Iceland: Land of Ice and Art

On the count of three, I’m going to name all the Icelandic artists I can think of. It’s going to be fun. One… two… three!
That was awkward. 
My parents and sister recently went to Iceland and their pictures are otherwordly. Natural beauty abounds, but what about man-made beauty? Who is representing Iceland in the world of art? I knew of not one individual. Of course, Iceland only has a population of under 400,000 and most of them are probably too busy staring at the beauty out their front window to paint a picture. 
Nonetheless, Google tells me there are some people who tore themselves away from the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, and Game of Thrones scenery to create some art of their own. No doubt with some Bjork on the radio for inspiration.
Olof Nordal: I was especially excited to read about Olof Nordal, because she was educated in Michigan! Not far from me at all. She is a sculptor and multi-media artist, but frankly I liked her photography best. Here is a sample of her photography and sculpture:
“Leader sheep.” I can see why.

Let’s “face” it… this is so realistic it borders on creepy.

Nordal studied in Michigan, as I mentioned, but also in Amsterdam, and at Yale. But she’s Icelandic, through and through. In fact, she is fascinated with Icelandic folklore traditions, often reflected in her art. (Or so I read. I am not as familiar with Icelandic folklore traditions as you would think.)
Here is another Iceland born artist I really like, but whose name I will never be able to say properly: Heimir Bjorgulfsson. Not surprisingly, I love Bjorgulfsson’s art in part because he often features animals. The bright, fun colors don’t hurt either. 
“Mining for silver when you could be mining for gold” 

“The man on top of the mountain”
I used to dislike surrealism, but I’ve got to say, artists like Bjorgulfsson are making me rethink that stance. He likes to mix the natural with man-made (like the hammock, for instance, in the first picture). Though he lives in LA now, putting animals in locations they wouldn’t actually live is so very Icelandic of him. Most of Iceland is unsuitable for zebras and people alike.

For a country with so few people, Iceland has a strong presence in the art community! Here is a link to more Icelandic art if you’re interested: Icelandic Artists
Also? If you haven’t heard of the Icelandic band “Of Monsters and Men”, let me help you. Click here.

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