Gréta Þorkelsdóttir is a typography nerd, feminist and this issue’s emerging artist. She is a graphic design graduate from the Icelandic Art Academy and an active member of the Reykjavík SlutWalk.
When did you start designing?
I had been studying fine arts and was set on becoming a painter or something similar. When I (almost accidentally) got into the graphic design department in LHÍ, everything changed, which was great. Thanks to my teachers, I discovered a whole new world of microtypography and perfectionism.
What is your creative process?
I just make stuff. Sometimes I’ve been thinking about a specific subject, like Britney Spears, for a long time and developing it slowly. Other times I just create things spontaneously, or make them before thinking about them and developing them further. My favorite projects are those that take a few months to create, allowing me to add layer upon layer of details and tinker with them for a long time. I also sit and watch my work a lot.
What inspires you?
I started using Tumblr last year when I moved to Brno, in the Czech Republic. I started taking photos on my shitty Moto G phone of everything I saw, which helped me notice the things around me. I still take photos, but I post them on Instagram now. I’m inspired by street typography and things that are accidentally great. Western pop culture, K-pop, my friends and family, posters from teen magazines and unofficial books about pop stars, the search feature on Instagram, the movie ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’, Dogma and Hype Williams. I also love M.I.A. and her RBMA lecture, this song, Strætó, gambiarra, libraries and more.
What is your favorite artwork, by you and/or another artist?
Right now, my favorite piece by another artist is a video that Britney Spears posted on Instagram of herself painting leaves on a canvas. It’s amazing.
From my own work, I’d say that my graduation project from LHÍ is my favorite. It’s a 220-page, four-part book series on Britney, where I went pretty deep into her history to be able to trace exactly when and why she started to struggle with her image and to understand the chain of events that led to her nervous breakdown.
How is it being an artist in Iceland?
It’s great. I love how tight-knit it is and relatively easy it is to approach. Doing small-scale productions can however, get a bit tedious; having to call fifteen places to check for a specific kind of spiral coil, using printers that only print on two types of paper, or needing a few metres of elastic and the only place that might have it in stock is a store in Kópavogur.