Artist Talk: Úlfur Karlsson

Artist Talk: Úlfur Karlsson

Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
Photos by
Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir

Published October 7, 2016

Since his graduation from Valand School of Fine Arts in Sweden, Icelandic painter Úlfur Karlsson has been busy with exhibitions and film projects including the ongoing exhibition “By Proxy” in Galerie Ernst Hilger in Vienna, and “We Are Not Afraid” in the Reykjavík Art Museum. He is political in his works and says art pieces should be remembered in people’s hearts long after they’ve seen them, like a good film.

ulfur-5-of-8

What is your creative process?

Sometimes when I don’t feel like creating anything, I find it very hard to work. I even need to force myself to work in order to keep track sometimes and those periods can be tough. I have a very creative mind though, I dream weird dreams and sometimes I feel like I have thoughts that no one else has. In my opinion being creative means painting the things around you that you see something special in. Sometimes I feel more creative when I have been away from painting for awhile, like now for example, I have been in Germany and Austria for almost a month and haven’t been able to paint. I miss the feeling a lot.

What inspires you?

American culture, sports and politics are what inspire me most. I think Icelanders are a very Americanized nation, and I am a perfect example. I grew up watching ‘The Simpsons’, collected NBA cards and watched all Chicago Bulls games. As I got older I became interested in other things and therefore started following sports less, but Muhamed Ali has kept on as one of my biggest inspirations.

ulfur-6-of-8

What is your favorite work by you or by other artists?

At the moment, I would have to say Erró. I have seen his work from a close distance and I can honestly say that he has mastered his amazing style. Ragnar Kjartansson is also a huge inspiration to me, his recent work in New York is probably my favorite artwork by an Icelandic artist. My favorite international artist however, is Jean-Michel Basquiat.

It’s a bit easier for me to pick which one of my own works is my favorite, because there is only one painting I feel fits the entire galaxy of my brain, the main painting of my newest show, “By Proxy,” in Vienna.

ulfur-3-of-8

How is being an artist in Iceland?

The art scene in Iceland is very small, which is why most artists try to work outside of Iceland as well. Despite that, we have some of the world’s most famous artists like Ragnar Kjartansson and Ólafur Elíasson as well as great musicians like Björk and Sigur rós. However, there are many people in Iceland that don’t seem to like us artists, and want the funding towards artists to be taken away. I’m not sure how to answer this question but I like being in Iceland, mostly because I prefer cold weather and like going to the swimming pools.

Future Plans?

That’s an easy question, become rich, famous, and respected.

ulfur-8-of-8


Culture
Art
Books In The Back: Iceland’s New Art Book Space

Books In The Back: Iceland’s New Art Book Space

by

“It’s such a big and small world!” Steinunn Önnudóttir says of the art book community. She’s standing in the newly

Culture
Art
Naked Shadows: Haraldur Jónsson at BERG Contemporary

Naked Shadows: Haraldur Jónsson at BERG Contemporary

by

While many Icelandic artists are quick to cite nature as their inspiration, Haraldur is fascinated by the built environment. “Building

Culture
Art
Embrace the Nonsense: ‘Da Da Dans’ By The Icelandic Dance Company

Embrace the Nonsense: ‘Da Da Dans’ By The Icelandic Dance Company

by

People describe Reykjavík as a “tightly knit” city, evoking the image of interweaving threads crossing paths, individuals joining to create

Culture
Art
Happening This Weekend: Sequences Festival

Happening This Weekend: Sequences Festival

by

Sequences Festival turns ten! Since 2006 Sequences Art Festival has provided ten-days of visual arts with a special focus on

Culture
Art
The New Soundscape: Andrew T. Huang’s Virtual Realities

The New Soundscape: Andrew T. Huang’s Virtual Realities

by

In 1935, the American author Stanley G. Weinbaum wrote what many believe to be the first fictional model for what

Culture
Art
Iceland’s New Erró: Ethoríó

Iceland’s New Erró: Ethoríó

by

Ethoríó is one of Keflavík’s hidden gems. A ruby-red, bubblegum-pink, doom-pop-art-making, gold-sunglass-toting gem. I took it upon myself to chat

Show Me More!