David Stenbeck’s Neon Surreal Art is Pure Escapism

“Clouds are, sometimes, the closest we get to the nebulae in space, making it a suitable poetic emblem for what is beyond our reach.”
- David Stenbeck

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Even an escapist would take David Stenbeck’s art to a desert island. Razor sharp shapes of light embrace cauliflower clouds hover over vast oceans. A light pastel palette instructs the viewer to see the human-like colours of nature. David’s images chart a natural reality more personal than our own.

Born in Southern Sweden in 1978, David’s started out his creative career in the literary arts as a poet, editor and writer of literary critique. Since adding visual arts to his arsenal of creativity, in his words, he feels he is “becoming a member of the world”.

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We spent time with David in our own reality. In our interview, we discussed his work process, what drives him and whether he’s got any other natural phenomena on the horizon.

TP: You seem to have a strong preference for light blue and pink – what attracts you to these colours?
DS:
I often speak of the pink-neon hues as an agent for strong inter-human communication. It’s something from the heart, and something for the mind. To me it’s also a kind of signature colour expressing ideas and ideals of possible human endeavours. Sci-fi or not, there’s a universe to explore.

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TP: Your works twist and bend reality. What’s the concept behind this?
DS:
The emotional conception of reality has to be given credit, even in our daily life, and in those conditions the motif should behave accordingly.

TP: What fascinates you about clouds? 
DS:
Clouds are, sometimes, the closest we get to the nebulae in space, making it a suitable poetic emblem for what is beyond our reach. Also, creating volumetric clouds in 3D is, technically, what you can call a ”motherf***er” and I kind of accepted that challenge.

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TP: What does surrealism mean to you?
DS:
Surrealist art, in some aspects, should be considered carrier of anarchic opposition towards the established powers in society, but it’s also a pleasant way of remixing reality. And it’s kind of pretty.

TP: What’s the creative process behind your images? How do you make them?
DS:
I do a lot of inspirational research on historical artists, musicians and philosophers, to understand what being contemporary was to them, and what it is to us today. In this way, I get to that place where I need to be to create something original. If such a thing is even possible. Also, I research materials and test them in different light, all in 3D. It’s a very personal, sometimes private, process that needs hours of good old thinking to function at all.

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TP: Many of your works are suggestive of being in flight – are you a fan of flying?
DS:
I might be more of an escapist than a fan of flying, really. Timelessness as a word is beyond the cliché, but I appreciate thinking of the world, and society, as more liquid, in the sense that we have not yet reached our destination, and there is still so much to come.

Understanding time, in relation to civilisation, gives us a bit of a better view. In that aspect, things like trees, mountains, oceans and clouds have key value. They are the same, unaltered, meaning we are also our history, right now.

TP: What do you think the future holds for artists who balance photography and digital design? Will the balance tip further towards digital design? 
DS:
Well, the artist is the medium, much more than the technique is. And, while hybrid or mixed media art isn’t new, it’s absolutely the way to go. Digitalisation will convince the non-believers. A major reason to this is distribution, but it has more to do with conception and realisation of the artwork. Where the creative agent could be transmitted with as little physical interference as possible, it should.

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TP: After clouds and seas, do you have any other natural phenomena you’d like to make your own take on?
DS:
Yes I do, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.

TP: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
DS:
I’d love a couple of peaceful sunsets. And I hope to see a bit of Europe, that I haven’t in a while.

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