Retro-inspired digital collages by Joe Simpson that imagine a more cheerful future

When many artists or writers imagine what life will be like decades from now, it's often a gloomy outlook. Full of dystopian themes, end-of-the-world drama and everyone fighting to survive, it's not an optimistic view of how things will turn out. Artist Joe Simpson wants to offer an antidote to the dark predictions with his latest digital collage series.

Some of These Days features artworks made up of found images from the past and paint a happier future – one perhaps imagined from the past. "So much of today's fiction about the future is a pessimistic dystopian vision, it's post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden, natural disaster or a pandemic," says Joe of his work. "I wanted to create images that were an antidote to this gloomy perspective. An idea of the future, from a nostalgic perspective of the past, where it looked exotic and exciting – full of possibilities, where people looked happy."

Joe created these collages inspired by pulp science fiction and romanticism. He's also referenced Hopperesque iconography that permeates much of his work - with hotels, drive-in theatres, ticket booths and diners. "Despite my best efforts, I think there's still some sinister undertones in the series, in the form of giant monsters, a reoccurring motif of jellyfish and emotionless dead-eyed robots – but hopefully the project still feels hopeful," he adds.

A figurative painter currently living and working in London, Joe Simpson's artworks have been shown both nationally and internationally, including at prestigious venues such as the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Albert Hall, Manchester City Art Gallery and the House of Commons. He works primarily in oil paint to create realistic images that "utilise the conventions of cinematography to present 'staged', fictitious scenes where time has been stopped and extended," as he puts it.

Find out more about his work at


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