Andreas Ervik, graphics artist

When asked if the mountainous landscape of his native Norway influences his art, 24-year-old graphics artist Andreas Ervik suggests it’s actually the opposite: Growing up in Aalesund, a small city of about 40,000 inhabitants, he says, Norway’s cold, dark climate is what kept him indoors playing on his computer, surfing the net, and perfecting his craft — a mix of distorted prints and digital collages in which geological representations form an overarching motif. In fact, the internet has played such an integral role in the development of his aesthetic that Ervik admits he’s developed carpal tunnel syndrome in his wrists. Like a true millennial, he says, “I feel like I’m always connected. If not with hands to keyboard or touchscreen, I’m there online in spirit.”

Still, pain and inflammation haven’t deterred Ervik — who studies aesthetic philosophy at a university in Oslo — from 12-hour days spent typing art critiques, tunneling through design blogs, designing his own digital illustrations, and curating an ongoing webart exhibit called Google Skills, for which he manipulates Google Images with satiric dexterity. (A sample jpeg: Justin Bieber, with his signature side-swept coif growing in wisps across his entire face). Ervik discovered his knack for graphic arts as a teenager after attempting to make an album cover for a compilation of his noise collages — ambient electronic sound recordings of chirping birds and running water with titles like Lethargic Day and Peyote, which he describes as “melodic, experimental song-like stuff. I tried doing some visual stuff to accompany the sounds, but I didn’t know how to make anything interesting until I tried digital drawings.” The resulting drawings, with their drippy typography and distorted nature scenes, seem to go hand-in-hand with the psychedelic ambience of his anomalous recordings. “The correlation between my music and collages has more to do with the way I work: When making a visual piece, and when working with sound I attempt to capture a composition that already exists in the real world.”

For Ervik, those compositions tend to nearly always be of geological origin. “When I started making collages, I Googled microscopy and mineral images for inspiration,” he says, and those obsessions are obvious in works like “Meta Material,” a digital illustration in which a marbleized pattern covers both the hovering stone at its center and the composition’s background. Nature’s influence becomes even more apparent when Ervik is probed about the purple/pink/turquoise color scheme ubiquitous throughout his creations. “The colors I choose are all very warm, tropical, fun— very different from Norway’s climate. Yet these shades are also the same colors that light up the sky during the Northern Lights. If you’ve ever seen the Northern Lights, you know how beautiful these colors can be.”

Although collage has been Ervik’s primary medium, he is excited to explore new venues. “There’s something about the flatness of collages that I both love and hate,” he says.  “Sometimes I dig the two-dimensional aspect and sometimes I really want to break free from that.” He’s been molding objects in concrete; exploring new shapes and textures, and giving spray paint a go. “I started doing more tangible pieces as a way of kind of materializing some of my ideas. But I definitely still prefer digital work. It’s more fluid.”

First thing you ever made:
“When I was 5 years old, I made a graphic novel about a character who was part ostrich, part octopus (which made sense as a pun in Norwegian, where Octopus is blekksprut and ostrich is struts – combining them made blekkstruts). He was a painter.”

Most inspiring place you’ve ever been to:
“Sometimes when I’m crazy tired and all I want to do is sleep, I start slipping into sleep, but instead it feels like I’m entering another dimension. It’s kind of creepy.”

A sample recent to-do list:
-Read Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle
-Surf the web looking for smooth digitalness
-Find recordings of marine animals
-Finish the big cat for print
-Buy flowers for girlfriend
-Make hummus
-Finish the cover for Skyway
-Remember to meditate & chill out
-Get some solarium time
-Get a haircut

If you had an unlimited budget for a single piece, what would you make?
“I’d make a replica of the inside of the spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I really like the clean white surfaces, with its screens and interfaces and shining displays and buttons. Then I’d cover all of it with loads of greenery: plants, lichen, fungi, moss. A living room as an actual living breathing space, merging technology and nature.”