Finnish sculptor Kim Simonsson, recognized worldwide for his hypnotic sculptures of mystical child-like, forest-dwelling creatures, known as the Moss People, dreamt as a young child to be a famous soccer player.

Kim Simonsson’s Life Defining Decision

As a teenager, Simonsson made the decision to focus his time and energy on his art – he reasoned that it was best to change focus as the odds of achieving soccer stardom were not realistic. Yet, fame did come to Simonsson – in a whole new playing field, the art world.

By following his true passion and calling in life Simonsson achieved critical acclaim and celebrity artist status for his masterful combination of classical figurative sculpting and for the utilization of state-of-the-art artistic technologies.

Simonsson’s Artistic Path

The makings of a sculpture artist were evident during Simonsson’s childhood. While his friends were building the familiar and traditional three-tiered ball-shaped snowman, he was sculpting figures out of snow.

In spite of showing sculpting talent at a young age, Simonsson’s journey to becoming a sculptor was less than direct. As a child, he loved figurative drawing and painting, and his intention was to apply to a fine arts school to study figurative art and painting.

Having missed the art school’s application deadline, he decided to enroll in ceramic arts and glass-making classes. His initial plan was to transfer into the painting program after one year of taking the other art courses. Within that first year of formal art study, he rediscovered his love of sculpting. The shift in his focus from 2-D art to 3-D art was underway. If one believed in fairytales, you’d certainly be led to suspect that fate was gently nudging the artist-hero in the direction of the sculptural arts.

Kim Simonsson’s Sculptures: From Snow People to Moss People

The magic of accidental artistic discovery.

As magical as Simonsson’s Moss People sculptures are, the process in which the now-famous mossy-green sculptures came to be was equally as magical.

After various failed attempts to use a flocking technique with nylon fibers on his hand-carved ceramic sculptures, Simonsson decided to try the flocking method with a “horrible looking yellow nylon fiber” on a throwaway piece of sculpture he had painted black. To his surprise, the hideous nuclear-yellow hued fibers transformed into a moss green velvet surface when applied to the black-painted sculpture.

He immediately made the connection between that mossy green texture and the moss-covered trees of his homeland’s famous forests and legendary Scandanavian folklore of fantastical creatures such as ugly trolls, mystical beasts and enchanting fairies who purportedly inhabited deep within the forest.

In an interview with art magazine My Modern Met, Simonsson explains the pivotal importance of that moment:

I soon realized the potential of this as a storytelling factor, as I was making these fairytale creatures. And I live in the forest so they where connected with my surroundings.

My Modern Met interview with Finnish sculptor Kim Simonsson.

Kim Simonsson’s mesmerizing Moss People are born.

Detail view of Moss People sculptures by Kim Simonsson at 2019 Design Miami. | Decorating Diva Magazine
Simonsson’s accidental materials discovery gave rise to his spellbinding Moss People sculptures.

The Moss People are life-size, child-like sculptures representing otherworldly creatures that are not from the past, nor from the present but from a time Simonsson describes as the distant future – perhaps a 100 years from today. These captivating ceramic characters live in an imaginary, enchanted forest full of moss-covered trees where a bewitching fairytale unfolds.

Simonsson describes these verdant, velvety sculptures as an aesthetic intersection of classical figurative arts that meets pop culture. Simonsson credits his drawing of comic characters and Japanese anime as an integral artistic skill that supports his sculpting. And, that is undeniably apparent when looking at his sculpture collections from his early works to his most recent including the Moss People sculptures that were on show in the exhibition space of Jason Jacques Gallery at the 15th edition of Design Miami.

Jason Jacques Gallery exhibition of sculptor Kim Simonsson's Moss People at Design Miami 2019. | Decorating Diva Magazine
Simonsson’s Moss People evoke a spell-binding enchantment that enticed Design Miami/ fair-goers to enter the magical space. Details: Jason Jacques Gallery exhibition at Design Miami 2019.

Why did Simonsson choose to title his ceramic sculptures the Moss People?

The sculpture collection was titled Moss People to contextually allude to the innate skills children possess in blending in, camouflaging into their surroundings. Simonsson explains this aspect:

“The moss green figures blend perfectly into their natural surroundings, just as a soft carpet of moss covers the ground, rocks and tree trunks and acts as a sort of protection. In the Moss People world, lost and disconnected children, evoking different characters, gather in a Shaman Party, choose leaders and end up creating false idols.”

Kim Simonsson

Behind the scenes in the artist’s studio.

The Fantastical Worlds of Kim Simonsson” is a short film, directed by Jefunne Gimpel and produced in collaboration with the American Swedish Institute, which offers an intimate view into Simonsson’s world.

“The Fantastical Worlds of Kim Simonsson”: A glimpse into the enchanting fairy-tale world created by the Finnish sculptor.

Learn more about sculpture artist Kim Simonsson.

Art Resource: For more information on Kim Simonsson’s artwork and exhibitions, follow him on Facebook and Instagram or visit his website.