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Matthias Schwaighofer Humor is art
Reading time: 6 minutes - April 18, 2023 - by Matthias Schwaighofer

Humor is an art

From the new Schnappschuss: "Humor"

There are lots of different things going on in our imagination - funny, sad, interesting, creative. In Matthias Schwaighofer's world of ideas, humorous thoughts take precedence, which he brings to life in his photos.

The Duden dictionary defines Tyroleans as follows: "narrow-minded mountain people with a tendency to treat other people with skepticism."

Yes, I am a Tyrolean, but I am not called "Hias". At around 40 years old, I almost enjoy an old man status in the country, which you inevitably get after surviving for so long in such a steep alpine region populated by narrow-minded people. In this country, the job title "pixel pusher" also applies surprisingly well.

I quickly realized that although mountain air smells great, it doesn't pay the rent. Inevitably, about 15 years ago, I embarked on the
path of digital art and took off my genetic blinkers to take advantage of the cosmopolitan nature of the internet. You could also describe this decision as a splitting off of my roots. Except that I make such absurd art that a local customer base would probably run for the hills.

"I'd like to have those drugs you take too." These or similar comments have been piling up underneath my pictures since the beginning of my internet presence. There's no question that some of my works are a bit weird and absurd, but it's precisely these works that stand out and make my name. How I come up with such ideas is never easy to say. Perhaps it is simply the urge to always do the opposite of what is assumed. Along the lines of: a burning fire truck works better than a child in a flower pot.

Matthias Schwaighofer Save the bees
Matthias Schwaighofer "Grubenhund"

Anyone who is constantly on the lookout for new ideas urgently needs a way to jot them down. That's why you'll rarely find me without my notebook, which may contain ideas for pictures that are about to appear.

Well, but who buys such work? Nobody at first - that took a long time. However, I wasn't financially dependent on photography and was therefore able to distribute my pictures online without a goal or plan. My works were quickly shared as memes, copied or printed in various magazines.
After a while, the advertising industry became aware of me and gave the then still young Tyrolean his first jobs.
I wouldn't have a job, no friends and, above all, no desire to do my work if there wasn't at least a spark of humor somewhere in my work. Even if some jobs "only" bring in money and pay my rent: Then I just laugh at the fact that you can also print money with such nonsense.

Customers don't have it easy with me. Many come with requests and then have to watch me come up with ideas. I should film myself doing this because I walk around in circles, jot down ideas and then discard them. The end result should be an image that shows a brand (whether model or product) in the most appealing and memorable way possible. It can take a while for such a concept to mature, and my clients are very involved in the project from start to finish.

" ... It's simply the urge to always do the opposite of what is assumed."

I need a gallows today, the weapons of a Terminator tomorrow and a sunken ship next week. You could build all that with Photoshop, but it's only half as much fun. That's why I invest a lot of time and planning into building my backdrops and props. Only when it looks real does it look authentic in the pictures. For this reason, the setup usually takes considerably longer than the shoot and the montage itself. Freelance work often takes several days. With client commissions, it's usually the fee that puts the brakes on the time. However, I often find myself refining parts of my pictures for free to make them a little better.

Advertising stays in your head better if you have a good feeling about it. Being able to laugh about it or recognize a joke helps immensely. However, not everyone can deal with my kind of humor and sometimes an idea that seems brilliant to me is deleted for fear that it won't go down so well. That's fine, but sometimes it's an extreme shame, as I could well imagine how a banal product could generate more reach through good, entertaining advertising. Okay, then we just do it like everyone else, but we shouldn't get upset if the excitement or the good response doesn't materialize.

Matthias Schwaighofer W-tell
Matthias Schwaighofer "Beim Glatzenhobler"
Matthias Schwaighofer "Mr. Poppige Erdnuss"

" Photography is never something finished for me ... "

Photography is never a finished product for me. It only serves as a rough structure, which is then finalized in Photoshop. So all my data first goes through retouching, where it is polished to a high gloss.
In my training courses and workshops, I can't impose my brand of humor on you. But the longer you deal with these topics, the better you'll get a feel for what's funny and what's not. My top priority is to "keep it simple". Because simple, almost simplistic humor is an art in itself and can achieve a lot when used correctly.

more info and more works:
Matthias Schwaighofer
Instagram: @schwaighoferart

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