“The process of drawing,” says Swedish illustrator Kilian Eng, “makes it impossible for me to not create a story along the way.”
Eng illustrates scenes that seem vaguely familiar—a movie whose title you can’t recall, or a story you read as a child, maybe. Space shuttles land in day-glo jungles. Billowing neon ghosts chase children across Aztec ruins. Robots mingle outside an apartment where a human sits reading a comic book. But while Eng does pay tribute to sci-fi tropes like Dune, or the work of comic artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), he usually draws scenes pulled entirely from his imagination.
“Alternative worlds [can] become visible just by opening a kitchen drawer or listening to the sound of cars on the street,” he explains. The 29-year old, who lives in Stockholm, works mainly on the computer, moving between illustration and animation (he’s also a musician). He says that video was a natural outlet for his narrative style, and a new monograph called Object 5 collects his still works, which have appropriately mysterious titles like At The Edge Of The Jungle, Mystery Prayer, and The Statue.
“If you draw a character, an alien, a human, or a robot (I like to think robots have feelings too),” Eng writes over email, “it’s always nice to think about that character’s background, values and dreams. In that sense, I guess there is a story in every image, even if it doesn’t have a discernible beginning or end.”