The Art of Simon Stålenhag

Over the weekend I came across the works of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, who depicts a world where technology peaked and then for some reason regressed, leaving behind a society at 1990s levels amid the wreckage of what was achieved before. I’m not really an arts person, but I find this sort of thing very good:

I find myself wondering what these weird machines and artifacts were, what they were used for, and why things went wrong. The pictures remind me of the Fallout series of video games, particularly New Vegas.

There’s a definite noir feel to some of the pictures…

…especially the ones with police in.

Simon Stålenhag’s website is here.

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21 thoughts on “The Art of Simon Stålenhag

  1. That is great Tim. Thank you for sharing. How did you find out what the premise of his art, about the 90s level of tech and the future tech no longer being useful?

  2. How did you find out what the premise of his art, about the 90s level of tech and the future tech no longer being useful?

    I paraphrased someone on Twitter who initially linked to it. I might have got it wrong, but that’s what it looks like to me.

  3. He’s got a couple of books out – Tales From The Loop, I think is one – that give the story.

    Never read them, but fairly sure polyamory is not involved.

  4. They also remind me a particular type of sci-fi cover art, which I currently can’t find decent examples of. Which will at least keep your blog tidy for a bit.

  5. He’s got a couple of books out – Tales From The Loop, I think is one – that give the story.

    I might have a look for that.

    Never read them, but fairly sure polyamory is not involved.

    Oh. Perhaps not, then.

  6. They also remind me a particular type of sci-fi cover art, which I currently can’t find decent examples of.

    I know the ones you mean.

  7. I note he uses a Wacom tablet to produce these. I also use a Wacom tablet daily in my work (would strongly recommend them in fact) but I can not do that. Cracking stuff.

  8. @MyBurningEars
    Interesting. Do you work in design or do you recommend them on a more general basis?

  9. Not in design but I do have a daily professional need to write/doodle. Tasks like hand-annotating PDFs or drawing on an online whiteboard. I’ve also found I ended up using it for a lot of things I used to use a mouse or touchpad for (e.g. highlighting the area I want to “snip” for a screenshot).

  10. @MyBurningEars
    Thanks! I’ve been a big fan of the Logitech trackballs, but for freehand style work they wouldn’t be as good as a stylus/pad combo.

  11. He’s got a couple of books out – Tales From The Loop, I think is one

    There’s a roleplaying game by the same name that fills out a lot of the background, with collaboration from the artist. I don’t think he did any new pieces for it specifically, though, so unless you’re a gamer nerd it’s not worth picking up for additional art.

    What I find interesting about this is that depending on what of his pieces you select you can get a very different feel. The RPG goes for a much less noir, more Stranger-Things-without-quite-so-much-creepy tone.

  12. Nice pictures. A lot of the objects look like space ships of some kind. I’m reminded of a recent anime called Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokō (Girls last tour), which is about 2 sisters exploring an abandoned future megacity (on a Kettenkrad!)

  13. The artist you were trying to remember is Chris Foss: did loads of Asimov paperback covers.

  14. That first one looks like the grade on I-15 down to Baker California, what a place that is. Near there is the exit for Zzyzzx Rd. do not take that exit nothing good will come of it. If there is a real Hotel California, where you can check out but never leave, it’s the old mineral spa place there.

    A lot of his work looks like various places in the Mojave Desert. I wouldn’t be surprised, the high desert and Death Valley are huge draws for European tourists.

    Really cool, thanks.

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