- Much turf and many thoughts not comparable...
"95% of all released pictures are copied crap", are words that easily could be said by someone else than this "pretty curious fellow", Tobias Jansson. But it's most probable that this wouldn't be the case!
By Joakim Bengtsson (Frame / C-Lous)
Introduce yourself shortly to the readers.
"I am a 20-year old, pretty curious fellow, born and bred in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. I'm christened Tobias Jansson and my so called "handle" used to be something like "Electron".
Tell us how you began your scene career and describe generally how you continue it.
"The first Amiga came into my house way back in August 1989. I suppose I was 13 years old by then. It's a bit tricky to tell exactly when one started to get interested in The Scene and scene matters as it's much a question of definition; yes, I watched some demos in early 1990 but had I become a scener because of that? Anyway, when I'd left the worst phase of "gaming" I joined a so called "user-group" called TFOAU (The Federation Of Amiga Users), which distributed Public Domain programs and one or two demos on "member disks" that were sent out to the members. I got to know the person behind TFOAU pretty well (Hi, Henrik!), and I got "permission" to start a "demo section", the main purpose of which was to set up a demo library. However, TFOAU was discontinued due to lack of members, and I and the "leader" decided to form a "real" demo group instead, called Softrev.
Why did you guys name the group Citron.? (For all those who don't know, Citron. means, exactly, Lemon. in Swedish.)
"We named our group Citron. as a kind of protest against all fruit groups. Not that we had anything against Melon Dezign or Lemon. or other clones, but it appeared that people couldn't come up with anything original when one saw, time and time again, group names constructed of the M, E, L, O, N - letters (Nemol, Nolem...), logos drawn using the same principle as the classic black and white Melon logo, etc, etc. We thought that Citron. - at least in Sweden - sounded ridiculous enough to make people understand that we wanted them to react and wake up. Maybe we succeeded, maybe we only managed to throw ourselves onto the pile of other fruits. Anyway, the whole fruit-phenomenon seems to have had it's time, and, honestly, I've actually grown a bit weary about the name; the risk of getting connected to Absolute Vodka Citron is obvious - and no good - when the fruit trend is long ago forgotten. But, on the other hand, Lemon. seems to be back..."
Why doesn't Citron. release more intros, demos etc.? Citron. has actually one of the most talented coders in Sweden, namely S.Duvan. And you are one of the best designers / graphicians in Sweden.
"The fact that we only have released Oepir Risti this far is mainly due to our having very few members and these members' being no full-time sceners. In short words, time's the only enemy. Though, perhaps with the true meaning of the word - there will be an intro for Icing '96. Thus, I wouldn't mind if we had time to release other things once in a while - as long as they would keep a decent degree of quality."
Please, tell us why Citron. only consists of 3 persons. (S.Duvan, Tobias Jansson and Slash.)
"We believe that if one wants to keep a group together for a long period of time and manage to keep up a good atmosphere it's far easier to have three members instead of 20 or 30. However, one or two more members would do no harm as things tend to go faster and sometimes also end up better when more people cooperate."
How come that your diskmagazine are that non-scene related compared to other diskmagazines? And why do you think your mag get that small support?. According to the Oepir Risti Staff, the mag gets to little support. Tell us what you think about that."
"Oepir Risti was initially meant as a small mag-like production in which Puh/Agony would publish his short stories and poems. When we decided to make a full-size magnetic publication, a disk magazine, it was natural to make it kind of alternative with Puh's literature column as one of the main sections. Thus, we've never aimed to release an ordinary scene publication; we see the disk magazine as one medium among others in which topics of just any kind can be dealt with. From the start we've had a notion not to publish much news and plain "reports" from scene events and doings as there are some - nowadays rather professional - magazines that take care of that part. If we are to publish scene articles they should preferably be articles of debate that can create opinion and cause discussion; The Scene also needs magazines that watch and criticize rather than objectively and plainly report. These kind of articles are naturally more difficult to write as they demand interesting subjects and thought trough ideas. A "scene report" or news column doesn't really need that much thought from the writer.
And finally, my last question about the Oepir Risti project, who is Alvar Andersson? The man who receives the support of Oepir Risti.
"Alvar Andersson is, belive it or not, Puh's grandfather. Alvar and his wife Svea are official letter receivers of Oepir Risti. This was organized because of two reasons. Firstly, we didn't want letters from humble supporters and benevolent subscribers to lie unguarded in one of our postboxes during the time between the postman and our coming home. Secondly, it's a matter of fact that old folk easily get a bit "rusty" if they don't have much to do or look forward to. As Alvar and Svea live next to door to Puh we thought that we'd make people send their Oepir Risti letters to their address and cheer them up a bit. And so we did. Though, Alvar does not open the envelopes so you need not start your letters with "Hi, Alvar!", if you do not extremely much want to. Anyhow, Alvar thanks all polite letter writers."
Many words and much turf about art...
"I got Deluxe Paint II as a birthday present for my 14th birthday in January 1990 and then took my first stumbling paces that very spring. It was, however, not until the beginning of 1991 I started to try more serious graphics - simultaneously with my joining the scene movement."
Tell us a bit about your favourite Amiga artists.
"Considering the high number of graphicians one might think that there should be many worth admiring, but so is not the case - at least not with me. The better part of the so called Amiga "artists" doesn't reach beyond kindergarten in choosing motives and being proud of works initially drawn by someone else. Though, there's a handful of graphicians that I deeply respect and admire - but there are actually few real artists in The Scene.
What about logos? Who are your favourite when it comes to logotypes? And which logos do you find most attractive?
"It's remarkable how few good logo drawers there are; but what can one expect when the better part of our great "artists" use grids to make the proportions in their copied pictures look at least relatively OK; have you ever seen a good-looking logo from Fairfax, Cougar, Devilstar, Peachy, Lazur, Slaine or Fiver?
And as a naturally following question, what pictures do you like most?
"As with logos, there are few really good pictures as 95% of all released pictures are copied crap. Again many of the images worth mentioning is drawn by Ra. I cannot pick out one or two of his pictures as his best; Ah, the madman in Arte, Arte herself, the small figures in Arte, the buffalo, Sa and the football player in No are all genuine pieces of art; true feeling behind the motives - behind every pixel and every colour.
How much time do you spend on a picture or a logo?
"Unfortunately, I work very, very slowly. this is chiefly due to two reasons. Firstly, I'm extremely - and probably too - careful and accurate with every pixel. Secondly, I draw very few images - because of lack of time - and have thus never gathered any great routine.
Were do you get your inspiration? As I know your opinion about people who redraw, do you redraw any of your pictures or motives?
"Redraw my pictures? Hell no! Only those who are in an imminent lack of visual intelligence copy their pictures. I would never, ever be proud of a picture copied from another artist. Of course I get INSPIRED when I see different works of art but I'm never tempted to copy them. Sometimes I feel that I want to try to paint something similar or use a similar technique - but never copy straight off!
You use scanners some time when you create pictures and logos. Don't you think that's a bit shameful as it makes the work with the mouse much easier?
"The computer is one artistic medium among many others, the scanner is one artistic tool among many others such as the pencil, the airbrush, the antialias tool in Deluxe Paint - and the mouse. Make one's work with the mouse easier? Who said everything has to be mouse drawn? What matters is that your work is original and not made by someone else. What I've scanned is some of my OWN black and white pencil sketches and then developed them further on the computer. I like drawing on paper and I am actually able to draw on paper - apart from many other graphicians - so why shouldn't I use my paperwork on the computer when I have the possibility. There's nothing shameful with this as it's merely one way of creating pictures.
What do you think of cooperation projects, like drawing a picture together with another graphician? Who would you like to cooperate with? (Do you speak French?)
"To cooperate as graphicians is a good idea as it would decrease the time one person has to put down into each picture. However, there are many degrees of cooperation, of course. I've only cooperated seriously on pictures two times, I think: The Flyggalning published in the editorial of Oepir Risti 2 (I believe) which was drawn together with my brother Henrik, and an unreleased picture that depicts a horse (or something) together with Duffe/Sardonyx. Both times I finished or "worked up" sketches by the said persons. Thus, I was more or less free to do what I wanted with the pictures. I suppose it's much more difficult to create a decent picture if two graphicians paint different parts of an image as that requires somewhat similar techniques - otherwise the picture would give a shattered impression.
What kind of pictures do you prefer or like most to draw?
"I like motives from nature; charming animals, trees and turf are funny to paint. I'm fascinated of playing around with letters of different forms and shapes and thus form harmonic logos of various kinds. I do not like straight lines very much or motives that demand mathematical calculations in any way. (However, I do like mathematics...)"
Do you admire any not scene related artists? If yes, name some of them. It would also be very interesting with an explanation why you like each artist.
"There are hundreds of supremely gifted artists that I admire and respect for various qualities. The following is a very incomplete list over some of my favourites - in no special order: Salvador Dali, MC Escher, Juan Miro, Rene Magritte, Carl Barks, Don Rosa, Rune Andreasson, Joakim Pirinen, Ilon Wikland, John Bauer, Elisabeth Ryhre, Lasse Aberg, Claude Monet, John Mac Whirter, Bruno Liljefors, Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Marcus Larsson, Boris Vallejo, Tim White, Rodney Mathews and John Howe. I guess this list is pretty uninteresting without comments, but it would take just to long to write something on each and every one..."
OK, let's end this interview with your own words, like greetings, messages etc, etc...
"I guess I'm not in the mood for throwing away any great deal of greetings and messages; I'm after all answering this interview on a sail yacht way out in the archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden; the sun is shining, the sea is glittering and the gentle wind is filling our sails. Though, to everybody stuck to redrawing I just have to say that what you're doing is incredibly boring! Read Oepir Risti, and remember that the fellow you possibly knew as "Electron" is called Tobias Jansson. All wonderful beings in this odd world can feel themselves swiftly greeted!"
Thank you very much for letting me interview and disturb you a warm summerday like this.
Please note that this interview was carried out in the summer of 1995 but that it, because of its being rather out of date, was slightly updated in January 1996 just before the release of No Sense. Thus, there might be some ambiguos statements that lingers on.
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