When you have done our two other self-walking tours of Graffiti in Reykjavik City Center and West Side Editions, you can do this part. Or you could begin with this part, that’s quite all right too!
For this portion, you will need a vehicle to get between places. It can be a car, bus, electric scooter, or bicycle. You could also walk it if you want, but it is pretty spread out, so just be warned!
Edda Karólína Ævarsdóttir
What better way to start a tour than by stopping at a café? On Laugarnesvegur 74a is the coffee house Kaffi Laugalækur. On the outside is a mural by Edda Karólína Ævarsdóttir. She’s made a name for herself as a muralist and artist in Iceland.
Driving outside Reykjavik, you might see an artwork not far from Mount Esja on an old factory wall. It says, “Flatus lifir” – Flatus lives. No one knows who started the graffiti, but it dates back to the 1980s and was later adopted by the Iceland University of the Arts a few years back. Every few years, the University gets an artist to repaint the mural, and the newest version is by Edda Karólína.
She’s a part of an artist group called Fúsk and resides in an old fertilizer plant in Gufunes in Grafarvogur.
The café is very family-friendly and has excellent food and coffee, of course.
On the corner of Laugalækur and Sundlaugavegur, you will find artwork by French artist Kraak-N. It was actually real graffiti, that is, illegally done, but the garage owners were thrilled with it, so they will keep it as long as possible.
The artist’s works revolve around the mythical being Kraken (created by H.P Lovecraft), and this artwork is one of several they did while traveling in Iceland.
The residents’ first thought was to paint over it when they heard about the graffiti, but when they saw it, they decided against it.
On the other side of the street, you will find the Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool. A good swimming pool to soak in a hot tub or use the slide. We recommend checking out the Reykjavik City Card if you’re going to use swimming pools or visit museums in Reykjavik.
Arnór Kári and Stefán Óli
The next artwork is down by the industrial harbor at Korngarðar 12. The painting is by Arnór Kári and Stefán Óli, but you will have seen a few other artworks by them in our other two walking tours: West Side Edition and City Centre Edition.
By the psychiatric hospital Kleppur, you will find artwork by Kailash Youze. You will also have seen a few artworks by him on our other walking tours, such as at the car park on Bergstaðastræti.
Juan Pictures Art
On a walking path by Hólmasund 20 is an artwork by Juan Pictures Art on the side of a garage. Technically the artwork is by Njörvasund 2, but it is more easily viewed from Hólmasund.
Juan Pictures Art also has a few other artworks on our other walking tours, for example, the mural on the LGBTQIA+ bar Kiki.
A bit further up the walking path by Njörvasund 12a is another artwork by Juan Pictures Art and then again by Efstasund 85.
Now you need to make your way to Réttarholtsvegur 21-25. It is the Réttarholtsskóli elementary school, and on the side of the building is a mural by Elín Hansdóttir.
Elín is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersections of installation, sculpture, and photography. We recommend checking out her artwork Himinglæva outside Harpa Concert Hall. It is an abstract artwork that sings when the wind blows around it.
Her website says that her artwork thrusts the viewer into a liminal uncertainty about what they are perceiving and why it feels subtly different. Elín draws out the viewer’s reflexive awareness of their presence with the aesthetic encounter.
Next up: Breiðholt suburb. In Krummahólar 2, you can see a massive mural by artist Ragnar Kjarnsson.
Ragnar is primarily known as a performance artist and has held multiple exhibitions all over the world. He does engage in multiple artistic mediums, such as video installations, performances, drawings, and paintings that incorporate the history of film, music, visual culture, and literature. A common theme is humor. He was also the singer of the Icelandic band Trabant.
Once when Yoko Ono came to Iceland to turn on the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island, she asked various artists to make artwork dedicated to her. Ragnar was one of those artists. He recreated the drink Yoko’s character in The Simpsons asked for when she joined Homer at Moe’s: A Single Plum, Floating in Perfume, Served in a Man’s Hat.
On the side of the apartment building at Álftahólar 4 is a huge mural by world-famous artist Erró. It is called Réttlætisgyðjan, or the Goddess of Righteousness.
Guðmundur Guðmundsson, better known as Erró, was born in Ólafsvík, North Iceland, in 1932. He’s a visual artist and painter and is best known for colossal pop art collages, which generally have some political criticism embedded in them.
Erró gave Reykjavik the mural in 2014.
In Austurberg 3, you will find another artwork by him, given to the city at the same time. The mural is called Frumskógardrottningin, or the Queen of the Forest.
In Jórufell 2, you will find a large mural at the house’s gable by Theresa Himmer called Birtingarmynd or Manifestation.
Theresa was born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1976. She graduated from the Whitney Museum Independent Study program, has an MFA from the School of Visual Arts (New York), and March from the Aarhus School of Architecture.
On the side of one of the bigger apartment buildings in Reykjavik, you will find artwork by Sara Riel. Sara has numerous other artworks, which you can see in the other two walking tours; City Center and West Side. The address of the house is Asparfell 2-12.
In the underground tunnel at Vesturberg 76, you can see another artwork by Elín Hansdóttir. This artwork messes a bit with your perception of how the tunnel looks in real life, but it is pretty cool.
And this concludes our third and final tour of graffiti in Reykjavik. We hope you liked it!
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