Felix Kramer is an occasional student and freelance concept designer living in Southern Tier New York. His creative interests include visual design, prose writing, and poetry, all of which are approached with an eye for surrealism and deformation of existing tropes and systems. He draws influence from the fields of linguistics, mathematics, and architecture, among others.
Weirdfictionreview.com: Where did the idea for this strange bestiary come from?
Felix Kramer: I wanted to make creatures that were unsettling/horrific without fitting too neatly into any particular genre. Strangers represent beings whose nature and intelligence is so far beyond human beings that the underlying system itself is unobservable. To me, it’s scary to think of creatures like this whose motives and mental states are completely unknown; a creature whose presence might break down your perception of the world, eat holes in your brain, or destroy your personality. Then, think of these things happening on a massive scale, how this sort of “noise” would degrade the workings of society over time – I wanted to create creatures that would plant the seeds and watch from the sidelines as human beings destroyed themselves. To look at it another way- although a domestic pig, for example, observes a human being’s physical actions every day of their life, even the smartest pig in the world has no knowledge of the “meat industry” — nor can it even begin to rationalize the existence of that concept.This is what human beings are like in the face of unimaginably higher intelligences.
WFR.com: Are there real creatures that were your inspiration?
Felix Kramer: A few strangers might draw small bits of influence from various creatures, but overall, I try not to be too directly influenced by real world animals.
I’m more interested in trying to apply non-animate physical forms to animate creatures- a creature that moves with the sputtering sound of a car engine, or a creature whose body temperature exceeds the heat of the sun’s surface- these are the sorts of ideas I might start from. Sensory aspects are incredibly important to me- not just what something looks like, but what it feels like, what it smells like, especially when these details don’t really fit together into something neat, something familiar.
WFR.com: Where do these creatures exist? On our world? Another?
Felix Kramer: These creatures exist in our world, but not in everyday three-dimensional space- think of them as existing in extra ‘layers’ of our world, or through ‘doorways’ (not always literal doorways) that the average person might never stumble upon. The diagram below might illustrate a bit of what I mean:
As for their nature beyond that, I can’t say anything else, but I will say that they are not magical, not aliens, not time travelers, they are not from a parallel universe, and that society (in the project’s world/timeline) is completely unaware of the strangers’ existence.
WFR.com: Can you give us a sense of your approach to art in general, and how you got started?
Felix Kramer: I’ve been drawing since I was 2 or 3, and have always gravitated towards animals, monsters, or other creatures. As for my approach, I love to play with design and composition, variations on forms, things like that. The designs for the Strangers, for example, are all based on permutations of a specific set of attributes; even though there are lots of variations, I’ve designed them all in the hopes that someone could see any three Strangers at random and be able to recognize them as a set. In terms of method, I do almost everything digitally, and I’m mostly self-taught (dropped out of high school and have taken only one college-level studio art class), which means that my repertoire of skills is admittedly more limited than a lot of people; but as long as I can get my ideas out, that’s enough for me.
WFR.com: Where can we find upcoming work?
Felix Kramer: Any new Strangers work will be on the website. I have lots of other projects I want to do someday (prose writing, poetry, visual art), but at the moment, I’m at a kind of transitionary stage in my life, so I’m mostly focusing on Strangers stuff to keep from spreading myself too thin.