Fanartist Highlight #4: Steffi Hochriegl
by Justin(e) Norton-Kertson
August 14, 2021
For our fourth Fanartist Highlight we talked with German artist Steffi Hochriegl.
Hochriegl is a prolific artist who we were drawn to from the very first time her art was brought to our attention. She illustrates actors and characters from Star Trek, X-Men, and Law & Order: SVU, and more. She truly is a talented artist. We’re honored that she agreed to talk with us, and we're thrilled to bring you our interview highlighting her craft.
UZ: Start by telling us a little about yourself outside of the artist. Where are you from or where do you live? Do you have a day job? Any hobbies in addition to drawing?
SH: My name is Steffi Hochriegl and I‘m from Bavaria, Germany. I‘m currently unemployed but have worked in retail for 15 years. Other hobbies than drawing and watching shows/movies are acting, singing, hiking and travelling.
UZ: How long have you been drawing? Are you a trained artist or self-taught?
SH: I‘m completely self-taught. I‘ve been drawing ever since I can hold a pen, but I properly got into it in my teenage years. I started with drawing Manga and Anime characters until somebody asked me if I can draw ”real people“ too. So I drew Tom Hanks off a picture in our tv guide and it turned out quite well. So I tried to perfect that over the years.
After a few years of drawing ordinary black and white pencil portraits, I decided to try it with coloured pencils. My first coloured drawings were of Michael Fassbender and this was also the first time I made contact with fandoms. Somehow I was brave enough to post some of my works on tumblr and that‘s how I came to be part of the X-Men and Fassbender fandom. From there I went on to the Raúl Esparza/Broadway/Law & Order: SVU fandom, where my art got a lot of traction and I was even commissioned by the official SVU account to draw for their 400th episode.
My art has become a gateway to meet people from all around the world and I have met many of my online friends in real life over the years. Sadly, it got ugly in this particular fandom and so I left and focused only on my twitter account. It was around the time when Star Trek: Discovery came out. Like so many, I grew up with Trek, and as soon as I heard that one of my favourite actors, Jason Isaacs, would be part of it, it was a no-brainer for me to join the fandom and draw for it as well. And soon I was making weekly drawings for Disco Sunday during Season 1, actors and writers shared my works, and I was even featured in the show After Trek. It was such a fun time because I‘ve gotten to know so many wonderful people (like the wonderful Mary Chieffo) and made so many new friends from around the world. I even started to go to conventions.
I have to thank the Trek community for so much, because they‘ve pulled me out of a deep dark hole with all their positivity and joy. Sure, there‘s always trolls and haters too, but I love that the Trek fandom is big enough for everybody to have their own little corner and just share the things they like the most.
UZ: Who or what is your inspiration when it comes to fanart?
SH: Fanart is very layered. It can mean different things to different people. For some it‘s an expression of scenes they would‘ve loved to see on the show, but didn‘t. For some it‘s used to express their own interpretations of scenes. Some make posters and tributes or just love a character very much and enjoy playing with them in various scenarios. All of it is beautiful and valid and I find that art, fics, podcasts and basically all the content that people create is what keeps a fandom alive.
My own art is usually realistic and about the actors themselves. Though I do enjoy drawing the various characters, I like to use my art as a window to a person‘s soul. I am fascinated by the various masks all of us wear while we go through life and I try to catch the respective energy of each. For instance, I have made over 100 drawings of Jason Isaacs. And there is an energetic difference between him being Lorca, him posing for a photo shoot, and him being himself. People often comment on the way my art ”feels“ and especially how the eyes look, so I like to think they pick up on what I‘m trying to convey. I am not a fan of just copying photos 1:1. I always put my own spin and interpretation on it. Otherwise I wouldn‘t have to draw it since the original picture already exists anyway.
UZ: What is your favorite universe or fandom to draw in? Why?
SH: Star Trek definitely. Simply because I am mainly in this fandom and I post my art on here to bring my friends joy. Though I do venture into other fandoms as well from time to time, simply because I am a person with lots of interests for all kinds of shows and movies. I draw whatever I feel like.
UZ: What is your favorite character, species, ship, or other thing to draw from the Star Trek universe? Why?
SH: Regarding favourite characters, it‘s often the doctors that have my attention. McCoy was my very first crush ever, growing up. I also love The Doctor from Voyager, and of course Bashir.
Character-wise I definitely identify the most with Tilly, though people often compare me to Deanna Troi when it comes to my extreme empathy. I always had a crush on Tom Paris as well, and let‘s not forget Archer and Trip.
Are any of the characters better to draw then others? Nah not really. Again, I really just draw what I feel called to.
UZ: Have you been watching any of the new Star Trek shows? What do you think of the new era of Star Trek television? And are you looking forward to any of the shows in particular that aren’t on the air yet (e.g. Prodigy, Strange New Worlds, or the possible Section 31 show)?
SH: I obviously have been watching the new shows after years of fanart. My take on the new era of Trek is this: I welcome it with an open heart. Does some of it have its flaws and is some of it not totally up my alley? Yes. But the more Trek the better in my book. And every new show could be the gateway for somebody else to find its way into this wonderful franchise.
Picard was not so much my thing, but I can’t wait for Q in season 2! I love Discovery, especially for its steps towards proper representation, and Lower Decks is just so much fun.
I look very much forward to Strange New Worlds and Prodigy and even if they may not turn out to be my fave shows, one can still have fun and admire what the people behind the scenes create. I know some haters may not agree, but I find the people behind these shows work very hard and they have an immense knowledge of everything Trek and try to give it proper tribute and attention.
UZ: Do you have a personal favorite Star Trek series? If so, what and why?
SH: My overall favourite show may be Voyager. My favourite from the new shows is Discovery. The Trek I would call my ”first own Trek“ is Enterprise. I grew up with my dad watching TOS, TNG, etc, but ENT was the Trek that made me discover it on my own. Though in fairness, my crush on Archer may have had a lot to do with that also.
UZ: Where can people follow your artwork?
SH: My artwork can be found on here or on Instagram with the same handle, @larkistin89,
or on deviant art.