MAY 20TH, 2022

Each week artists are commissioned for a piece of art through the UNDRGRND Grant Program. 100 NFTs are minted and are randomly airdropped to UNDRGRND Membership Cardholders. To find out how you can be featured as an UNDRGRND Artist check out our Discord. 

The colorful illustrations of Szkandal’s art look like digital pyramid paintings telling the story of an alien race and their deities. Each with minimal descriptions, he leaves the interpretation of these mysterious drawings up to the viewer. In Quadruplets, even they do not know what they are for, how they got there, or why they share one body. With what appear to be ancient symbols surrounding them, the viewer is left with as much information as the quadruplets.


A theme present throughout Szkandal’s work comes from the loose symmetry of each illustration. We see this in Quadruplets, Gemini, and Facegod. But, the piece TWOISM sets the stage for the theme of symmetry and duality throughout his work. The description, “everybody needs a companion, there is always two of you/ a little tribute of mine to boards of canada.” The band Boards of Canada, a mysterious brother duo that creates ambient, electronic music, seems tied to much Szkandal’s work.


Rarely offering interviews from a desire to keep their lives private, what little info we have of Boards of Canada becomes clear looking through these sparse quotes. In an interview from 2012, the band describes their music, “We’re not trying to accurately pastiche the past, it’s about inventing a past that didn’t really happen.” Perhaps this is the motivation between the symbols and Egyptian-styled illustrations from Szkandal; he’s inventing a past that did not happen.

Knives Out

This connection to Boards of Canada becomes more apparent in Knives Out if we take the band's rationale for why they are so reclusive, as they see themselves as victims of "the flood of bullshit that fills in your silhouette." Corporations and salesmen fill our lives with constant noise and people who will do anything to gain our attention. Selling us ideas and lies to make us think specific products will help define who we are or "fill our silhouettes" with meaning. And in Knives Out, those that lie to gain our attention are punished. 

Connections even appear between Szkandal and Boards of Canada through their personalities. Choosing to record their albums in a rural area, one of the brothers explains, "Working from a rural studio is probably an advantage because we can create a lot of ad noise and nobody complains, and it's a great place to switch off. When we walk out the doors, we don't see hundreds of pedestrians with the mental interference of their individual lives and fashions. Instead, there's just a couple of horses." Szkandal, based on minimal interactions and a Twitter feed that has limited information to glean, appears content keeping his personal life private and preferring to work quietly on his illustrations. 

sketch vs finished pic.twitter.com/OLRPFjrxb4

— szkandal 🇺🇦 (@szkandalesque) May 11, 2022

The detail in Szkandal’s work is a dizzying balancing act when you see his sketches on paper transform into digital illustrations. The transition between draft to final shows how much precision is required in the editing process. Szkandal works quietly, debating with only himself what to leave in his art and what to remove, then releasing it for us to decide what he is communicating.


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