Street Art in Reykjavik 2017

A trip to Iceland provided a rare opportunity to discover some of the street art in Reykjavik, some of which was arguably world class. Familiar names – including Herakut and Phlegm – were there along with others that were new to us. A previous music-related event had apparently led to the creation of a number of large and impressive works related to specific songs. But some were either hard to find or obscured by fences around building works. I’ve a strong memory of walking about a kilometre one morning through a rain swept dock area looking for a spectacular ‘girl riding a moth’ image. But the map I’d downloaded was so poorly labelled that I could not find it until I eventually hired a cab to ferry me around. The effort, however, was certainly worthwhile as I’ve seldom seen such an original image rendered with such skill. More frustrating still was an image of a blue-suited cyberpunk figure against a scarlet wall with the bottom half obscured by wooden panels placed around the site. It would not have been hard for the contractors to replace some of the plywood with viewing panels.

Such quibbles aside there’s a wealth of new and interesting work scattered around the city, some of which are well worth the time and effort to find them. What would be useful to interested visitors with little time to spare would be a printed map showing the location of some of the best work. Given the number of people we saw snapping images of more accessible pieces this would surely be appreciated. Perhaps the city museum or art gallery could reach out, as happens in some other places, and see street art as a valuable addition to what this remarkable place already has to offer.