Sivan Karim is an artist based in Berlin who has been drawing ever since he can remember. Having graduated with a degree in Art, his social media showcases his work and has caught the eye of thousands. His minimalistic yet complex illustrations show the strength of women, promoting equality and empowerment. Each illustration carries its own message and speaks 1000 words. Learn more about Sivan and his art below.
What inspires you to create new pieces? What’s your creative process?
The inspirations behind my drawings are mostly from experiences I have had. I'm also inspired by nature, dreams, and societal issues. Before starting an illustration, I usually sketch some ideas in my head first and after that, I do little sketches on paper. Once I'm happy with it, I start the actual drawing.
How did you become an artist?
I've always loved art. I can't remember when I started drawing, but my mum says I was about 2 or 3. When I was in primary school, we went to an art museum and I was so fascinated and wanted to be an artist. I drew every day and after my graduation, I decided to study illustration in Berlin. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 and started showing my drawings on social media. Luckily, magazines and agencies reached out and I was able to work off of commission.
We love that the majority of your illustrations are of women, is there someone in particular that you base them on or is there a reason for this?
Women have been an inspiration ever since I can remember. I want to show their strength, their vulnerability, their seductiveness, but mostly visualize them as beautiful human beings. They deserve to be treated equally, especially nowadays. In modern times it shouldn't be an issue anymore, but it is. I want to support women and empower them to be proud of themselves. They are perfect the way they are and society has no right to make them believe otherwise.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
I would love to collaborate with more brands and create beautiful campaigns.
What’s next for you? What can we look forward to seeing?
I'm planning a t-shirt and sweatshirt collection. It's still in progress, but I'm trying my best to make it happen.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
That's a tough one! I can't really choose a favorite one. I have a close bond to "The Dream" though. It was basically the first illustration that got a lot of attention on social media. It's my most reblogged drawing on Tumblr with over 40k notes. I guess it all started with this one!
“If you put effort and passion into your work, you will feel satisfied and be successful."
Walk us through a day in the life of Sivan, what do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I try to see my friends as much as possible. We go out for dinner or drinks and go clubbing--going out in Berlin is awesome! I love going to new exhibitions, or going to the park and reading a book. I also try not to use my phone too much when I'm outside.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
A great influence would be Charles Dana Gibson, he illustrated women and also used ink. His line work is very simple but very impressive. There are a lot of different artists I really admire and look up to, but it would be a long list.
Also, I remember when I was in school and upset about one of my teachers telling me I shouldn't do art and focus on something more "important." Another teacher came up to me and told me not to listen to people who gave up their dreams and would try to pull me down as well. He was right. If you put effort and passion into your work, you will feel satisfied and be successful. Keep doing what you love.
How would you describe your style of art?
Simplicity combined with detail.
Your illustrations all have a deeper meaning behind them, do you find this difficult to get across?
Surprisingly not. A lot of people message me and tell me that they relate to most of my illustrations. I guess it's true what they say, less is more. Also, everyone is free to see more behind a drawing than I was planning on. That's the good thing about art, it's subjective.
3 hidden gems in Berlin?
1) House of Small Wonder: A Japanese cafe/restaurant. It's a very cozy and beautiful place.
2) Lietzensee: A small lake where you can relax and read a book.
3) The Ballery: A small gallery curating great exhibitions.