Illustration, poetry, music—there are few mediums that Ólöf Rún Benediksdóttir doesn’t dip her toe into. While she’s known primarily for her surrealist art and equally unorthodox poetry, the young artist is also a jazz singer, DJ, and a co-organiser of Norðanpaunk and the Tjarnarslamm poetry slams. We sat down with the busy bee to find out about her formative influences.
I devour every docuseries, from David Attenborough to Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos.’ I also take online courses in astrobiology because it’s just so fascinating to muse about possible life forms on other planets. And cosmology. I almost don’t understand anything that’s going on in a cosmology documentary, but the universe is so fascinating; especially how stars are formed, and how they, in turn, create heavier elements that make the formation of rocky planets like our own possible. The fact that humans, or any complex multicellular organisms, exist seems to be such an absurd chance happening that I can almost believe there is some divine mind behind all of it. Almost. I just feel like if I understand the world, I will be happier. Also, how can you worry about things once you are aware of your status as a speck of dust on a rather small planet circling a mid-sized star in an infinite universe?
‘Ghost In The Shell’ & ‘Æon Flux’
I love anime and cartoons. The colours, flat surfaces, defined outlines—it’s just so visually pleasing. Set something in a futuristic sci-fi world and I am sold. ‘Ghost in the Shell’ is one of my favourites. I like its philosophical take on what a soul is and what makes a human being. ‘Æon Flux’ is another. Peter Chung’s drawing captivates me as well as the strange storyline. You can really feel that they started off with aesthetics and built the story around that.
Schiele’s style was one of the first I fell absolutely in love with. His line is so fluent and he uses colour just to accentuate lines and surfaces. I really love how twisted and strange his portrayals of the human body are whilst still being absolutely believable. It’s the same thing that drew me to ‘Æon Flux’ and I later found out that the creator, Peter Chung, was heavily influenced by Schiele.
Being a part of the Norðanpaunk community has really changed the way I create. The DIY attitude of not waiting for your chance to come but just going out there and making it happen is really empowering. You don’t need the proper funds, the proper means, you just throw yourself off a cliff and hope you land smoothly because you’re never gonna be entirely ready anyways. Most of all I think the attitude of not needing approval is a really healthy trait for creators.
I was raised in Kirkjubæjarklaustur like a little wildling. My brother and I had some amount of structure but mostly went about our day however we pleased. I would read books, draw, or hang around the small forest in the hills behind our house and climb the rocks in the waterfall. The real world and the books I was reading would mix in my head and I remember having really vivid fantasies. For example, I was convinced that there was a portal to another dimension underneath a kerra that was near my home. From time to time I really need to take walks around wooded areas to calm down and get my thoughts in order. It gives me the energy to create.
Read the makings of more artists here.