• Hero
Art

Introducing...The wild and native illustration and design of Iceland's Siggi Odds

Posted by Liv Siddall,

The title of this article suggests that Siggi Odds’ work may be slightly weird, which some may think is a little harsh. But the weird thing about his consistently brilliant work is that it is not inspired by Iceland, the country where he currently resides, it is actually inspired by the native Canadian artwork of his childhood home in Vancouver.

From record sleeves to altered photographs, from beer label designs to more sculptural work, it’s actually quite hard to pigeonhole Siggi into a genre – he’s kind of gone and created his own. To find someone who is as much a brilliant and daring artist as he is a commercial designer is an absolute joy, and we’re absolutely sure he’s on set for bigger and better things. So, without further ado, here he is…

Where do you work?

I live and work in Reykjavík, Iceland where I work as an art director at an agency called Jónsson & Le’macks, but most of my independent design and illustration work is created in my home studio space (pictured).

How does your working day start?

A shower, a banana and then a quick walk in the brisk wind to the studio. It’s only a ten minute walk or so, but even in the darkness of winter the hard northern wind will really wake you up. I usually grab a cup of coffee on my way. I start my day off going through my favourite blogs and twitter and answering urgent email and then after another cup or two I turn all that off and dive in to work.

Where would we find you when you’re not at work?

Swimming and steam bathing in my local pool, Vesturbæjarlaugin, working on my electronic music project, Japam, eating out, having beers with my friends, watching Frasier with my girlfriend, dreaming of a beach.

Would you intern for yourself?

Yes, I would totally trust myself to intern for me, I would ask myself to take care of some well paying, less creative, long-term projects, so I can get on with doing more fun illustration projects and vinyl covers and the such. But then again, I probably wouldn’t agree to that so no.

Inspiration?

I have phases, periods of time, where I’m very interested in something specific, for example space, time, leaves, rocks, history or dinosaurs and I will try to connect everything to that conceptually. For instance, I recently completed a project in which I immersed myself into the idea of a fourth dimension, and how to translate that into three and two dimensions. 

Aesthetically I am obviously heavily influenced by aboriginal art, as well as some mid-century masters such as Matisse and Arp. But I also take influence from more modern sources, fashion and textiles for instance, as well as photography. I am always interested in images that both complicate and simplify at the same time.

  • Siggi

    Siggi Odds: Workspace

  • 3

    Siggi Odds: Siggi Odds:

How do you work and how has it changed?

It depends on the project of course, as I do everything from one-off illustration projects to art direction and full on branding projects. But they all have this in common: I usually start with lists of words and sentences that I think are important to the project, illustrated with random sketches, thoughts, shapes and potential ideas. A conversation with somebody about it is usually also beneficial. 

From then I usually try to take a break from it and most of the time, the actual idea comes when I’m not in front of it, when I’m walking or in the sauna or going to sleep. Then when I have the idea, I usually do a round of rough sketches and then dive into the actual execution, where the projects can sometimes take drastic turns. 

I would say that my way of working has changed from sometimes diving too soon straight into sketching or even starting the actual execution too early from the first thing that pops up into my head, into allowing the idea to be formed organically and setting in. That has made me more confident in my ideas and therefrom the execution as well.

  • 1

    Siggi Odds: Holiday Calendar

  • 5

    Siggi Odds: Eymundsson Pseudoscience

  • 7

    Siggi Odds: Illustration for Víking Sumaröl

  • 8

    Siggi Odds: esign and art direction for the album Fearless by Legend

  • 10

    Siggi Odds: CD cover for Kron Kron, Reykjavík’s premier fashion boutique.

  • 11

    Siggi Odds: Illustration on a photograph taken on a foggy night on a black beach.

  • 13

    Siggi Odds: Cover art for Mesópótamía, by Icelandic band Sykur.

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Michaelcraig-martin-onbeinganartist-istnicethat-list

    In some circumstances, calling a book On Being An Artist would seem pretentious and pompous, but if anyone knows about being an artist, it’s Michael Craig-Martin. Over his extraordinary career he has studied with Chuck Close and Richard Serra, met the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, John Cage and Charles Saatchi, had work shown at Tate Modern, the Pompidou Centre and MoMA, and taught some of the YBAs’ leading lights including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

  2. Ricco_maresca_mexican_pulp_art_its_nice_that_list_2

    Ballsy, bizarre and a little bit racy, these Mexican pulp fiction book covers are fantastic fun and epitomise our need for a bit of weird naughtiness. The kitsch-factor is overwhelming as scantily clad women run away in terror, a man in purple spandex is surrounded by adoring cats and giant robots menacingly pick up shiny red cars.

    As part of an exhibition at New York gallery Ricco Maresca held earlier this year, the collection is a celebration of pulp paperbacks released in Mexico during the 60s and 70s. Many of the artists remain unidentified which is a shame as some of these are absolute gems. Without book titles, there’s no context for the artwork and we’re left with the ordinary and extraordinary crashing into each other in glorious fashion. According to Ricco Maresca, there’s a key difference between Mexican pulp art and the American pulp art coming out at the same time. As well as the drama and sauciness, much of Mexican pulp art prominently featured violence, sci-fi, psychedelia, and crime, making it all the more outrageous.

  3. Yayoi-kusama-itsnicethat-list

    Yayoi Kusama is one of few artists who is seems to be without comparison. Her new exhibition, Give Me Love takes place at New York’s David Zwirner gallery, and features a collection of her enormous brightly coloured canvases. Their sunny dispositions are undercut with titles which reveal a more disquieting undertone for example I Who Cry in the Flowering Season, or I Am Dying Now There the Death Is. In another room a series of her bulging Pumpkin sculptures, reminiscent of decaying fruit in spite of their metallic sheen and polka dot finish, reinforces the juxtaposition of the joyous and the sinister.

  4. Brest_history_and_chips_it's_nice_that_list

    Imagine a John Stezaker collage let loose in the kitchen and you’ve got the History and Chips series from Brest Brest Brest. With a portfolio that includes a poster of Elvis Presley’s face emerging from a melting ice cream, the graphic design studio based in the south of France couldn’t fail to pique our interest. For their playful History and Chips collages, Rémy Poncet and Arnaud Jarsaillon have raided the fridge and dressed up classic movie stills and vintage portraits with everything from smoked salmon and mustard, to ham and pineapple. A testament to the fact that food makes everything better, these old pictures are given a new lease of life thanks to a little bubblegum and a wry sense of humour.

  5. Olafur_eliasson_the_weather_project_it's_nice_that

    This week the most visited modern and contemporary art museum in the world celebrates its 15 year anniversary. After its transformation from derelict power station to beloved beacon of British culture, Tate Modern has defined a generation and helped open art to the everyman. Here, we look at some of the top moments over the last decade and a half at Britain’s leading arts institution.

  6. Kings-cross-pond-ooze-architects-its-nice-that-list

    I’ve slid down an art installation before thanks to Carsten Höller, and I’ve frolicked about in a room full of balloons thanks to Martin Creed, but never before had I literally swum in art until this morning. Bright and early, there I was shivering in art, thanks to a bathing pond art installation in a building site in London’s King’s Cross. The piece, formally known as Of Soil and Water: the King’s Cross Pond Club , was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč, and takes the form of a natural, chemical-free pool, complete with plants and bushes. And who knows what else – I didn’t dare think what one day could be lurking in there after the maggoty old python Hampstead Heath ponds story of a few years back. 

  7. List

    They wowed us in 2010 with their pop-up cinema in an old petrol station in Clerkenwell, The Cineroleum, and the following year they won us over with Folly for a Flyover in Hackney Wick. Now, after 15 years of transforming unusual spaces, the east London collective Assemble has been shortlisted for the 2015 Turner Prize for the revival of a cluster of derelict terraced houses in Liverpool, Granby Four Streets. Borne out of the DIY-culture and the flurry of pop-ups like Bold Tendencies that took London by storm a few years ago, the collective of 18 designers and architects is an exciting choice, and a first for the often sensational art prize.

  8. List-erik-kessels-unfinished-father_002-its-nice-that

    Kesselskramer co-founder Erik Kessels’ side projects usually seem light-hearted: take his book Attack of the Giant Fingers, for instance. His latest project, though, has a decidedly more serious slant, having been borne of his father suffering a stroke. For the project, named Unfinished Father, Erik looked to his pa’s passion for restoring Fiat 500 (Topolino) cars. Prior to his stroke, Kessels senior was halfway through completing his fifth of such restorations, but it was left unfinished since the attack left him barely able to move or speak.

  9. List-jeremy-deller-vinyl-factory-venice-biennale-its-nice-that

    All-round superdude Jeremy Deller has created a jukebox for the Venice Biennale. But instead of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way or other pub staples like Russ Abbott’s Atmosphere, it plays only the sounds of factories. Cleverly named Factory Records, the piece contains 40 seven-inch records, each of which features the ambient sound of a different factory. Visitors to the piece can put on whichever they fancy, and if they really like it, they will be able to buy the sounds as a limited-edition box set designed by Deller with Fraser Muggeridge and released by The Vinyl Factory. The work continues Deller’s ongoing investigations into English working-class concerns, and links to his Venice Biennale performative piece, which uses archive materials to look at factory working conditions from the 19th Century to the present day.

  10. Robertnicol-itsnicethat-list

    It’s been a few years now since we posted the work of artist, illustrator and Camberwell tutor Robert Nicol, but our tardiness only means there’s a heap of new work for us to enjoy in his portfolio. From paintings to book covers, editorial illustrations to ceramic sculptures, Rob’s able to turn his versatile talents to a number of different ends. It’s interesting to look at his work together and see how he can amplify or refine certain traits depending on the job in hand. So we have his wonderful paintings where bold colours and surreal characters are given free rein, contrasted with his stylish book covers where hints of narrative achieve a lot in a quieter context.

  11. List--itsnicethat-ppic0035_picasso

    It’s always great to see another side of the biggest names in art, and in this selection of posters from artists including Picasso, Henri Matisse, Yves Klein and Le Corbusier, our curiosity is amply satisfied. These masters’ works have been drawn together for a London exhibition showcasing lithographic posters from the archive of Galerie Mourlot, which originated in Paris but now calls New York its home. Each of the posters is lithograph printed, and all are fascinating; many showing a looser style to the ones we’re so familiar with from these big names.

  12. Christophniemann-esgibtnichtgutes-itsnicethat-list

    My colleague Emily Gosling wrote a great piece for the latest issue of our Printed Pages magazine in which she called out the patent nudity of the emperor by saying that in reality, the creative process can be pretty dull to witness. Obviously that’s not to say that we want to see slick creative work with all traces of the artist removed; in fact in our digitally-defined age we delight in being able to see the spirit of the image-maker writ large.

  13. Kristoffersonsanpablo-itsnicethat-list

    If you like Eric Yahnker – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then you’re really going to enjoy the work of Kristofferson San Pablo, a Filipino artist now based in Los Angeles. His work takes an ironic look at popular culture, lampooning it for its absurdity, but also acknowledging its utter infectiousness. Kristofferson’s strange pencil drawings and luxurious paintings eroticise Simpsons characters, destroy our lust for celebrities and ridicule the stars of reality television, making sure that when surveying the modern world our tongues are kept firmly in cheek.