To find Kerstin Hiestermann’s Instagram is to find sheer delight. The inventive simplicity with which she takes ordinary objects and transforms them with wonder will leave you amused, uplifted, and down right happy. It takes a creative eye to notice the mundane in a new light, infusing originality into the commonplace, and Kerstin’s ability to do just that left us little choice but to reach out and get to know her more. She truly embodies what it means to be a dreamer, one who shares a bit of her story through the world around her, and it’s with the utmost pleasure that we invite you further into that story, discovering her inspiration, her process, and where she hopes to go next.
Darling Magazine: Hi Kerstin! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got your start sketching?
Kerstin: I live with my husband and three kids up north in Germany. I work as a primary teacher in a school for children with special needs. I love my job, working with children and the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. My illustrations came along very suddenly, without planning them. For about a year and a half I was using Instagram and posted pictures that I took with my iPhone. At first it was only once in a while, then later I created pictures where I used white paper and combined every day things: flowers, food or something else with sketched lines. Last spring I felt that something happened within me. A huge flood of creativity literally washed over me and the pictures that I normally only had in my head came alive through this special style I had developed. “I can’t stop with this“ was the name of one of my pictures from back then, a giraffe that had been made out of a tulip.
DM: Where does the name spielkkind come from and why did you choose it?
Kerstin: The name spielkkind was just playing around with words, put together from the German word spielkind- the child that plays, and an additional k for my name, Kerstin. My pictures show how I see the world. They are a reflection of my fantasy and my inner child, my childish view, always with a little wink from the corner of my eye. That’s very much me, Kerstin, the child that plays.
DM: How do you get ideas for a sketch? Who or what has been the most influential?
Kerstin: My ideas come suddenly, out of the blue and in every situation. I see an object and with my inner eye straight away I associate it with something. It’s there, out of nowhere. One morning, for example, I looked out the kitchen window and saw the last bit of autmn leaves hanging on our cherry tree. I smiled, as the leaves looked like little sleeping bats to me. So there was the idea for the picture “sleeping” and all I had to do was to put it on paper.
DM: What’s been your favorite design so far? Why?
Kerstin: I don’t have a favorite in my gallery. I have many pictures that I like a lot and that still excite me. I still have a strong connection to each and every picture, for example as to how they came about. What day and under which circumstances did I come across that idea again? How difficult was it to take the picture or to create the sketch for it? For me with every single picture comes along a little story, so it’s very hard to pick one as a favorite.
DM: You have quite a following on Instagram, is that surprising to you? What do you hope to communicate through your art to those that follow you?
Kerstin: I haven’t a clue if I’ll ever get used to the fact that so many people follow me on Instagram. For me, my pictures are fun but also only something small that I do at home. They are an outlet for my inner child. It is amazing to see that those little pictures excite so many people all over the world. It is amazing, but it’s also hard to believe at the same time. A little bit like magic, I suppose.
DM: Are there any other forms of art that you’re interested in?
Kerstin: Besides my photographs and illustrations, I try to video my ideas. That’s a totally different type of work which I also enjoy very much. Those little clips are created in cooperation with my husband, Uli. He assists me with the shot, the cut and afterwards he is composes beautiful music to accompany my clips. That’s something I’d like to develop and explore more in the future.
DM: What do you think it means to be a dreamer?
Kerstin: Only a dreamer can create worlds out of something really small or nothing.
As a special commission, Kerstin sent us this sketch inspired by Darling’s summer issue:
All images are original artwork by Kerstin Hiestermann