• Opinion-lead

    What can we learn from Iceland’s creative community…

Opinion

Opinion: What we can learn from Iceland's creative community

Posted by Liv Siddall,

This week, fresh from her visit to Reykjavik’s Design March, assistant editor Liv Siddall shares some thoughts on Iceland’s creative community, and suggests that we could maybe learn a thing or two. As ever, you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

I have spent the last four days in Iceland which has a population of a fairly minuscule 320,000. In the windy, blue-skied capital city of Reykjavik, the artistic community is thriving — from small studios in old harbour warehouses, to the breathtaking creative hub that is the Harpa building, there is simply no shortage of spaces filled with keen, artistic minds. In cities bursting at the seams with millions of residents, there is never a shortage of often incredible creative activity knocking around, but it’s usually approached in a slightly different way.

In urban environments, many choose the artistic pathway for financial or even fame-hungry reasons.

Making artwork in a big city is basically like standing on a chair and going “look at meeee!” to a room full of people until they all turn around, which is not necessarily a bad way of going about things. In Iceland, with less cut-throat competition and far fewer people doing similar things as them, young artists are really only making work for the sheer joy of creating and doing it with far less pressure.

Their working environment is also unlike that of a major city; little Reykjavik is surrounded by enormous snow-topped mountains, electric blue seas and vast expanses of empty land, encouraging their work to be influenced by nature in a way that I have never come across before. Almost every piece of work I saw in the four days of being in Iceland was, in some way, inspired by the natural world, and that was fascinating.

So how important is the city you live in when you’re trying to make work? Is it better to spend your career in a healthy but very, very small community of artists or trying your luck in the grit and thrill of an enormous city? Seeing the nature of these working environments, and the serenity and happiness of the artists in Iceland, I think I’d personally be tempted to go with the former.

comments powered by Disqus
Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Main

    We’ve been posting music-related art and design articles on It’s Nice That since the very beginning. In fact the first music video ever posted on It’s Nice That is this one by Koichiro Tsujikawa back in May 2007. Since then we’ve covered countless festival posters and identities, record sleeves, band logos, ad campaigns and tour photography amongst pretty much every other kind of music-related content you can think of, barring only reviewing music itself.

  2. Opinion-list

    This week editor James Cartwright wonders whether it was right to remove the Chapman Brothers’ controversial sculpture Piggyback from a Roman gallery or whether it’s an affront to creative freedoms. As ever your comments are welcome below…

  3. List

    Last week we were duped into running a project on the site that turned out to be a hoax. Here Rob Alderson explains what happened and why it’s left an unsavoury taste, while James Cartwright disagrees and congratulates the artist on a spoof well done. As ever you can leave your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  4. List

    Two weeks ago we featured DesignStudio’s Airbnb logo. One week ago copywriter Rob Mitchell of We All Need Words wrote an Opinion piece calling for an end to convoluted brand stories. His article was cheered by some people and incensed others; Sam Peskin and Liam Hamill of VentureThree want to have their say and defend brand strategy. Again you can add your views using the comment thread below…

  5. List

    We were pretty impressed with the new Airbnb logo when it launched last week, but for a different perspective, here’s Rob Mitchell from We All Need Words. He tells us why he’s had enough of “over-cooked brand stories masquerading as strategy” and as ever you can add your thoughts below…

  6. List

    In light of our recent changes and the launch of the new-look Design Observer, Rob Alderson reflects on design websites’ redesigns. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and we’re particularly keen to hear what you’re making of our new look!

  7. List

    This week James Cartwright wonders what the V&A is up to with its policy of “Rapid Response Collecting” and whether it really marks a shift in their curation policy. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

  8. List

    This week Rob Alderson considers the aftermath of the disastrous Robin Thicke Twitter Q&A and wonders how it was ever signed off when what was going to happen seemed entirely predictable. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

  9. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what makes a good group show. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be, or are they poised for failure? Tell us what you think of them and which you’ve been to that were especially brilliant or terrible in the comments section below.

  10. Main

    This week online editor Liv Siddall wonders if anyone actually enjoys the huge amount of wacky summertime events that are on offer in London. As always your comments and opinions are welcome below.

  11. Main

    This week, editor Liv Siddall gets excited about the upcoming ELCAF festival in London, and tells you all sternly why YES it is very important that we keep going to live events surrounding graphic arts and comics.

  12. Top

    This week Nat Hunter, director of design at The Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (RSA) and a trustee of D&AD, welcomes awards being given to projects that make a real difference. It might mark, she believes, a fundamental shift in the design world. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  13. Main

    This week our Editorial Assistant Madeleine Morley reflects on her four weeks at It’s Nice That but wonders if the fast turnover of creative content online is really a good thing. Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to join in the conversation below.