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Behind the unsettling sci-fi landscapes of Simon Stalenhag’s ‘Electric State’

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Pedro Cote
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A boxy blue car, like the old Volvo my dad used to drive, sits parked in a desolate lot in one of Simon Stålenhag’s dystopian illustrations.

A young woman in white sweatpants, a hooded leather jacket, and red backpack stands on a nearby hill.

It’s a familiar scene from my 90’s childhood — except the girl is holding hands with a bobble-headed robot and staring up at four animatronic ducks riddled with bullet holes from some recent wargame.

It’s been a big year for Stålenhag, a Swedish digital artist who’s gained something of a cult (and Kickstarter) following for his evocative depictions of rural and suburban landscapes mixed with eerie science fiction elements.

The narrative artbook follows the journey of a young traveler, Michelle, and her robot, Skip, as they head west to the Pacific coast through an alternative America torn apart by civil war and the trappings of military-grade virtual reality.

With Amazon purchasing rights to Tales from the Loop, knowledge of your work has gone more mainstream.

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