The Icelandic painter Tolli makes beauty and mystique at the same time. His paintings are almost like from another world.
“When I was a child, I was often drawing and painting when my friends were playing football,” says Þorlákur Kristinsson, also known as Tolli. He grew up in Reykjavík where you can see mountains, the sea and of course the endless sky almost from everywhere. The nature is on the doorstep of the city.
At 15 years old he dropped the pencil as rock n’ roll, love and drugs took over. For several years, Tolli worked for example as a sailor and in freezing plants in the country where the nature often has a great influence on Icelanders. “I learned a lot these years; I got to know Iceland and Icelanders. And I got to know the power and the beauty of the nature, something that had a big impression on me.” When Tolli started to work as a painter, that impression had a big influence.
Tolli was 24 years old when he decided to do what he had dreamt for years: From 1977 to 1982 he studied in The Icelandic College of Art and Crafts. In 1983, he moved to Berlin in Germany to study in Hochschule der Künste for one year. The man who tought him the most at that time was Professor K. H. Hodice. Since then, Tolli has worked as a painter.
Tolli emerged as one of the instigators of the New Painting in the early 1980s.
“My paintings have changed a lot since then. At that time, my paintings were in expressionistic style – dark and gloomy – and the first years after gradutation, people by the sea were the main topic.”
Tolli says his paintings changed a lot after he went to rehab. “I got to know “Sweat lodge” and then I started to paint a series I call Warriors of the Spirit; there are pictures with shamanic overtones, chromatic and symbolic.”
Then the landscape took over. Sometimes Tolli paints vacant farms in the mystical landscape. There is a kind of magic in his paintings.
“I began to practice Buddism 15 years ago and since then, there is more peace and balance in my paintings.”
Tolli works in a large studio at Héðinsgata in Reykjavík where he has a very good exhibition space, that receives individuals and groups.
“In January I exhibit my paintings in the Gallery Kunsthandell in Copenhagen. Then I’ll exhibit in the Faroe Islands during Ólavsøka in a gallery in Klakksvik.”
Tolli’s paintings represent the Icelandic nature, full of beauty and mystique and seem to belong to another world.
Photos by Arnaldur Halldórsson.
For more information about Tolli and his paintings visit www.tolli.is or follow him on Facebook.
Tags: artist, Icelandic art, Tolli
Svava Jónsdóttir, who is Icelandic, has worked as a journalist for the past 23 years and has written three books. She has a BA-degree in Spanish and literature, a diploma in journalism, a teaching certification and a diploma in international relations. She is also a member of the board of the United Nations Association of Iceland. Her interests? Literature and music; she studied music for about a decade. And she likes to travel.
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