We Snoop Around At Sig Vicious
Equipped with a computer, Siggeir Magnús Hafsteinsson began his career as a graphic designer fifteen years ago. Since then, the artist who is better known as Sig Vicious has worked for a number of companies and runs his own advertising agency working for large clients like Coca Cola distributors Vífilfell and telephone company Íslandssími. He makes use of a colourful palette, and his work often features elements of pop culture, politics and humour. We visited Sig on an overcast Sunday morning to learn more about what drives him.
Did you take interest in design at an early age?
Well, when I was thirteen I had an Atari computer and was a part of a computer clique. I started drawing in a program where the resolution was 480×320 and you could choose from 16 colours. I didn’t do well in school, so I spent a couple of years working at a bakery and the shipyard, but I took interest in design again in my early twenties.
Did you wind up studying graphic design?
No, I’m completely self-taught. I wanted to become a graphic designer and I knew that I had to learn how to use Freehand, a program that some designers used back then. I went to Siberia for three months in 1997 and used my time there to master Macromedia Freehand completely. When I returned, I got a job and started working on brochures and stuff like that. Lets just say I have grown to what I am today; you are always learning and developing as an artist.
Some of my early work isn’t very good when I look at it now. The first thing I made was a flyer for a fashion show at Hótel Borg; it was epically ugly. I made it in Photoshop and used something called difference clouds—I was very happy with this at the time.
Are you influenced by other people’s work?
Well, I’m inspired by a lot of things, but it doesn’t play directly into my own work. I take a lot of interest in street and graffiti culture, even though I’m not doing it myself.
You’ve recently designed some EVE-online spaceships. Tell me about those…
Yeah, so first I took a couple of old photographs from Reykjavík and superimposed them with spaceships from Star Wars. Then I wanted to develop the idea further using more original material, so I got my friend Oscar Bjarnason to take photos and used ships from the EVE-online game as models. I have actually received a bit of feedback from the EVE community; they say that the scale of the ships is incorrect. However, they should know that this is art, not EVE reality!
What do you find most fun about being a designer?
I most love making vinyl covers because I am typically given a lot of artistic freedom. I like to ask for two or three keywords, but other than that I can do whatever.
What are you doing now and what does the future hold?
Well I’m working for a commercial agency. Of course I like to work at a small company, as an artist, but you cannot live exclusively by making flyers and vinyl covers. I’ve done projects for big companies like HP and Nike in the past, and this kind of work is very different in terms of project size and pay. I think I will be doing this as long as I have the freedom to create.