Nostalgia is a Slippery Slope – Retrogeist Talks With Artist STEELBERG
Wanna see Marty Mcfly popping up in Top Gun and Stranger Things? Get some 80s and 90s VHS covers for new TV shows and movies? Or maybe check some retro styled Genesis box art for modern games? Well folks, in that case, STEELBERG is your destination. On his Instagram page, we get all the above and more, funny, creative creations, celebrating our favorite decades.
Who is the man / woman / cat behind @iamsteelberg?
Haha, cat? I wish! Just a regular dude trying to throw some art out there in this crazy world and hopefully connect with like minded folks.
What is nostalgia for you?
Hmmm. Nostalgia is a slippery slope. Looking too far back and you’ll stop looking ahead and that’s a problem. There’s a lot of new stuff coming out that is pretty awesome. That’s probably why Steelberg is all about something modern made up to look like it is from a previous time. The old and the new, the juxtaposition. I love that.
What are your top 3 creations and why?
Ghostbuster Proton Pack, Ripley’s watch from Alien, Stranger Things VHS. These all changed my life in their own way.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Kind of just whatever comes to mind really. I get an idea, and just want to see what it would look like for my own amusement. To see how close I can get to making it look as real as possible. I try not to be topical. Plenty of other accounts are doing that just fine. Just want to keep it fun and light. This account is supposed to be a break from the serious more demanding parts of my life. I hope that it can be that for other people too. An escape.
You make a lot of VHS covers for new tv shows and movies. Which of these shows or films do you think could have actually been better as an 80s / 90s version?
Well, probably most of them, haha. Most movies these days are just too long for the sake of being long. I come from a time when movies were 90min, tops. Don’t waste my time, haha. The 80s and 90s films were a lot more simple with their delivery I feel as well. Clearer. A lot more risk taking too. Original stuff. Letting directors be directors. It’s all been said. I think our job as creators now is to deliver content in the same spirit as those films we are looking at for inspirado. Yes, audiences today are smarter but I think smarter is the wrong word. I think it’s just people’s attention spans that got shorter with all the content available now on demand at any time. I really think that the success of Stranger Things isn’t only the “nostalgia” aspect of it. You take that all away and you’ve got an awesome murder mystery narrative still. What happened to Will Byers?! And that’s what it always comes down to: character and story. That’s it.
What are your favorite brand designs / logos from the 80s / 90s?
I mean, both decades were a mega explosion of pop culture. VHS designs for sure and Skateboarding/Surfing/Beach culture brands I always gravitated to and still do today 🙂
How do you explain the surging popularity of the 80s / 90s?
It’s always the way. Each generation looks back and pulls from the generation 20 years prior. In the 90s it was all baggy flared jeans and shaggy hair. Very much a throwback to the 70’s, which was about 20 years prior. But really, I think that it’s because anyone who was a kid in the 80s and 90s is an adult now in their 30’s and 40’s and wants to create content that comes from a simpler time in their lives. It makes sense. It has to be done in the right way though. Most of this 80’s and 90’s “throwback” stuff is just junk. Remakes, reboots and pointless sequels. Insulting in a way to all of us who actually were there. I mean, I rode my bike to see Willow in the theater when I was a kid with my pals. I was there, dammit! I remember, haha!
80s or 90s?
I was alive through both decades but If I’m really being honest, my teenage formative years were in the 90’s, high school. Grunge, gangsta rap, skateboarding, Saved by the Bell after school, all that stuff. I dig all decades though. I love how they all have an identity. Although I’m not even sure what the last decade was all about or even how to categorize it. A decade of Social media and the internet, really. I’d hate to think that’s it and we now just live in a Nostalgia driven culture without any NEW ideas, ya know? Maybe this new decade will get back on track. I’m hopeful.
Vaporwave or Outrun?
I guess Outrun is the music inspired by the 80’s and Vaporwave is the artwork. I’m not really sure. When I was a kid Outrun was a sick arcade game that you sat in a red Ferrari to play for a quarter. You drove super fast with a blonde babe sitting next to you going nowhere in particular while jammin’ awesome tunes. So innocent. Now video games are just interactive movies with bad language. Where’s the fun?! Geez!
STEELBERG is also on Redbubble, with some very cool shirts!