What is art? Follow me as I uncover unique hidden art in Reykjavik by looking in some unexpected places. Despite what some may believe, art is extremely personal and I’m a firm believer that there isn’t a right or wrong way to appreciate art. I think art is all around us and once you strip away the pretentiousness usually associated with art, you can see its real beauty.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
Walk Down a Street: You never know where you’ll find art, whether hanging on a wall inside an ice cream store (see first pic) or alongside the main street in Reykjavik. One of my all time favorite pieces of hidden art in Reykjavik is maybe not so hidden. If you’ve walked down Laugavegur, then you’ve probably seen Roots by Steinnun Thorarinsodottir. There’s something incredibly sad and yet, hauntingly familiar every time I see them.
TSG Tip: Want to see more of Steinunn’s work? Walk over to the Radisson Blu 1919 and you’ll see more pieces adorning the walls inside the lobby. Now that’s really hidden art of Reykjavik.
Go Out for Pizza: I don’t know about you, but this piece is frightening and probably isn’t someone’s typical idea of art. You’ll find this creepy clown lamp sitting on a shelf inside the dimly lit Pizza with No Name in Reykjavik. But be careful as you can’t see his hands, which are probably wielding a knife or some other weapon.
Pizza with No Name
Hverfisgata 12, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Have a Drink at a Tiki Bar: A tiki bar in Iceland? Absolutely! The entire tiki themed Bar Ananas is covered in what some might call art and others might find questionable. But this place is fun and different and it will keep your eyes satisfied as you search out more of what’s on the walls all around you. Oh yeah, and they serve great cocktails, too.
Klapparstigur 38, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Walk Through a Small Park: On the way to BSI Terminal to grab the coach to Thórsmörk, I discovered this green space across from BSI that I didn’t even know existed. This perfectly manicured space was filled with assorted statues, including Pomona.
Look at Everyday Items Differently: Even a fire hydrant can be art. This one was an unusual yellow and red combination and was adorned with a crown of flowers.
Look Behind a Museum: Behind the Ásmundarsafn building of the Reykjavik Art Museum in Laugardalur, you’ll spot many of Ásmundur Sveinsson’s sculptures. I’ve visited Reykjavik several times and never knew that his former home is now part of the museum system. You can walk up to and around each of them and really take them in. I have always liked the “Water Carrier.” She looks like every woman who struggles to get through the day.
TSG Tip: The “Water Carrier” wasn’t originally considered beautiful enough to be on display in the heart of the city. She sat on a hill in Öskjuhlíd until 2011, when she was moved to Bankastraeti and Laekjargata in the center of Reykjavik where she now stands proudly as a reminder of the hardships of her people.
Reykjavik Art Museum Ásmundarsafn
105, Sigtún, Reykjavík, Iceland
Look Around When Taking the Bus in Hlemmur: If you’re catching a bus in Hlemmur, then you might spot this horse statue called Klyfjahestur, a mare with her foal. I love the playful head tilt of the foal, which was added in 1984.
Near Rauðarárstígur 15, Reykjavík, Iceland
Look Down on the Street Beneath Your Feet: Whether the Reykjavik emblem embedded into the sidewalk a decorative manhole cover, or a crazy looking pastel colored serpent, you can find hidden art like this almost anywhere if you just look.
You can find this crazy looking serpent on the street opposite Joylato.
Look All Around for Street Art: The walls of Reykjavik are adorned with street art of all kinds. From stunning murals covering the entire sides of buildings.
To what I thought was a randomly drawn image, but was actually created by Wild Welva, a street artist based in Huelva, Spain.
While this may be a less artistic rendition of a cityscape, this one earns points for using a word that I admit is frequently woven throughout most of my conversations.
Look Up When Inside a Restaurant: While inside Public House Gastropub, I spotted Piggy Smalls on the wall. Even this vegan can find humor in a tatted up swine with an attitude.
Public House Gastropub
Laugavegur 24, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Even Street Signs Can Be Considered Art: No stick figures here as you can see what appears to be a man walking a child in the first sign. I found a small action figure on top of a street sign and he appeared on duty, protecting both the sign and the neighborhood.
These are just a few examples of the hidden and not so hidden art of Reykjavik. I’m at my happiest when I travel and see something beautiful in nature or in art. Like everyone else, I’m always trying to discover more about myself and the rest of the world. Or as Madonna said:
I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.
Have you discovered hidden art in Reykjavik? Let me know in the comments below. Visiting Iceland soon? Read my posts on Iceland here.