After binging Tiger King, you might be questioning what planet we are living on. Now that you’ve recovered from that experience, get ready to be transported to another alternate reality with the new Amazon series Tales From the Loop.
This show is unique because it is adapted from paintings in Simon Stålenhag’s narrative art book — also titled Tales From the Loop. Stålenhag is a Swedish painter whose deeply haunting and imaginative works depict robots, machines, and futuristic creatures set against rural Swedish landscapes.
In Tales From the Loop, people interact with a science fiction world as stories about finding connection and other universal human experiences unfold. Both the paintings and the TV series are a collision of futuristic technology and humanity, non-linear timelines, and 1980s nostalgia. It’s as if Tales From the Loop hails from the same family tree as Stranger Things, The Twilight Zone, and Black Mirror.
Earlier in his career, Stålenhag made his low-key apocalyptic sci-fi artwork available online. He started selling prints on Redbubble and created a kick-starter campaign to pull his works into two narrative art books: Tales From the Loop (2014) and Things From the Flood (2016), which inspired the Amazon series adaptation.
More recently he crowdfunded a role-playing board game entitled Tales From the Loop where fans try to survive above the underground particle collider known as “The Loop.” He then crowdfunded and published a third artbook The Electric State (2018). There’s really no telling how far Stålenhag’s work will go — perhaps we will see Loop-themed video games and theme park rides someday… assuming time is linear.
Stålenhag’s inspiring career serves as a reminder that your ideas and your art can spiral completely out of control — in a great way. Now that we know paintings can be brought to life on the big screen, we can approach making artwork with new inspiration. It might bring new dynamics into your next piece if you dive deeper into the storytelling aspect of your characters and their environments. Or maybe you already have a series of pieces with a common throughline that you can build a larger narrative around.
If you love Stålenhag’s retro-futuristic suburbia dystopia vibes as much as we do, order your prints on Redbubble now. After this series airs, getting your hands on his work might be as difficult as finding toilet paper in a pandemic. In the meantime, enjoy getting lost in a world of your own imagining. The possibilities are truly limitless.