I make strange and wonderful things for clients and for myself. Some people know me as an artist, others as a designer or art director, some think of me as an animator or illustrator, and quite a few people know my work in data visualization. There are probably even a few souls out there who think I'm a musician or a writer. None of these people are wrong, and I'm a firm believer in the idea that most creative fields are interrelated in a way that makes this diversification an asset. Let's lose the notion that everyone should only ever do one thing to do it well!
My latest projects include a bizarre animated cartoon for tech news and culture website The Verge, infographics and print design for The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, a music video for London-based electronica act Wave Tourists, and an animated data visualization piece for CNN.
I was born and raised in Oslo, the capitol of Norway, where I began my career as a writer for IDG's Computerworld and Multimedia-world magazines. I left Scandinavia upon acceptance to The Maryland Institute, College of Art – one of the highest-ranked art schools in the U.S., from which I graduated with honors, ill-fitting clothes, and a BFA in illustration. I did artwork for publications ranging from Texas Monthly to YM Magazine, before moving to New York in 2000 for a job as a designer with CNN.
I worked at CNNMoney, the financial news website and home of Fortune and Money magazines, for 12 years – the last six as Art Director. Responsibilities included layout, data visualization, motion design, UI, mobile apps, workflow, strategy, news graphics, and tea drinking. Leading and growing a team was rewarding, but after years of sidelining personal projects, it was time to indulge myself. Deceptively similar to a crazy person, I quit my prestiguous job to make the aforementioned strange and wonderful things of unknown commercial value – and maybe pick up a freelance gig here and there!
One of the first things I completed after going solo was an animated short film called Franklin the Ladies' Cat, successfully funded on Kickstarter. It's now an ongoing YouTube series which was featured on Cartoon Brew. The second installment was a finalist in the online category of the 2013 Holland Animation Film Festival.
Another defining project was Stanley Cup Summed Up, a unique ambient animated data visualization covered by CBS Sports, CBC, Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, FlowingData, Yahoo!, Fast Company’s Co.Design, and many other sites. Deadspin named it one of The 10 Best Sports Infographics Of 2012.
Prior to that, I created The Dow Piano, a light-hearted audiovisual presentation of the stock market that translated ups and downs into musical notes. It was featured on Popular Science, Swissmiss, Co.Design (who subsequently named it one of the best infographics of 2011), FlowingData and other visualization sites, and inspired the programmers of EA Sports' Fight Night Champion boxing game to make a similar system tracking their code revisions. Possibly related: NPR's Planet Money later produced a show where home prices were translated into brief operas.
"Is The Internet Awake?" is another visualization that received a lot of attention. It's an approximate world clock that appeared on Swissmiss, Launch, and Andrew Sullivan's The Dish, among many other blogs.
Back in 2008, I created the 3D animated short film Gone, a melancholy black and white piece with no dialog and the most spartan character designs you could imagine. Despite some rough edges and uncompromising abstraction, the film has connected with well over 50,000 people, and was used as a music video for two different bands.
More recently, I conceived and designed an animated visualization called Sixty Seconds of Salary, which was published by my former employer CNNMoney and shown on CNN. It was shared over 6,600 times on Facebook and generated well over 2,000 tweets. The piece shows salaries accumulating second by second, dramatically comparing the incomes of Kobe Bryant, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a teacher, and a minimum wage earner, among others. The narrated animation was written up on several sites, including Popular Science, digg and Co.Design, and was selected to be part of an exclusive Time Warner exhibition in New York organized in association with Future of Storytelling – after which it was also linked on Swissmiss. At the end of 2013, The Wire (The Atlantic's news service) named the piece one of the best visualizations of the year.
In addition to the media outlets already mentioned, my design work has been featured on the sites of Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Jezebel, Gawker, GOOD Magazine, Infosthetics, The Awl, The Hollywood Reporter, Cinema Blend, Kottke.org as well as Coudal Partners' Fresh Signals. You can imagine the size of my head.
While I'm first and foremost a visual artist, I'm also deeply interested in music, and regularly write and record songs – a few of which have been used in popular shows on NBC, MTV, Bravo, Comedy Central, We, SPEED, Fuel TV, TLC, Fox Sports, CMTV, MSNBC, Logo and Telemundo.
This website has been online in one form or another since 1995. During all this time, I have not improved at all as a dancer, and my cooking skills remain embarrassing.
Get in touch if you think I can help with your illustration, animation, design or data visualization project: reception at edlundart dot com.
If you read this far, you should follow me on Twitter. I ramble even more there. And brag less.