FANTAST IN FOCUS: OSKA
Oska is an illustrator and graphic designer from Montreal, Canada. His futuristic artworks, which feature both atmospheric megastructures and contemplative portrait-like miniatures, are frequently shared on Tumblr and Reddit and have been featured in a number of different places, such as Booooooom and My Modern Met. After seeing his pensive piece “Illusion”, we caught up with him for an interview.
The Custodian: What does “Oska” stand for? Is it a nod to your interest in Japanese animation and design?
Oska: It’s true that I am inspired by Japanese animation and art so I could say that it’s the reason, but in reality it just came to my mind randomly [laughs]! After doing some research about the name though, I found that Oska is also a Nordic name and that among many other things, it has been used to describe someone who lives within their own thoughts. Although I doubt any of this is in any way linked to the name, I find it interesting since one of my main sources of inspiration is the mind/imagination.
C: How would you define the heroic impulse as illustrated in your “Mind’s Eye” series?
O: I wanted to illustrate that within our mind everything is possible. You can create your own worlds, rules, stories, adventures, etc. On the outside, all seven billion of us look pretty much the same (hence why I made the primary figures faceless and genderless), but inside we all have a different mind/imagination that defines us individually. I can’t talk for everyone, but for me this is pretty mind blowing [laughs]! I was also inspired by the saying ”You are the hero of your own story” by Joseph Campbell, and Mind’s Eye was my way of illustrating that.
C: It seems like you have a particular affinity for modernist architecture. Were there any real-life buildings that inspired you?
O: I love modern architecture, I wish I knew more about it, but I just find that the minimalist shapes yet complex construction of those buildings is incredibly inspiring. I don’t even think I can accurately explain why I love it so much, but I do [laugh]. I wouldn’t say that they are any buildings in particular, but if I had to choose one, I would say Habitat 67 in Montréal. Love the minimalist and somewhat out of this world feel to it.
C: When did you start getting commissions for album covers?
O: I’d say a few months after I started Oska. I actually wasn’t expecting it at that time and had to learn a lot of material on the spot, which was a good way to learn quick! I also consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a lot of incredibly talented producers right in my first few years (Oska has been going on for almost three years now).
C: Do you see yourself stepping into the video game industry and applying your world-building superpowers to the field of concept design?
O: I would love to try for sure! At the moment I am concentrating on ‘perfecting’ my own style, but if I get the opportunity I would definitely do it.
C: What are you working on now?
O: I have a few projects in the making actually. Aside from a lot of work for some more incredible musicians, I am also working on a second three-piece series from Mind’s Eye and another three-piece series in black and white inspired by Japanese animation that I am extremely excited about.