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Excited by Dystopian Visions

Image ©2021Simon Stalenhag

To quote writer, Hayley Evans -

"Working in the field of concept art, Simon Stalenhag has conceived a whole world. Using his homeland of Sweden as a backdrop (and more recently, California), Stalenhag merges reality with fantasy, turning coniferous forests and snow-shrouded fields into the sites of alien encounters, apocalypse scavenging, and bloody cyborgian crimes. He spent a lot of time alone in nature as a child, and as a result, his works often “depict a sense of isolation and loneliness”; in a world that resembles a dystopian near-future (or even a recent past, or an alternate timeline), solitary figures contend with wandering extraterrestrial and mechanical threats, all of which lumber or slither across the horizons like eerie, decrepit, and/or dangerous beasts. Visit Stalenhag’s website, where you can see incredible close-ups of his paintings that reveal how much detail and subtle drama he tucks into a single image."

Maybe it's because I too, spent a lot of time alone in nature as a child, that prompts me to resonate so deeply with Stalenhag's work - or perhaps I simply join in his dystopian vision of the world - a mixture of sad, rust covered Retro-Futurism tinged with general, nonspecific nostalgia.

Image ©2021Simon Stalenhag

I look at his images and feel like I've walked past these structures. I've been in these places before, I know what they feel like. Yet, I don't know why I feel like this.

There is a deep level of familiarity I can neither deny nor explain.

Image ©2021Simon Stalenhag

Whatever it is - his work triggers something to come alive in me as an artist - waking-up something that has been asleep in my subconscious. Reminding me that 4 years ago, I too began creating strange, hauntingly inexplicable images about a place that feels all too familiar to me and yet, defies rational recollection.

It is the distant calling of these images I hear once again.

Image ©2021CMRalph

Until next time ...

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