Hagen Vogel – A Master of Fan Art

Hagen Vogel (*1988, Berlin) ushers in a new era of fan art. His influences range from the internet and gaming scene to the fan culture and communication that accompanies it, as well as from fanaticism. 
Artist Hagen Vogel, Photography by Jakub Koncir

Artist Hagen Vogel, Photography by Jakub Koncir

Vogel portrays his heroes using elaborate oil painting techniques which establish himself somewhere between high culture and pop. Lara Croft, one of the most well known video game characters of our generation, is elevated to an artwork on a large scale canvas. For reference Vogel chose the 2013 version in which the script was written by a female and Croft received a less sexy design. This iteration saw a more vulnerable adventurer in the titular role, captured picturesquely by Vogel on a hostile background of ship and plane wrecks. 

Vogel loves good stories and brings virtual characters into the real world like in his paintings of Dr. Earnhardt (“Far Cry“) in front of a psychedelic mushroom harvest, Citra (“Far Cry“) as she takes the ceremonial dagger, and with a classical portrait of Ellie, the last human immune to the fungal virus that plagues the human race in the survival horror video game “The Last of Us“.

Vogel creates sophisticated works that last for over 500 years before needing any form of restoration by using self-made paints, the finest materials from Belgian canvas fabric, Swiss Gesso primer, and an alternating layer method that utilises egg tempera and oil resin paint. His characters become immortalised in the carefully constructed environments of their respective works with this technique.

Other pieces feature the global motifs of our time such as the epic Captain Picard face palm
meme, which, as an expression, has permanently entered the history of non-verbal
communication among internet users. One vantage point borrowed from Caspar David Friedrich
even reveals Sven Marquardt as the iconic wanderer and Berghain in a sea of fog.

Action and adventure are the pervading themes of Vogels creations, including the romanticised gangster still life painting featuring a cigar, gun, crystal meth, dollar bills, Herradura tequila, Habaneros, and the survival still life with a rucksack, hatchet, ethanol, tape and fire-starter. These form a stark contrast to the life size sculpture of a Lidl bag as the greatest resource of the homeless man; the artist of survival.

Vogel has remarkably perceived the worlds we create for ourselves in such a way that they are instantly recognisable. Some of these worlds have faded somewhat, such as Pope Benedict XVI, who, as the forerunner of Pope Francis, embodied the church in person. He was depicted by Vogel shortly after his resignation on a giant canvas with his golden robe and ostentatious golden cross on the background of a divine sky. The clarity in his portraits, however, their colour and aesthetic, never fades.

About Hagen Vogel:

Born in 1988 in Berlin then raised in Franconia, Vogel returned to the German capital to complete his studies at the University of Arts. From 2009 to 2014 he studied fine arts under Fritz Balthaus, Gregor Schneider and Valérie Favre. An experiment in the style of Georg Baselitz in which Vogel created a painting of Hitler was later seized by public prosecutors – the self-fulfilling prophecy which also resulted in being expelled from the university was complete. The artistic response to these events was Vogel’s painting of Pope Benedict XVI.


Lara Croft, 200x250, 2015, oil on canvas

Lara Croft, 200x250, 2015, oil on canvas