Karl-Joel Larsson

 Karl-Joel Larsson is an artist based in Gothenburg, Sweden making super playful, versatile work right now. For the last few years he’s been painting, building, designing and drawing his way through a Bachelor of Fine Art and design at HDK. He’s also one half of the part-time multidisciplinary Studio Sipsi, which he directs with his school mate Nils Bengtsson. And when he’s not drawing or designing, Karl kicks back in his home studio to tend to his growing plant collection. We think we just heard the words ‘dreamboat’ whisper on in the wind…

 

Inspired by art rooted in the depiction of everyday items, Karl makes work that are like softly-coloured still lives, modern and clean in their aesthetic. He makes a lot of drawings about his plants, and after acquiring a bit of a green thumb his home studio seems to offer plenty of inspiration. His frond-y friends were even star subjects for his first solo exhibition, ‘Plant Related Paintings’ a couple of years back. “Whenever i don’t know what to paint, I paint a Matisse,” states Karl on his website. Some of our favourite works of his are directly inspired by greats - Henri Matisse, Jean (Hans) Arp, Frida Kahlo, Ellsworth Kelly and Pablo Picasso. His zine ‘Under the Influence (of Matisse and Arp)’ looks like a serious art catalogue, but consists of quick, flippant thoughts on the works of Matisse and Hans Arp from design students. Stellar quotes and observations on works such as “a cross-eyed shrimp that’s stuck in a nutcracker” or “a malformed pelican or a contemplating duck” have us scrambling for a copy.

 

In his work with Studio Sipsi, Karl and Nils constantly challenge themselves by working in various disciplines and with different materials, pushing the boundaries of art and design; from 2D to 3D, print to industrial design. The Bibblan shelf is our favourite by Sipsi, a tool and physical platform which gives the user the power to claim and create their own space. Made of just wood, steel and rope it’s unlike any other shelving system we’ve ever seen before. They’ve compared it to a library, where the objects are not borrowed and are your own, and the use is up to the user. Bibblan was also installed as part of the Gothenburg Book Fair last September. Best library shelves we’ve ever seen. Top knotch.

See more from Karl-Joel Larsson on his website, blog and Instagram.

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