For the cover story “Elephant in a China Shop”, the editorial team of SZ magazine brought together the Hamburg draftsman and illustrator Stefan Marx with KPM in April 2017. Stefan Marx also stages his well-known “Sundaayyyssss” motifs on coffee cups, moka pots and biscuit tins from KPM Berlin. Heike Glaser interviewed Stefan Marx for the KPM customer magazine WEISS.

The young illustrator gave the soup tureen from the traditional KURLAND service with its typical relief edge a contemporary design. In order to decorate the KPM classic, Marx spent a day in the manufactory's painting department. An encounter that made both sides happy. It marks the beginning of a wonderful friendship between the traditional brand and the graffiti artist. The man who started out as a street artist and whose works now hang in galleries from Düsseldorf to New York to Tokyo. Stefan Marx has designed T-shirts, skateboards and record covers and, if desired, even draws a tattoo on the skin. Now the 39-year-old has discovered porcelain as a surface and has continued his collaboration with the traditional Berlin company as part of the KPM+ edition.

Matthias Dotschko, head of the KPM Painting department, had the idea of ​​inviting the Hamburg illustrator to the SZ project so that we could get to know each other personally. He and his team were fascinated by the speed with which Stefan Marx executed his drawings and by how skillfully he implemented the very special painting technique with pigments and turpentine oils. Now Stefan Marx comes to the factory regularly and paints pre-ordered pieces by hand.

Mr. Marx, how was your first visit to KPM Painting?

I was welcomed with open arms and was allowed to ask anything. The spirit among the employees is really great. The porcelain painter Astrid Schulz became my tutor and

Carer, she is a master painter. Then I got a little basic course - which tools should be used to paint and label porcelain, what makes the color and what properties this special material has.

Have you ever painted or drawn on porcelain before?

No, that was completely new territory for me. I once had experience with ceramics, but that's a whole different ball game. Porcelain painting is a training profession in its own right, it's not that easy to learn overnight. I find the whole craft of porcelain painting incredibly fascinating - you can make a lot of mistakes.

For example?

Porcelain that is hand-painted has the characteristic that it is high-gloss, the paint is not absorbed onto the surface and it does not dry into the material. You can also wipe them away again. If you are careless and reach into the drawing, it will be destroyed. So there are a few faux pas - in the truest sense of the word, because the paint contains a lot of fat or oil.

Did the shape inspire you to make a particular drawing?

I wanted to bring drawings that are familiar to me onto the surface of KPM porcelain. The tools are a little different - now I use a drawing pen and also an ink pen, so I can accommodate my line well.

And how did the young vegetables end up in the KURLAND soup tureen?

I took the stew theme to the extreme and decided on very funny characters with the young vegetables. That was also intentional. Everything is drawn in a somewhat exaggerated manner, a media eye-catcher. After my one-day stay, Astrid Schulz offered me gold plating in various places - and so it became a small collaboration. This is where tradition collide in 2017.

And now the collaboration with KPM continues. What kind of idea is behind the current collection?

There is this very high-quality porcelain that you only take out of the cupboard on Sundays. This is known from certain social circles. Then it occurred to me that I

had my Sundaayyyssss drawings transformed incredibly well on the URBINO service.

What do you like about the URBINO service?

I am a big Bauhaus fan. URBINO is a service where I see my drawing. The porcelain is so reserved to give my drawings space. In contrast to the KURLAND terrine, I now look at the entire service with the aim of ensuring that it is of consistent quality - and each part is unique.

What would Trude Petri, the creator of the URBINO design, have said about that?

I think she would have been delighted. At least I would certainly have been welcomed by her with open arms and a certain curiosity.

With you, pop culture meets a traditional brand. Is this a way to bring cultural heritage into the 21st century?

Yes, at least you open a door. You don't take anything away, you add something. Then it takes on a whole new facet. The idea of ​​releasing the entire URBINO service as a Sundaayyyssss service will also appeal to my generation, I have no concerns about that.

Text: Heike Glaser

Images: Gene Glover