Simon Stålenhag is best known for his artworks depicting run-down alien technology slumped around mundane Scandinavian and American landscapes. The day-to-day drudgery of the suburbs and rural communities have infected the high-technology of whatever-these-things-are, integrating them into a world that is neither scared nor in awe of them – it frankly doesn’t care.
Simon works digitally, and has produced only a single physical painting, according to the organisers of an auction of the work. Produced in 2010, it shows a child or adult encountering something alien in a forest – and is very much in keeping with Simon’s other works; the figure carries a shopping bag, the alien technology has rusted into obsolescence and there’s no clear narrative unless you want to make one up yourself (which is half the fun of Simon’s work).
The work is owned by one of the people behind Candy Crush, Tommy Palm. No longer with developer King, he has set up the Stugen games accelerator, which takes promising developers and puts them in a cabin (Stugen is Swedish for cabin) for two months to build a game. The latest Stugen – the fourth – finished in August and brought together 20 developers from 10 countries.
The sale of the painting will be put towards funding future Stugens, which Palm links to Simon’s previous career in games.
“I’ve always had a deep appreciation for Stålenhag’s incredible talent, from his early days as a games developer to his now one-of-a-kind illustrations that blend futuristic science fiction with rural life,” said Palm in a statement. “As a veteran games developer, I’m captivated by the creativity of his work and wanted to share this rare piece of art for someone else to enjoy while also benefiting the next generation of aspiring game developers, who are visual storytellers in their own right.”
The artwork can be viewed at the Bukowskis auctioneers in Stockholm until October 23, when it will auctioned. The expected price has not been stated.