Artist talk: Simon Appel
Simon is a Stockholm-based Swedish artist and director working with animation and print. Simon’s bold graphic style of simple shapes is full of vivid energy and striking colours. His art is contemporary but timeless, and as an artist, he’s working with colour blocks and powerful contrasts that quickly make his art recognisable statement pieces.
Welcome to Postery! How are you?
Thank you! I’m all good here, currently enjoying the tropical heat of Stockholm.
What’s your artistic background?
I studied graphic design back in school and started working at a local print shop where I would do book layouts etc., pretty boring stuff, but I learned the technical aspects of printing, so when I later moved to Stockholm, I took another job at a print shop. This one is anchored in the music industry, focusing on screen-printed merchandise for artists. This is where I completely fell in love with the analogue feel of screen prints – the irregularity and uniqueness of every print reminded me of the analogue recording process in music, using tape recorders instead of digital workflows. So at the weekends that followed, I would print posters for my band and others in our circle of friends, and from there, it grew into something I would do daily. Today I’m working as a designer and director of animation, and regardless of doing 3d or printed artworks, I always try to add that irregularity and analogue vibe to my work.
How did you get passionate about art?
Over the years, it has been a process where you pick up cherries along the way. But it exploded during my time in LA while working at an animation studio called Buck. I was completely showered with inspiration from the people I met there, discovering artists like Ikko Tanaka, Anni Albers and Charley Harper. I specifically remember how the latter talked about straights and curves and how you can simplify everything to its essence. So naturally, this made a big impression on me.
Tell us a little bit about your latest collection.
It’s a collection full of colour and vivid energy, something to light up a room. With patterns of flowers and tears combined with the clean aesthetics of Korean lettering, it can brighten up both large and small spaces.
"The most important thing for me is to remember to work quick & dirty and not get stuck in detail."
What’s most important to you in the creative process?
The most important thing for me is to remember to work quick & dirty and not get stuck in detail. I find it helpful to set a deadline or a date for an exhibition opening. Having some sort of outside pressure is a great way to force yourself to finish a piece.
Does your residential place have an impact on your art?
I think so. The area around Vitabergsparken is full of creative people. I like, for example, Arranging things that make you love the stuff you didn’t know you loved. Another thing is the many vintage stores where I hunt for old design books. So far, my best buy is one called ’Japan Design’ featuring interviews with designers like Masaki Morita, which doesn’t exist online.
What do you like doing when you are not creating?
I like swimming with my daughter Silke, taking our Persian cat Roy for a walk or going to the theatres with my spouse Emelie.
What do you love other than art?
Collecting analogue synthesizers and locating tiny vegan restaurants in huge cities.
What do you dream of?
Except buying a house for mama, to build a creative spot in Stockholm where people can do music, art, and fashion under one roof. A place where you can be loud and messy and have openings, gigs and parties.
Name one thing you can’t do without while creating?
A Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V10 Grip Pen and listening to Mount Kimbie.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m working on a new collection of techno-inspired prints with futuristic shapes and bright neon colours for the more adventurous friends out there. Stay tuned :)
Thank you, Simon!