Icelandic Painter-Musician Víðir Mýrmann Thrastarson

By: Azad Karimi

I think everyone can be an artist and anything can be art as long as a maker provides the world with something genuine and real. All kids are artists, it is only when we become older that we start to lose our roots. 

 

Interview

Icelandic Painter-Musician Víðir Mýrmann Thrastarson

By Azad Karimi

 

 

Please read this golden sentences of Víðir Mýrmann and admire him.

 

"I am true to my visions and beliefs. I don’t follow any trends, that are fashionable at the moment. For me, that is a sign of weakness and fear. Fear of being yourself and not have a voice of your own".

 

This world is full of imitators. The imitators- in every field- tide like the waves of the sea: They appear quickly, they attack, but, they are crushed by hitting the rocky wall of the shore, and they bounce back.

That is why creators have fewer numbers, but they are enduring and their artwork is also recorded in history.

I am happy to have artist, committed and creative friends who insist on their principles and do not care about appearances and controversy. They are human capital and more to say, not interesting because they are worth more than words.

Please pay attention to the precious words of my dear friend Víðir Mýrmann. He is a real human and a creative artist, so he is a great man.

 

I wish him success and prosperity. I hope his works will appear in world exhibitions.

 

Thank you!

Vestland-Norway

 

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1- Please present yourself (Name, education, Civil status and…)

 

.A small town-based painter has been honing his skills in oil painting for the last two decades. Mýrmann influences are mostly drawn from his surroundings and his Icelandic heritage. He got his education mostly in Iceland. In 2011 -2012 he studied under the great Norwegian master painter Odd Nerdrum. In 2019 Mýrmann graduated with a master degree from UCA, one of UK‘s leading design and art school, where he won a prize at the BAMS Student Medal Project held by the British Art Medal Society and the British Museum. Mýrmann has participated in various group exhibitions and held over twenty single shows. His work can be found in private collection in Iceland, USA, UK, Australia and Norway. 

 

 

2- What is your artistic specialize?

.My speciality is oil painting, where I combine old masters technique and newer method, like All Prima etc, The work is mostly driven by an interest in human psychology, Icelandic culture and the nature that surrounds me. I use a toolbox of aesthetics containing alchemy, symbolism, romanticism, mysticism, shamanism and my heritage.

 

 

3- When and how did you become interested in this field of art?

.At very young age, I have always been creating in some form, remember when I was about 9, I was looking through a master painter book, and then it hit me. Something went through me and woke my interest in painting, especially romanticism and the sublime. Of course The child mind could not understand how it was possible to create such wonders on a flat surface, but it got me curious, but later on with hard work, blood, sweat and tears, and a lot of discipline I got some of the answers I was looking for, yet still looking. It is impossible to graduate from creation.

 

 

4- Who was your motivator?

.I come from Iceland, a small mystical and gloomy Island in the north. There is a long list of cultural traditions and folk traditionally make references to three major elements of the Icelandic nation: The landscape, the rich literature and the old sagas.  

 

As stated before my work is heavily influenced by six major factors. Romanticism, as it is concerned with the expression of individual feelings and emotions, and also because it is concerned with the glorification of nature, the power in life, the unpredictable, the destructive and the sublime. 

Symbolism is also a big factor, representing an idea expressed in my paintings. Symbolism represents things and ideas through objects, characters, the meaning of something, feelings and stories. 

 

Alchemy is a very important factor as its speculative philosophy aims to achieve a transmission both from physical materials and spiritual matters. Changing one thing into another, and the idea that everything around us contains a spirit. 

 

Mysticism, as it is concerned with a higher consciousness and identifies with divinity and spirit. 

 

Heritage, because it asks fundamental questions such as: Who am I? Where do I come from? What are my traditions? How do I fit into society? Why should we preserve our cultural heritage and why is that important? Heritage is much more than just keeping, restoring and displaying old things and traditions. It is also about how we identify elements, as in art, heritage should be reflective and have open discussions and debate. Cultural heritage is not limited to material objects that can been seen and touched, it also consists of elements such as history, knowledge, traditions, craftsmanship, and rituals, to name a few. 

Last but not least, I've been looking into shamanism as it relates to creativity, feelings and thinking. It is an ancient way to connect with nature and all creation and shamanism is known for its emphasis on altered states of consciousness.

 

In my own work I use symbols in a narrative manner: The Icelandic sheep, cows, ravens, boats, ships, and the grim Icelandic nature, earth and other elements. Those things and figures represent my inner feelings and thoughts more than the object itself, asking 

questions such as:  What defines me as a person and artist? Is it my taste? My experience?

What surrounds me and shapes my being and attitudes?I believe art should always be more concerned with deeper meaning and stories rather than focusing so much on the sublime and concept. The concept should be there naturally, not forced upon us. The beauty can also be seen in the ugliness. What does that mean? Perhaps that it evokes feelings in us that we can not always explain. Does that relate both to our heritage and culture? Creatingtakes us back to the historical roots, artwork should always have a meaning, have interactions with the human spirit.

 

 

5- What was your parent’s reaction?

.I don’t even know if anybody cared early on, people didn’t believe in it I think, many people put me  down, the old saying, “you are never gonna make living out of it” “ You are a dreamer etc”  but I did and I am a living proof that day dreaming is not only a thought. Today many people seem to be very proud of me, something to do with my stubbornness, and ever lacking motivation to rule my art quest and my painting kingdom, that I have created for my self. For me art is a way to cope with live, loneliness, all the pain and struggles. My mind is my studio, and my studio is my sanctuary.

 

 

6- When started you such as a professional Artist-Illustrator/Painter?

 

.My professional career started around 15 years ago most likely, maybe earlier. But it has been a rough and long road, I have lost things on the way, and live has scarred me deeply, but I feel very humble and full of gratitude. People are starting to notice me, and my work is getting a lot of attention these days. It should always be about the work, more than the person, tho it is sometimes hard to separate it. I think it is very sad that sometimes the person is put on a higher view than their work, to me it is a mirror on our society and a reminder, that we live in mediocre times, or worse, under mediocrity.

 

7- Are you thankful and happy because of your activities as an artist?

 

.I would like to think so, I am true to my visions and believes. I don’t follow any trends, that are fashionable at the moment. For me that is a sign of weakness and fear. Fear of being your self and not have a voice of your own.

People will see through that, and what have helped my the most I think is that I don’t settle and always aim higher, maybe I am a true artist after all, its in the eyes of others, and there is nothing I can say or do to affect that besides my work. The most important thing , being a professional painter is not getting payed for your work though it helps a lot haha.

What is more important is to put something out there, having a voice in cultural society and leave something behind.

 

 

8- How you see the view for art, painting and future of culture?

 

.That is a really good question. Creation will never die, it is weaved in us, no matter where we are from, our gender, beliefs, our cultural status, non of that matters, But the displaying foundation is chancing a lot, the hole world is in the smartphones, computer etc. It is hard for small galleries to thrive, and a lot of the museums are struggling I guess, at least here in Iceland. I was working in a well established museum for seven years, we rarely had young visitors coming on their own, sad but true. The big government institutes will perhaps thrive, but the smaller ones will have hard times and many will vanish in the near future.

 

 

9-Why do some paintings become immortal?

.I absolutely love this question.  The answer is easy and can be answered with two words, Connections and truth

If people can relate emotionally to things, the things ask questions, but we don’t  always have all the answers, then it stays with us. I don’t think there are really masterpieces out there, only greatly emotionally balanced things, bad or good.

Great artwork doesn’t have much to do with technique and so on. It is all about what it is trying to tell us. For example the art of Anselm Kiefer, very ugly paintings really, but they are telling us the truth.

 

 

10- Can you become one part of the artistic-cultural movement for motivation in youth or new generation in your country and so than?

 

.Hopefully, With enlightenment letting the youth know that they don’t have to settle and lower their expectations, just because society is so rotten and everything is based upon fear and our culture wants us to follow a certain path. My message is don’t go with the flow if you don’t want to, it is a tough lesson to swim against society, but it is so worth it in the long run.

 Also I would tell the young people to dig deeper for the truth and what really matters. Don’t let others control you, your taste, belonging, desires and the whole freedom basically. Embrace your self, love your self first without arrogance, it has taken me my whole life to get to that point. The only thing that can make us happy, is the moment when we can go out from our selves and see things how we are, and how things affects everything. Then first we can be truly happy and in peace with everything, especially our selves.

 

 

11- How can you help our world become a better place to live?

 

.No matter our cultural background, religious views or social status, we all have some things in common, we all want to be loved and admired, we all have stories to tell. I think everyone can be an artist and anything can be art as long as a maker provides the world with something genuine and real. All kids are artists, it is only when we become older that we start to lose our roots. Perhaps that is why we are always trying to find inner peace and attach a meaning to everything. I recognise that life has given me something special, I give gifts in the form of arts and crafts,  and make attempt to make the invisible visible. I also try to figure out ways for my paintings to evoke feelings and make others feel an aura in my artwork.

 

 

12- Have you more word to say or suggestion for our readers?

 

.Love and piece to all

 

Mýrmann