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Discovering New Artists: Simon Stålenhag

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Flyby by Simon Stalenhag©

Discovering new artists is very exciting. It's like finding a new world that is vast and inviting. Not every artist appeals, so when you discover one that captures your imagination everything else becomes secondary as you absorb and discover this artists imagination and ideas. Simon Stålenhag is an artist I've only recently discovered and I'd like to share some of what I know about him and his art

Simon is a Swedish game developer and artist/painter. He is approximately 40 years old and first gained public recognition in 2013 when the Verge website posted an essay (by Dante D'Orazio) with lots of his paintings. The paintings, essentially, are sci-fi scenes of robots, alien machines and dinosaurs created with a Wacom tablet and pen. But what sets his work apart from the usual depictions of these subjects is that they are set in the suburban Sweden of his childhood. This gives the images a weird quality that unnerves the viewer. Police cars on a country road with huge alien machines in a nearby field; several local youths standing in a small concrete ditch holding odd machines connected by wires. It's like the normal world has been invaded by strange things, but no one seems to notice or care.

I'm reminded of scenes from the incredible video game Half Life 2 where, as a player, you also see the juxtaposition of the banal and the alien. It produces an on feeling of loneliness and nostalgia that, while creepy, is not all that unpleasant. He's a remarkable, self-taught artist that I'll be studying intently.

Simon Stalenhag has released two books; Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood, which contain the majority of his work.

His website (in Swedish) is also filled with his paintings and sketchbooks along with framed prints of his work for purchase. There are many interviews with Simon at various online magazine sites. Here's a good one from Scientific American

Note: the image used in this article is copyright Simon Stalenhag. Used under fair use law.

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Tags: 
science fiction, Simon Stalenberg, Swedish art
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