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Tag Archives: Mattias Adolfsson
Like all good illustrators, Matias is a storyteller with paint and ink. The joy of working with folk like Mattias, Angel Dominguez, Bernhard Oberdieck, Nick Harris, Sarah Davis and others, is that they can load layers of meaning into a single picture adding dimension to the text. They are also able to add illustrative subplots of their own that augment the main plot and add visual interest. The other joy, and I speak here as a writer, is that their very doodlated sketches and ‘just for me/ for fun’ works speak, story positively oozing out the edges. I have episodes of total right brain escapism let loose with Mattias’ tantalising takes on everything and anything and more. Many of the Wacky Wordages on my blog or available for teachers and students and others via www.sharing-books.com, are the result of such episodes of creative indulgence.
and more characters…
Jennifer: The comic book element is present in many of your blog posts, you mentioned a course in comic writing/creation. What brought on that deviation? What are you ambitions in venturing into that genre?
I’m not a big comic reader (I used to be though) but I’d like to do some kind of comics/book soon. My priority has to be making a living though, so it’s hard finding time making something like books and comics on my own time without the monetary backing.
Jennifer: The sense of story in your works is strong. Do you have plans for your own children’s picturebook? What about a darkly humorous graphic novel? [You keep tantalizing us with hints of projects underway.]
Mattias: I have a problem with too many ideas at the moment, I need to focus on print and leaving the web perhaps, I spend far too much time doing internet things. Maybe a yearlong web sabbatical would do the trick.
Characters in current book project, “Improbable Adventures…” :
Jennifer: I find your work inspiring in a dangerously right brain way!
Do you find the drawings evolve themselves from the end of your pen and do their own thing or do you try to control them?
Mattias: I often say that the drawing kind of evolves rather than being planned, but when I look at the drawings I do, or rather, I can see certain themes, I guess that my right brain does know what it wants to draw…
Some of Mattias’ ‘right brain inspired’ series :
Jennifer: Do you get many approaches from the corporate world? I mean if I were Mojo, I’d want you to design my logo! What are some of the more oddball commissions you have had?
Which commissions do you enjoy the most?
Mattias: I get some approaches but not enough and far too few are oddball, I’d love to do textiles or pottery (not sure about the right name for this). The strangest was doing fashion Illustrations for an English magazine (I’m totally uninterested in fashion). The best commissions I’ve done are when I get a free hand (surprise)!
A variety of output….
Jennifer: There is a great ‘new’ interview with Mattias on Design Taxi for the curious. So, Mattias, having barraged you with questions, which one that you DESPERATLEY wanted me to ask, have I left out? Now is your turn!
Mattias: Do you sometimes fret over if you are too much of an illustrators’ Illustrator and may be not have a very commercial style? The thought has occurred to me lately. I’m trying to get commission work and maybe an art sales rep, but it’s hard and very time consuming.
Jennifer notes: The mechanics of earning a living with art and literature require, especially in in the early stages of ‘breaking in’, other work which seems constantly to threaten to rob that precious and closely guarded creative element, ‘time’, and yet the art/literature is the raison d’être and the other, the ‘intrusive’ work, merely essential if the writer/artist is to do something as mundane as eat.
More variations of Mattias’ output:
And, just to show Mattias does not just do humorous work, but very delicate and detailed pieces as well, I have included the flowers at the end of the interview.
The Addictive Wackiness of Mattias Adolfsson – Sweden’s leading innovator in the illustrative arts
Jennifer: I hesitate to ask, your right brain is so hyperactively active who knows what it will let loose, but from where does all this creativity come! Inherited, evolved or from somewhere, dare I ask where, else?
Mattias: Evolved perhaps, but It might have been inherited from my father. My Father was a very funny man, he never got to get an education but I think he had great potential as a Illustrator as well. He came from poor conditions though and had to leave school early.
Jennifer: As a kid, did you get the bedtime story treatment? What were you favourite stories? What were the illustrations/illustrators you remember most vividly?
Mattias: I really can’t remember getting the bedtime story treatment, but my mother started sticking books in my hands at an early stage (she continued until late in my teens suggesting books, she still does it). I’m rather Euroscentric in my upbringing, my favourite Illustrators as a child where: Oscar Andersson, Tove Janson , Kjell Aukrust , and with Richard Scarry as an exception to the rule.As for stories, I early got hooked on European (gallic) comics, Tintin and Asterix, I used to read them and still do.
Jennifer’s Comment: I think readers will agree there are some curious elements of these influences seeping through.
[Mad’s master of detailed mayhem can’t help himself, even his website in seminal form features, Groo, an example of his madcap characterisations.]
All three artists have an anarchic humour both lauding and subverting utopian ideals and just about everything else in between, Herge, of course, being the subtle one of the three. Where do readers see Mattias flitting in and out of here?
Jennifer: You refer to your love of Mad Magazine’s Sergio Aragones what drives you to detail so transfixing, so almost maddeningly effusive? It is an art in itself to take in all of some of your creations at once! [Can we accuse you of having anything to do with behind the scenes of Where’s Wally?]!
I think the main influence in this is the books of Richard Scary, (where’s Wally is not something I have seen, but I’ve heard it mentioned often). Sometimes I get a craving for leaving the very detailed work as it is hard to take it in, it is lousy as traditional art.
[Note from Jennifer: No, Mattias please don’t. We LOVE the detail!]
The detail is mindblowing and maniacal and insidiously addictive. You could study it for hours and still pick out new facets.
Jennifer: I think I mentioned to you once how your incredible machines reminded me of the crazy inventions depicted by Heath Robinson last century. You feature many maniacal machines in your work, what is the fascination?
Mattias: I’m not sure, to be frank I’m not that into machines, sometimes I use the drawing as some kind of meditation, they start to live by themselves.
[Jennifer: The Machine has a life. Mattias’ machines have a humour and character like no other I have seen comparable.]
Jenny Wagner once said that no children’s book should have a mchine at its heart. In the case of Mattias’ robottic house machines, I would have to disagree. They verge into the realm of the Iron Man, I Robot and even Bicentennial Man. There is a drama and pathos about them that mitigates against the sometimes bleak black humour of civilisation gone in search of itself.
Jennifer: The architectural elements of your work have also been compared to Hayao Miyazaki. What inspires you particularly about brick, stone and wood construction? You tell how you started out to be an architect but diverged. How did that come about?
I love buildings and especially of the older kind. Though, when I started studying Architecture, I soon found out that I wasn’t too good designing modern houses. So now I can design what building I want, not having to think about the dwellers.
Jennifer: Your recent scholarship sojourn in Greece produced a wealth of work which we all saw evolve over the months on your blog site. Tell us about winning the scholarship and where you see the outworkings of that experience taking you?
Mattias: Well winning was not that hard, it goes to professional Swedish Illustrators ( and I guess not too many can leave home for one month). I’d love to do more traveling and drawing but, in order to do that, I’d have to finance it in some way, maybe via some magazine.
Jennifer’s note: Mattias sketched the most ordinary and extraordinary and made them all ‘art’. He interspersed his online blog diary with the mind expanding mischief his followers have come to love. These, not necessarily from that period, exemplify. [For more still, go to http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/ http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/ ]
REFLECTION UPON THE SELF PORTRAIT OF MATTIAS ADOLFSSON, by J.R.Poulter
Nice shade of Blue!
Do you do other Hues too?
A puce or vermillion
Could look like a Million.
Heliotrope’s a nice shade
But a bit prone to fade….
Just tan is so boring,
Common White isn’t scoring
Can you really bare to be inked
And then there’s yellow
Well that ‘s a tad mellow…
At least on the fashion track.
I do think blue
Looks good on you!
Would you colour me too?
[This is brave stuff – he has also done a selfportrait as a merman, or is it being half eaten by a sharkodile? I might have to do a wacky wordage on that one too…]
The Armour-Plated Elephort by J.R.Poulter 08
The armour-plated elephort
Lumbers through my mind
On his way to Fanciful
To join more of his kind.
He rumbles on, he never sleeps
He tumbles down the mountain steeps.
He snorkunks through the ocean deeps,
He goes to join his kith and kin
Fight their way through thick and thin!
NOTHING stops the elephort
And nothing ought!
Each night he goes to Fanciful
He wades through blood and gore,
Each war is more FANTASTIC
Than he fought the night before!
When we get to the interesting parts
Of ripping off heads and tearing out hearts,
My mother comes in and shakes me awake,
“ENOUGH! It’s late! Up, OUT THE GATE!”
I wish the elephort would come
And stumpalumph my meanie Mum!
[Illustration by Mattias Adolfsson]
The Queuing by J.R.Poulter
What shall we do?
Let’s form a queue!
You cannot form a queue right here
Because it’s not to anywhere!
What’s it matter what it’s for?
It’s better than standing round being bored!
Me to the front.
No that won’t do!
You behind me.
What, can’t you see?
Well goodness me gracious
You’re NOT efficacious!
NO need to swear,
The piggle will hear!
The piggle has peedled himself with fear….
Now, where’d they all go?
How should I know!?
No one’s queuing,
Just piggle on his own boohooing,
“I weedely wodely wunt be awone!” *
[*Loosely translated piggleese – “I really and truly am awf’lly alone and I don’t want to!”]
Mattias has an utterly wild and wonderous blog [http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/2008/07/stekare.html] on which this funny sketch features. It was too good to pass up – I HAD to write the story in the picture – sort of uncontainable verbalaging! The result was the humorous poem appendaged on to Mattias’ artwork [Yes, Mattias did have first peak – just in case it freaked him out of his creative space. ]
Oh, Come a Bummer Do! © J.R.Poulter
Sifting salted peanuts
In between their teeth,
It’s the ooby gooby men
Who’ve come to cause us grief!
Ickle them, tickle them,
Pickle and prickle them!
Bum tiddlee um tum, bum bum BOOOO!
Run, run quickly
The traffic jam’s ickly stickly!
The oobie goos spread it too thickly
And now we’re all slushing in ooh!
Bum tiddlee um tiddlee,
What are we to do?
Alas, the iggle piggle
Nottle wattling where he wiggled
Came a proper cropper,
Went a whopper head o’ topper
In the ooby gooby gooo.
Bum diddlee um, ummm, Oh BUM!
When he went bumpty, dumpty,
Piggle thumped um up complumply!
He squashed the ooby goobies,
Squished them into blobs of doobies…
Now we’re FREE OF OOBY GOOBIES!
Diddlee um, diddlee bum, BOO HOOO!
Another trawl through the marvelous mayhem on Blog Mattias [http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/2008/07/stekare.html] found this – “Doodles”– the Bum caught me eye – no, don’t even try and deny that you see it – then came the refrain “bum tiddlee um tum bum bum!” If you don’t do something about a niggly little nonsense like that it will drive you nuts – so I gave way and “Oh Come a Bummer Do!” is the result….
Dragon Party started in similar vein – I was on a bus and the phrase came to mind “drooling dragons dribble by”. I dare you to deny extended life to a phrase like that – it HAD to be poemated!
I did this piece of humorous performance verse some time ago – pre finding Matias on JacketFlap. Imagine my utter amazement when the same elephants had been invading Mat’s territory! Elephants are creatures it’s hard to say no to – we unwisely introduced the two groups and now have a stampherdling horde!
OH MOTHER , WOW! By J.R. Poulter,
Concert piece – speaking parts – Action & speech Child; Action & speech, Mother; Elephant chorus, of twelve, accompany the entire piece with steadily growing background stamping of feet (suggest heavy gumboots or other solid footwear.)
Mum: Not now, I’m busy dear!
Child: But Mum, just listen , can’t you hear?
Elephants: Thump, Clump, Bump, Gallump!
In the distance ominous rumbles
Like an army with the tummy grumbles!
Mum: Later dear, not now! No! No!
Child: But Mum, there’s something you need to know
Elephants: Thump, Clump, Bump, Gallump!
It’s getting nearer, just down the street,
The thunder of humungus feet!
|Allegory for the last two years, by Mattias Adolfsson|
Child: Mum! You better look and see!
Mum: My dear, please do not bother me!
Elephants: Thump, Clump, Bump, Gallump!
The noise is coming closer now!
Child: Oh Mum! Come quick! Oh Mother, WOW!
It’s really urgent! I need you!
Mum: My child, I’ve more important things to do
Than play at make-believe with you!
Elephants: Thump, Clump, Bump, Gallump!
Child: Mum, there’s an elephant at the door
Being followed by a herd or more!
MUUUUM, tell me what I’m supposed to do
And then I will not bother you!
Mum: Oh goodness child! Don’t pester me!
Let them in and make them tea!
Elephants: CRASH! MASH! BASH! SMASH!
Child: Mum, just one more question and I’ll be quiet.
Where are we going to sleep tonight?