Can artists and designers be immune to today’s political questions? This year’s Pictoplasma highlights artists with a cause

Pictoplasma is taking place this year from 17 to 18 September 2021, delivering an online festival broadcasting 40 lectures courtesy of internationally renowned artists and designers. This marks the second online festival for the industry-leading event platforming character design and art. Pictoplasma went online like most events last year, and its founders Peter Thaler and Lars Denicke were taken aback when the online festival amassed 100,000 views – a smashing success. We spoke to Lars on the benefits of going online, primarily, that it “makes the festival accessible to so many more people around the world who cannot afford to travel to Berlin.”

Over the two days in mid-September, Pictoplasma is bringing live hands-on workshops, panel discussions and screenings of animated shorts, broadcast straight to you at home. This content is available on two different, jam-packed panels. One is pre-recorded while the other is live. The special two-day entertainment fest features a myriad of talks by stellar creatives (just like other years) but to mark a difference, this year, Pictoplasma is centred on the pressing issues facing the industry today with this year’s festival highlighting artists with a cause. Taking to the stage, we’ll hear from Alex Jenkins, Amber Vittoria, Aurélia Durand, Loulou João, Raman Djafari, Taili Wu, Ton Man, Yuk Fun and many, many more. Amongst these creative heavyweights, Pictoplasma 2021 will also take a deep dive into how character design can enhance diversity, reclaim visibility and fight for representation.

Across the two days, the events will explore the importance of creative political activism in today’s industry, and whether any work can be immune to it. As the last couple of years have seen an increasing amount of artists, designers and brands speak up in favour of social justice, this year’s festival will lead the discussion on how character design can be more representational, not to mention empathetic. After what has been a stressful couple of years, to say the least, co-founder Lars adds on the mission of Pictoplasma: “We want to empower creatives to connect to what matters to them; to not feel stressed by the pressure of both commercial success and artistic expression.”

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