The retro-futurism of Simon Stålenhag

The retro-futuristic world created by Swedish artist, designer and musician Simon Stålenhag has surely contributed to reshape the dystopian artistic imagery of the last decade. 

Growing up in rural Sweden, Stålenhag has always been fascinated by countryside landscapes, which he started painting at a very young age. With time, he became getting interested in sci-fi and especially in the work of neo-futuristic illustrators such as Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead

By adding elements such as giant robots (or mecha) or even dinosaurs, Stålenhag developed his own retro-futuristic style that makes him gained popularity in Sweden and all over the world. 

Image by Simon Stålenhag.

Stålenhag’s works, often set in a world between the eighties and a non-specified future are deeply unsettling, showing a juxtaposition between the greatness of the machines and the powerlessness of the human beings, who seems constantly lost in these both wild and mechanical landscapes. 

In 2014 Stålenhag started creating narrative books with his illustrations, which were previously available just online. The first one, Tales From the Loop, which contains some of his most popular works, was lately adapted for the screen by Amazon Studios and distributed on the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video.  

Image by Simon Stålenhag.

Through time, Stålenhag has been able to build a strong community that often funded his projects through crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter. Thanks to them, the artist was able to create projects such as the book The Electric State and an electronic music album with the same title.

It seems that Stålenhag has just started to build his dystopic world and that there will be an evolution of it soon. In the meantime he continues to develop new projects and books so check out his Instagram account and website to stay up to date about his works.

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