Artist Of The Issue: Elín Edda - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Artist Of The Issue: Elín Edda

Published March 13, 2017

Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
Photos by
Hrefna Björg

Elín Edda is a young artist, a published author and a soon-to-be graphic designer. She released a book of poems last year called ‘Hamingjan leit við og beit mig’ (“Happiness looked back and bit me,” in English) as well as a two hundred-page comic book about a monster called Gombri, which she worked on for two years before publication. Drawings from the book were exhibited at Ekkisens art space and the Reykjavík City Library. Elín Edda is currently working on her second book about Gombri as well as continuing her graphic design studies at the Iceland Academy of Arts.

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When did you start designing?
I started drawing before I can even remember. The first thing I designed were the covers for my comic books. I also remember designing my own name cards. I referred to myself as a graphic designer even though I was only ten.

What is your creative process?
I start by giving a project a lot of thought and allow myself to brainstorm for a while until I get an idea. I like having peace and quiet while I write down my ideas. I then start sketching and usually make a lot of sketches before I find something I think might work.

What inspires you?
When things are well-made. Also people and the beauty that surrounds me.

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What is your favorite artwork, by you and/or another artist?
I feel like Gombri will always be my most important work. It is the most honest work I’ve ever created. Gombri is a lonely monster, who has lost everyone close to him and therefore decides to start travelling. I had always wanted to make a book like that and I hadn’t been asked to do it—so I had absolute freedom in the creative process. It gave me confidence in my other creative work. I think my favorite works—by me or other artists—have that sincerity in common.

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How is it being a designer in Iceland?
It is fun but also a bit difficult because many Icelanders don’t seem to know what design is about and how important good designs are.

What do you wish to achieve through your work?
I want to make honest and beautiful things that have meaning. That meaning could be, for example, making people feel good or making them start to think about something nice.

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Future plans?
I’ll be graduating from graphic design next year so I’ll mostly be focusing on my studies until then. However I will be working on the next Gombri book and trying to find a publisher for the English translation of the first one. Me and my friend Brynja Steinþórsdóttir are creating installations together as well and I’m looking very forward to continuing doing that.

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