Travel advertising has—since the golden age of early railway and transatlantic travel posters—long succeeded in making communication an art form. Wanderlust was combined with graphic innovation to ignite imaginations and inspire voyages. It is in this vintage spirit that Bo Lundberg masterfully crafts his retro travel prints, taking his cue from the aesthetics of the 60s and 70s.
We visited him in his hometown of Stockholm, where he told us about his creative process and how he likes to imagine himself as a designer in the 60s commissioned to create travel adverts. From his childhood to the present day, Bo’s story is one of an artist who is passionate about the legacy of retro Scandinavian design.
Travel is a theme that has a strong impact on your art. What is it about these destinations that inspires you?
I was an escapist even as a kid. When I was around six years old, I was determined that I would move to London once I was old enough. And I had already decided that I would always wear a white dinner jacket and bow tie. But that goes without saying.
I haven’t visited many of the places I draw and that’s part of the fun—like I said, I’m an escapist. But of the places I actually have visited, New York stands out. I feel at home there—New York makes me calm and happy in a way that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. I love Italy as well, but then who doesn't?
How does Scandinavian design influence your aesthetics?
It’s really difficult for me to say since I’m right in the thick of it, so to speak. But I’m really attracted to everything that has a refined simplicity. Perhaps my bold colours are not that typical of Scandinavian design—I always try to hold back when it comes to colours since I, for some reason, think muted palettes are more refined. But I always end up with strong colours. I mean, the colours are already there, so why not use them?
Circles are a recurring motif in your work. Tell us about your fascination with geometry.
I’ve never deeply analysed this, but I guess you’re right. I think it all comes down to reduction again—I never get tired of the basic shapes. It’s very easy to create strong graphics and archetypal shapes if you reduce everything to a bare minimum. But I always try to mix it up with some more free-floating shapes to make the images a bit more interesting.
What are your plans for the year to come? Anything exciting on the horizon you’d like to share?
I like to live in the here and now, so I don’t even know what I’ll have for dinner. But with any luck, I will be able to travel, do some downhill skiing, and focus even more on personal projects. I was involved in a very interesting collaboration between JUNIQE and Jaguar about a year ago, in which seven artists from Germany, the UK and I—the Swede—were invited to do our own interpretation of the Jaguar brand. It was so much fun to meet the other artists and we still keep in touch. I hope that we will be able to meet up somewhere next year.
Text: Diane Mironesco