Hopefully, you’ve read enough to realize that TRT isn’t exactly a “Breaking News” type stuff (but I would give anything for Anderson Cooper’s magnetic energy). So even though Tales from the Loop came out over a year ago, I’m talking about it now. Why? BECAUSE IT’S MAGICAL AND I’M IN CHARGE HERE. Sorry to yell. I’m just really excited.
First off, this concept started in the early 2010s when artist, author, and keeper of my soul Simon Stålenhag began posting his paintings online. People got HOOKED (it’s me. I’m people). You’ll notice right off that bat, there’s a futuristic/sci-fi element happening, plus dinosaurs. Because, sure why not?
But the most compelling aspect of these paintings is something way closer to home. It’s a child-like wonder of the absolute mundane. Because in Simon’s world, robots and dinosaurs and ruins of a giant particle accelerator ARE MUNDANE.
Personally, (YES I GET TO TALK ABOUT ME GET YOUR OWN BLOG IF YOU’RE SO ANGRY ABOUT IT) these paintings bring me back to my childhood spending summer and winter holidays with my grandparents in Ohio. I know, I know. Ohio. It’s not exactly Sweden (where the paintings are actually set). It’s more like hell, but with cows.
In Ohio, everything is sprawling and huge and flat. If you’re in a bad mood, it’s boring. If you’re in a good mood, it can be kind of pretty. But if you’re a kid, it’s wonderful.
Now, I seriously doubt the love of my life Simon Stålenhag has been to Ohio, much less crafted his paintings around it, but that’s the magic of his art. Even though the memory is specific, the emotion is universal. It’s hard to look at these and not feel nostalgic for your own childhood. Even though I’m sure none of us grew up with whom robots, airships, and dinosaurs (and if you did, can we please be best friends).
Anywho, according to a Guardian article from April 2020, people saw these paintings and started writing their own stories about them. But dreamy-eyes Simon was like NO WHAT THE FUCK YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG STOP. Then he wrote his own book. Just because he was sick of other people fucking it up. God I love this man.
BTW he probably didn’t loathe these stories but he did have a problem with them – as he explained in the Guardian article. “…They were too far out, too dystopian,” he says. “The difference between dystopia and futurism, for me, is that there is hot chocolate waiting for you at home in my world.”
Sometimes, there’s a piece of art that forces your brain to skip right past “what do you see” and dive deep into “how do you feel?” Tales of the Loop is one such piece of art. So enjoy it!
Sources (so you know we aren’t lying to you)