Standing straight and tall

By Jakob Skovgaard Villien

The community can come up with a million ideas, it seems, when asked. When amazing artist Banshee asked painters and sculptors to create versions of his brilliant anonymous bust, I must admit I was skeptical. I was put to shame, for sure, as his competition unfolded. The brilliance of the clown looking into the mirror was a memorable moment for me, as I was in awe of how much thought and emotion could be put into miniature creation, and each new version coming out was a brilliant idea. I remember stating that he should make a book of all ideas, and I still think that would be very interesting. When Mads and I decided to create Nordlys we had a few pillars to build upon. I think inspired heavily by this event by Banshee. One, being that we would do a version of every model as box art, and another as BizArt (a secondary version with anything allowed). The pillar of free play. Of creation. Of bringing out characters. Please note, if you feel like painting the Viking as a Viking, it totally makes sense, and you should. I feel like painting him like a Viking too – and probably will soon. But for myself I think I often had thoughts about doing something else with a model (pre-Nordlys), but felt oddly restricted by the model, the box art, my perception of conversion skills or of what the sculptor or community might think about it. By creating secondary versions, it is our hopes that people who feel like doing something different feel that they can. Yes, at Nordlys we invite you to play and create. But you don’t have to, if you don’t want to. You can also just paint. Like knitting. Or to hone your brushstroke. Or practice skin. Or tartan weave.

Bjørn is sculpted by Magnus Fagerberg as a peaceful and strong Viking. But Ben Komets created something entirely different: A hippie. Yet they both look so natural. It looks as if both could be the Box Art and the other the Biz Art.

The three versions

Let me write a few words about the three versions: Box Art by Magnus, BizArt A by Ben and BizArt B by me. What unifies them? I am not sure. At first sight, not much, maybe. But all three versions have the same pride in the posture. The same gaze. Bob Dylan wrote: ‘True love can make a blade of grass stand up straight and tall’. This sentence popped in my mind when I was going to write the inlay writing, although it didn’t make the end cut, it is still that one sentence I think about when I see him. I also wrote this: ‘What do you believe is worth standing up for?’. I thought it was a good unifying sentence. Anyone seeing Magnus’ Viking should see this. Calm, proud, insisting on what he finds is worth fighting for. With Bens hippie this is very much true too. A veteran of whatever war, the tables have turned, and he is now fighting for peace. For The Dude, well, he is very much the nihilistic anti-hero we have come to love, and ‘the man in me’ by Bob Dylan is oddly contrasting to his character. What makes a man a man, Mr. Lebowski asks the Dude. A pair of testicles is Dude’s answer. But I would say all three men portrays a different type of man. But all three resting in who they are in that given moment. And that is pretty much whatever we can hope for in life. Whether ready for battle, or a returning survivor from battle or a dude simply breezing through life dodging any battle if possible.

Magnus’ Bjørn: Magnus painted a gorgeous Viking. The light is divine. The facial expression captures him perfectly. Tattoos are amazing. The painting is powerful, strong and perfectly bringing the sculpt to life. Bjørn as a painted model is everything I had hoped for. The paintjob is also very subtle. Very much in Magnus’ style, to paint in such a desaturated palette, but this is particularly soft and peaceful. Fits the character so well. Thank you Magnus. Nordlys loves you <3!

Ben’s hippie: A hippie with such attention to detail that I am just astounded. Ben’s version is Bjørn being a retired warrior, still fighting for what he believes in, but the purpose changed along the way. To go with this Ben created such an incredible set of conversions ranging from the water pouch, the flower in the hair, sunglasses, armband, necklace and protestors sign etc. I must admit I feel in awe at this, and blatantly admit that I could never pull off such extensive detailing. I have yet to personally see the model in the flesh, but I am so looking forward to it. Brilliant work! Thank you Ben for your amazing version. The pinnacle of BizArt™.

Jakob’s ‘The Dude’: Well if you haven’t followed this on facebook, I did not choose to paint Bjørn as the Dude: All our fantastic followers who voted in our online competition did. What we did was put on a much-too-complicated online competition with the following rules: Everyone posted suggestions of what Bjørn might be converted as. One winner would be picked all the Nordlys ‘staff’ (ahem) and one would be picked by facebook followers for me to paint during Dogma 48 (a paint-along session in Denmark). A whopping 29 suggestions came in (just, wow) and in the lead up until two hours before Dogma was to begin was ‘neighbour loser watering garden’, ‘sunkissed surfer’ and ‘the Dude’. The Dude won and being a fan of the movie, I wasn’t exactly upset about this. But I was a bit afraid. Could the model be turned into the Dude? Well, I did my best. And put the conversion skills to the test with this one, and I am okay happy with how he turned out. I feel very much like picking up another version. But all in due time. The Dude abides.

Bursting with Ideas

 would like to bring the almost complete list of suggestions for conversion by the users (doubles deleted), as a final homage to the brilliant creativity of our community. I loved all your wonderful ideas. And hope someone (if not myself) will bring them to life. Thank you everyone for playing.

Mordheim flagellant
Mountain climber
Post-apocalyptic warrior
Star wars Sith / young obi wan
Jesus resurrected.
Old fisherman.
CEO LARP’ing on the weekends
Cowboy with rifle.
The dude – big lebowski
Garden watering loser neighbour
Once-a-playboy at club
Diskworld inspired guy with broken spear
Drunk dude at concert
Tribal hunter
Sun-kissed surfer.
Hipster with cane at poolparty
Old heavy metal dude.
Viking banner bearer
Faun, warden of the woods.
US marine gone rogue (apocalypse now)
Hunter with bow.
Native american