Giant mechanical men lumber through a winter forest while War machines watch over farmland. Jakub Rozalski’s artwork is a study in contrasts: the past blended with the future. His images of an alternative, steampunk Europe are amazing works of art.
The above image is titled January 1863, commemorating the Polish January uprising against the Russian Empire. You can see a series of images that show how it came together here.
Rozalski spent his childhood drawing, doodling knights and dragons and everything else in between with crayons. Now, he works with a tablet, putting the natural and the fantastic together into his art.
Through my work, I try to combine classical painting style, modern design and interesting concepts. For me the most important thing in my work is to always create a unique atmosphere via telling some kind of story, showing everyday situations in an unusual environment.
Chiefly inspired by history and nature, he counts nineteenth century realist artists such as Józef Marian Chełmoński, Aleksander Gierymski and Ivan Shishkin as role models for his work.
His work has appeared in a number of venues, most recently a table top roleplaying gamed called Scythe, which was an incredible success on Kickstarter late last year.
Rozalski noted that he enjoyed putting together the juxtaposition of old and new, all within a traditional realist mode:
I like strong contrasts, and romantic heroes fighting alone with windmills. I think it’s also because of the interest in the history and ancient myths, where such a situations we meet quite often. I try [combining] this, in my own alternative way, with everyday situations and normal people, living their own affairs. It is hard to say, my working process is full of spontaneous ideas & ideas.
Here’s a selection of his work:
See more of his fantastic artwork here.
h/t Chris Fry