Because of my past career and background in finance, I read a lot about the financial crisis that almost wiped out Iceland’s entire economy. Not long after the collapse, though, the country was back on the path to recovery due in large part to the resilience of its people. This, I thought, was a society we can all learn something from.
A small island nation of 330,000 probably doesn’t have a burgeoning international arts scene but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have talented people. That’s why we were eager to collaborate with an Icelandic artist – to learn more about the nation and its culture, and to show that great art exists in all corners of the world.
Bylgja Lind Pétursdóttir is an artist from Egilsstaðir in East Iceland. She works primarily in pencil illustration and oil painting, creating extremely detailed and unique compositions incorporating motifs inspired by the Icelandic wilderness.
We immediately fell in love with her work and our collaboration ultimately developed into the Fuglafletta scarf design.
“Inspired by the Icelandic wilderness, nature, organized chaos, and organic lines, Fuglaflétta was developed and created.”
– Bylgja Lind Pétursdóttir
Why did you decide to pursue a career in art? Why did you choose to be an artist?
I have been drawing and painting since I was a child. I always wanted to be an artist and a designer. I studied architecture at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and, for a long time, I wanted to become an architect. But after I graduated in 2011, my passion has been in fine art and illustration. After graduation my boyfriend and I moved to East Iceland, and there I began to develop my art career.
How would you describe your style/direction?
My paintings and illustrations are realistic, surreal, chaotic, wild, but at the same time detailed.
What inspires your work?
The nature and wildlife around me where I live in East Iceland.
What other artists, current or past, have been your biggest influences?
Many contemporary artists and illustrators inspire me every day but one who has had an especially big influence is Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval. He was an Icelandic painter born in 1885. He is considered one of the most important artists of Iceland.
Can you describe the brightest moment of your life or career thus far?
The biggest moment in my life was becoming a mother. But as for my career it is probably when I sold my first artwork.
Tell us about your personal goals and/or professional plans.
My mission is to keep working on my art career, try new mediums and techniques, and explore what I can do. My goal is to have a private exhibition in New York one day. It‘s good to dream big!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Travel, take photographs, and enjoy the beautiful nature around me.
What are the most interesting (or your personal favorite) places in your town? Tell us about them.
I live in a small town called Egilsstaðir in East Iceland. The population of my town is under 3000 people. The most interesting things where I live are the places around it. For example, Hallormsstaðaskógur is a beautiful national forest. Mjóifjörður is a long and narrow fjord. Along it sits a village of 35 people, the smallest in Iceland. The roads that lead to it are closed in the wintertime so the only way to get there is by boat.
What do you like best about Egilsstaðir?
Small, simple, no traffic, peaceful, and silent. It’s surrounded by wilderness, wild animals, reindeer, and has stormy, snowy winters, so it´s cozy to be inside and draw under candle light.
What does it mean to be an artist in Iceland?
Icelandic people are very creative and Iceland has produced many great artists. Unfortunately Iceland is small so the market is very small and therefore it’s difficult to make a living off of it.
What, in your opinion, does it mean to be a resident of Iceland?
It means a lot of freedom. You live close to nature and when you are at the gas station eating a hot dog you can watch reindeer on the other side of the road!