Introducing...The wild and native illustration and design of Iceland's Siggi Odds
- Liv Siddall
- 27 March 2013
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.
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.
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.
About the Author
Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print and events, and was latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.