An automaton’s leg joints creak and whine as it inches through the snow towards a partially-lit house. It turns its body almost inquisitively. It’s curious. The residents inside ignore it. People here have learned which robots are the dangerous ones.
I am transported to another world when I look at the digital paintings of artist Simon Stålenhag. Using a Wacom tablet, he has created a series of paintings fully realizing an odd dystopia set in rural Sweden. Decaying science stations litter the countryside and are juxtaposed with simple daily life. Dinosaurs — or some experiments gone wrong — roam free as automatons do. Children play with discarded tech. Lakes encourage the destruction of already rusting outposts.
The universe Stålenhag has created in these paintings is mysterious, inviting, and distant all at the same time. He updates his website regularly with new works expanding this vision, and they are so good I had to feature them here. I have a few of my favorites below, but you can buy his book or prints and look at more examples of his fine work here (click to enlarge).
All images used with permission, and copyright Simon Stålenhag.