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16 Life, Scene & Gfx: Fairfax of Andromeda
Life, Scene & Gfx
An interview with Fairfax of Andromeda

Conducted by Magic of Nah-Kolor


The demogroup Andromeda has its roots on the Amiga. Andromeda made its comeback on the PC in 2007 after 13 years of absence. Personally I was a little disappointed that graphician Torkel Berntsen, better known as Fairfax, wasn't among the original members to be active again. On the Amiga, Fairfax contributed to e.g. Mindriot, Sequential, Mirror and released a slideshow called Seven Seas. He also supported the known Amiga diskmag called RAW. Through Google I came in contact with a colleague of Fairfax who gave me his direct e-mail address. Sometimes you have to be creative to reach a scener who quit the scene a long, long time ago especially since it sort of became a tradition to interview oldskool sceners for Hugi.

This interview is devided in three sections. Fairfax's life now, a talk about the scene and finally a discussion of some of his graphics he released. Enjoy!


Good day Fairfax. Welcome back on the demoscene through this interview in Hugi issue 35. Please try to explain who you were back in the early days of the Amiga scene. Introduce yourself to our readers.

Many, many years ago, when I was around 16-19 years old, I was taking part in the Amiga scene under the name: Fairfax. Back then I was working on improving my skills as a graphician. As many others I spent time copying fantasy art into the pixel world of the Amiga computer.

How do you make a living in real life? What is your occupation? Could you also tell us what a normal day looks like for you anno domini 2008?

Today I am 33 years old and I am working in Norway producing broadcast design and motion graphics for TV commercials for a company called Bug. I also work as a teacher on the same topic at the art academy in Bergen.

A normal day for me would be to ride my bike to work at 07.30 in the morning. Then I go ahead working for 8 hours or so on design challenges and production with co workers and clients. Evenings are spent with friends and my little family.

In what way did your demoscene background help you to what you are doing today?

I think the demoscene helped me start developing a visual language especially when it comes to screenbased visuals and design that I do today. The scene was really a great place to reach for higher and higher quality in the things I did, as I found myself in a kind of competition with other talented people around the world.

Can you tell us something about your current projects which you are doing for a living?

At the moments I am working on different advertising projects for television and cinema. I also do design and motion graphics for various Norwegian television programs.


Please tell our readers, in order of chronology from past to present, which groups you have been part and when and what it was you did in that group.

This is my storyline of groups in the Amiga period of my life: Sparta, Beastie Boys, PMC, Andromeda. There is a possibility that I could have forgotten a group or two as time has passed but these are the groups that I took part in. Nothing really happened in my Amiga career as far as I remember before I joined Andromeda. This period was from 1992-1993 I would guess. Don't really remember it accurately. In all the groups I was doing graphics work.

Your old group Andromeda made a comeback on the PC in 2007. They released a new demo called Noumenon. Please take a look at this demo and tell me what you think of it. Is a comeback on the demoscene something you would think about?

I had a quick look at the comeback PC demo from Andromeda and it looks much like the old days I would think. It seems like the old visual mindset is still there. I have to comment that there was something wrong with the file and that the fluid motion in the demo was not right. When it comes to me having a comeback in the demoscene I must say no. But the memories from back then are very nice.

Why do you have to say no?

The main reason for me not having a comeback in the demoscene must be the fact that I don't know anyone in the scene anymore. Secondly I probably wouldn't find the time get involved.

What made you start making graphics on computers way back in your childhood?

I remember that I got my first Amiga when I was 14 years old. In the beginning there was only game playing, but after a while I changed my interest over to drawing in Deluxe Paint. I guess seeing the results of my first work in Deluxe Paint triggered the next, and then I just kept going. Enthusiastic feedback from my friends and my brother fueled the process of continuing the work of producing better graphics each time. The feedback and fame in the scene was also making the whole thing interesting I remember.

What's the origin of your scene nickname 'Fairfax'?

Well, some may remember a TV-series with the name "Allo, Allo". There were two characters in that series that where called Fairfax and Carstairs. For some reason I just picked that name.


I chose four pictures you pixelled when you were active on the demoscene. Please comment on each of them!

The first picture with the squirrels I actually had forgotten about. Obviously a part of an issue of RAW. It was taken from a painting of a famous Norwegian artist called Theodor Kittelsen. At that time I was very much inspired by imagery of landscapes. This picture might have been inspired by the winter olympics going on in Norway at the time.

The next picture, "Smoker", is maybe one of the pictures from the Amiga days that I'm most happy with. It was painted from a black&white photograph from Vietnam I think. I inserted a classic Norwegian pack of matches just for fun. I remember that I tried to get more and more away from the fantasy genre at the end of my Amiga career, and this picture is from that time.

This third one from RAW is actually not so bad, hehe. Even the buttons and navigation frame looks nice. This image is typical fantasy stuff but it shows that I tried to add more and of my own things in every picture and not always copy from the great artists in the real world. The lady with the apple in her mouth is copied.

The last picture is the intro for the Seven Seas slideshow. This is at least not copied from any other picture. It is actually a typical "Amiga scene style" logo where every logo was turned into a complete picture. The reason for this might be the desperation from every graphician to make the most of it when they finally got something released. Hmm.

Please name your five favourite graphicians from the demoscene and tell why they are your favourite ones.

OK. I'll try to remember some names of people that really impressed me: The first one must be UNO, mainly because he understood the use of colours and light within the limitations of the Amiga. The next in line might be Facet because of his productivity and funny style. I also remember a graphician named Mack who was really good at what he was doing. I must also mention Archmage as a splendid graphician and a very nice guy. At the time being I can't remember any others, even though I remember that I was pretty much in control of what a lot of people did back then around 92-93.

Which picture you painted for the demoscene do you consider the best one you created?

The best picture? Maybe one of the mountain pictures I copied from a dreamscapes book by a guy I don't remember. It was a beautifully lit mountain coming up in the middle of a darker vally. I think I won something in a competition with that one.


Are you still in contact with some sceners? If yes please tell us something about this..

At the moment I'm not in contact with anyone from the scene. I have met some sceners here and there throughout the years and that is always much fun.

In 2008 Andromeda released a new demo at the NVscene party held in the USA. The demo is called Stargazer. Please take a look at it at and give your comment.

Really a stunning work there by the old heroes. I especially liked the water tunnel. That one was devine. And I guess that many of the visuals were realtime and that makes it even more impressive. Very cool.

What would you want to tell to the current demoscene? (You are surely not forgotten.) And what would you want to tell your old groupmates like Mr.Hyde and Archmage who are still active today? Please give us your last words..

If being active in the scene today is as much fun as it was when I was active in the Amiga scene, I surely understand the fascination. Good luck everybody, and thank you for reading through this interview. Have a nice day!

And hello to you both Mr.Hyde and Archmage. It was a pleasure to meet you and working with you both. Who knows, maybe we will meet some day?

Youtube links related to this article:

Mind Riot by Andromeda
Sequential by Andromeda
Seven Seas by Andromeda

Fairfax & Magic
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