Finnish artist Kim Simonsson stumbled upon sculpting while playing in the snow as a young child. While his peers were creating standard snowmen, he was crafting a model of Donald Duck. Since this unexpected epiphany, Simonsson has sculpted a range of fascinating figures, including his enchanting collection of Moss People.
This spellbinding series features life-sized sculptures of children that appear to be molded out of vibrant and verdant moss. Inspired by Nordic fairytales and folklore, the mysterious figures beautifully convey a sense of childlike wonder with a dark and disconcerting twist.
Much like his love of sculpting, Simonsson encountered this striking texture by accident. As a result of a medium mix-up, he discovered that a concoction of certain nylon fibers produce a plant-like surface decoration. When he combines this experimental approach with the classically-inspired forms of his ceramic sculptures, he “gives the material a soul.”
We recently spoke to Simonsson about this enchanting series. Read our interview below to find out more about the inspiration and techniques behind Moss People.
You have been sculpting since you were a child. How has your artistic approach evolved over time?
I wanted to be a painter originally but then by mistake I started to study ceramics. When I was painting I painted figurative paintings and did some comics, so that I continued in my ceramics work. I have always done narrative work. I guess my presentation has gotten stronger with time and practice.
What inspired your series, Moss People?
I came by this surface decoration technique called flocking. Then again by chance I combined neon yellow flock with black background color and suddenly I got this surface that looked like moss. I soon realized the potential of this as a storytelling factor, as I was making these fairytale creatures. And I live in the forest so they where connected with my surroundings.
What is the process behind these pieces?
They are hand-built with stoneware clay. Then the sculptures are fired to 1,200 degrees Celsius and painted and then flocked with nylon fiber.
How are these sculptures different from your other work?
They are more expressive and classical than my earlier work. My earlier sculptures were more like Pop Art.
If you had to pick one, which sculpture in the series would you call your favorite?
I think I most like the first “moss” sculpture with a boombox on his back. He is standing on a bridge, wondering what to do.
What challenges has this series presented?
They have been quite popular so it has taken most of my time to make them.
Do you have any upcoming projects planned?
I have a few solo shows lined up and then I am working on a public sculpture project in Finland. That will be a 4 meter bronze sculpture.