Pacific Northwest based artist Nicole Gustafsson, who also goes by “Nimasprout”, has had a lifelong interest in the natural world that continues to be a theme in her artwork. Her colorful gouache and ink illustrations and drawings depict fantastical floating landscapes, dotted with tiny trees, figures, and sparkling rock formations. At her website, she explains that her work explores ideas about adventure and discovery in these imaginative environments.
Some of the first “pictures of the floating world” appear in ukiyo-e, Japanese art that featured beautiful landscapes that were transitory at the same time. These centuries old images of floating islands, surrounded by clouds, symbolized the fleeting nature of things. Though not directly inspired by ukiyo-e, Gustafsson’s floating worlds, as she often describes them, also feature fantastic universes that exist in her mind, and as such are ephemeral.
Gustafsson’s recent series titled “Celestial Spaces” illustrates other-worldy planetoids that she calls “crystal-scapes”, inspired by rocks like quartz and geodes from her own personal collection. As they float through a rainbow-colored vision of outer space, the worlds expand, explode, and “beam up” whimsical combinations of purples, peaches, blues and stark blacks.
“For Celestial Spaces, I created landform and mineral studies as a visual for the infinite possibilities our universe holds. As we voyage further in our solar system, we discover more and more surprises, and reevaluate what we thought we knew about our universe. It’s this idea of wonderment and discovery that I seek to depict in my work,” she says. “Celestial Spaces” is currently on view at Flatcolor gallery in Seattle through May 28th.