sites and some great people doing excellent work. We have to find a way to communicate more closely, work together, inspire each other.

My stuff:

http://www.tint.de
http://www.The-Mount.net
http://www.diekriegerdeslichts.de (English coming soon)

The one and only design community portal (in case you don’t know it yet):

http://www.k10k.net

Friends:

http://www.futurefarmers.com
http://www.plasticpirate.com (under construction)
http://www.suture.com
http://www.fork.de
http://www.tomato.co.uk
Andy Goldsworthy
Godspeed You Black Emperor (note on that: They tend to religion, but as far as I know they are not really Christians, but a great band.)