When my dad and I visited Reykjavík, we stayed at Galtafell Guesthouse, which was right by Tjörnin (The Pond) and a 15 or 20 minute walk to the downtown area where there was a high concentration of restaurants and shops. My father is king of the less beaten path, so of course we took a different route through neighborhoods each time. By the end of the week we had walked a large amount of central Reykjavík. One of the things that stood out to me most was the profusion of street art (and sculpture, but I’ll get to that later). Beautiful mural were everywhere. So were tags and graffiti. My younger brother is a graffiti writer, so I took the time to grab a shot of every single piece I saw. Here are some of my favorites. (All photos were taken by me.)
The creativity of the city astounded me. One of the things that struck me most about Iceland was the perfect mix of the somber colors and intensity of the landscape mixed with a hearty helping of creativity, bright colors, and whimsy. Sculptures, street art, benches with Q Codes for listening to literature, an abundance of museums and more (and I got all this during a rainy week in the off season). If you are an artist, this is a city you need to visit.
The art I saw wasn’t just significant for the skill; it was intelligent and often clearly laden with social, cultural, political, and religious meaning.
This next piece was a mixed media masterpiece. The peaks of the mountains were some sort of reflective material that shifted with the wind and played up the light. It might not have all been done at one time, but the juxtaposition of the peaks and quote against the grotesque figure at the bottom was definitely an arresting sight.
There were several of these great troll faces scattered throughout the city. Ganesh and the flamingo were right by the beautiful face at the beginning of this post, and I’m assuming they were by the same artist.
And in closing, this simple message: “NO.”