Welcome to the dichotomous digital realm of Josefin Jonsson, a.k.a. Pastelae. As her sobriquet suggests, Jonsson has a love of pastels, which she pairs in her CG stills and GIFs with the surreal, erotic, grotesque, and humorous — and oftentimes all at once. “It’s my own cyber pastel dream world,” Jonsson tells The Creators Project. “If you try to go deep it would be about the revenge of the outsider — this magical place where all the lovely freaks live, a metaphor for the internet and its digital natives. But mostly my art is about things I love: sunset skies, my boyfriend’s face, new technology. Just regular girl stuff.”
Jonsson comes from an artistic family in northern Sweden, so she always knew she wanted to be an artist. This, paired with an early interest in computers, the internet and gaming, led her to begin making digital art in the late 90s. Jonsson says that growing up in Norrland during this decade created the perfect mix of Sweden’s early interest in personal computers and file sharing with the sense of physical isolation and beautiful loneliness associated with the area's rural woodlands. It was this environment that made a “young middle class girl” carry heavy CRT monitors to LAN parties, where gaming and illegal copying of music and movies went down into the dawn.
Before making 3D art, Jonsson made a lot of art using her phone and other devices, often on the sculpting app 123D Sculpt+, “123D Sculpt+ got me realizing the infinite creative space of the 3D format and I started experimenting with different software and watched a lot of tutorials,” she explains. “I soon started animating my scenes and found that short loops and GIFs is just such a great format for an internet audience.”
While Jonsson is inspired by a lot of the current 3D art seen on the internet, including vaporwave, much of Jonsson’s influences come from gaming. In one piece, Jonsson creates a very pink and feminine beast full of hair, sharp teeth, and enormous eyes, ears, and hands. In others, she explores—in pastel—what alien fashion might look like, or what an alien might look like if it was performing a striptease.
Jonsson’s pastel palette, meanwhile, started around 2009 after she went through different monochromatic periods. As her interest in 3D graphics grew, she realized that the pastel aesthetic ideal was shared by a lot of digital artists today, so she saw herself reflected in the online community. But while the pastel palette is ever present, Jonsson’s subject matter is as varied as it gets.
To make her 3D stills and GIFs, Jonsson uses Daz3D, Cinema 4D, and Marvelous Designer. What she likes about these and other pieces of software is that you can learn them by watching tutorials. “It's like drawing or painting, you just pick up a tool and work with it, there is no way around it,” Jonsson says. “Some traditional artists seem to believe that there is a magic computer button that makes digital art for you; they feel like you are cheating somehow, but the computer is just a tool and 3D art is one of the hardest things I have learned.”
“I really would love to have an instant art making device, though, maybe someone wants to collaborate with me and make an app or something for that.”
Click here to see more of Josefin Jonsson’s work.