Danish-born visual artist Lasse Hoile may not be a household name, but he’s carved himself quite the niche in the progressive rock/metal scene as a virtual set and album designer. His ability to disturb, enlighten, and entertain us is an accomplishment that many in his line of work can only strive for. This talented multimedia artist produces a type of ‘modernized vintage’ imagery whose ominous beauty has been likened to Francis Bacon, H.R. Geiger, and David Lynch. Though he often focuses on complementing music artists with his work, his talent is standalone.
In musical circles Hoile is well known for his myriad skills, but his collages and prints are available for us all to discover, and let us crawl inside the mind of one of today’s most dynamic talents. Hoile has a passion for European art house films and renaissance paintings, which breathe classical nuances into his offbeat signature style.
Hoile started out wanting to eke out a living as a special effects artist, but a photographer lie just beneath the surface; “I bought a Nikon F3 one day because I had some ideas I wanted to do and it just did something with me. I felt I finally knew what I had to do and I just kept on doing pictures and everything else was not important anymore…I had to do art. I have to do it. Everything else is not interesting to me anymore.”
Hoile’s big break came in 2002, when he designed the album sleeve for In Absentia, an album by the band Porcupine Tree. From here, a valued working relationship and friendship evolved between Hoile and the band’s front man, Steven Wilson. They have collaborated on many projects since then, cementing themselves a very distinct place in the ranks of artists that bring out the best in each other.
Visual art and music have always gone hand in hand; can you imagine the band Yes without conjuring up a Roger Dean illustrated album cover? How about Journey without Jim Welch’s winged artistry? The Hoile-Wilson duo have produced numerous album covers, live-show visuals, music videos, and even an acclaimed documentary on the making of Wilson’s solo record, Insurgentes. There’s really no question why Hoile’s artistic visions have become a Wilson trademark: tonally, they are pieces from the same puzzle.