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Infectiously Charming: Illustrations by Mats Olsson

An illustration of a man laying on his back and looking at the skyOrganization of the Visible Universe, drawing

Mats Olsson, is an artist and illustrator based in Santa Clara California. Working in printmaking, drawing, and watercolor, Mats creates infectiously charming figurative works. Mats’ line art is detailed, walking a line between scientifically realistic and lightly stylized for emotional impact.


A block print of a man standing in tall grass and wildflowersA Hummingbird, block print


I’m especially impressed by Mats’ drawings and block prints. These works, mostly devoid of color, feature male figures that look a lot like the artist himself – though it’s uncertain, it seems equally likely that these are self-portraits, or drawings of an original character. I like to think they could be both, as if we’re seeing the artist looking at himself through a creative, slightly comedic lens.

A screen capture of Mats Olsson's art websiteThe front page of Mats' portfolio website


Also available on Mats’ portfolio website are the artist’s watercolors, which pack an impressive amount of detail into each image. In these works, the artist seems to play with different styles, combining figurative still-life and life drawing techniques with surreal scenes or geometric abstraction. Saturated colors and a sensitive touch where lighting is concerned help bring these images to life. 


A watercolor painting of a man gazing down from a rooftop at  a blue birdFable With Blue Bird, watercolor

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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