I’ve been looking at artists who produce a lot of dense, intricate works lately, and felt it was time for a change. So today we’re taking a gander at the rather more modernistic art of Mattias Snygg. Snygg spends much of his time working in the worlds of video games and films, both producing illustrations and as artistic director, as well as working on more personal artworks. As one might expect from this, his portfolio showcases a generous melange of styles, from the chunky strokes and ill-defined outlines of his more painterly pieces, to the vibrant sci-fi/fantasy pulp of others. Included are landscapes, portraiture, creature design, and still lifes, all executed with aplomb.
This sort of thing is perhaps typical of a concept artist working today, their portfolio a combination of what might broadly be termed ‘work’ and ‘leisure’; that is, pieces produced for projects, for clients, and pieces done in the artist’s own time, to bulk out the portfolio and show off more range. Such an artist is expected to be able to pull off a number of styles, on almost any subject, at will, and it is this chameleonic nature that is most impressive of this all-too-often overlooked genre of artist. An artist working only for themselves can (and often does) find a niche for themselves and relegate themselves to producing variations on a theme for the rest of their lives; the ‘working artist’, much less so. By necessity they must be versatile, highly skilled, and expansive of creativity.
Snygg most certainly fits the bill. Even his most pedestrian works – a painting of a chicken, for example – are awash with life and movement, the whole setting evoked in just a few broad sweeps of the brush. His battlecruisers blaze across galaxies teeming with mystery and populated with entirely alien beasts, and his eldritch horrors are, well, suitably eldritch. The viewer is almost overwhelmed by the variety on offer, kid in a candy shop style, and yet, despite this veritable mixed bag, there is a distinct feeling of Snygg-ness over the whole thing. Whether painting crow-headed businessmen, euphoric nudes, anthropomorphic space hedgehogs, or merely a pig sniffing the ground, in whatever style it may be, Snygg manages to imbue it with his signature, so that there is most definitely a coherence and we can be sure we are looking at the collected works of one artist with a singular – if impressively broad – vision.