Four questions to Steingrímur Gauti

Four questions to Steingrímur Gauti

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Born in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1986, Steingrímur Gauti completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Iceland University of Arts in 2015. Having previously studied at The Reykjavík School of Visual Arts and Universitat der Kunste Berlin, Steingrímur has gained some notice in recent years for his large-scale abstract paintings, and his activity in the Icelandic art scene. He has exhibited consistently both nationally and internationally and has works in both public and private collections in Iceland, Europe, USA, and Asia.How did you get into art?

I got into art at a very young age. As a child and throughout my teens, I was constantly drawing - everything I saw or what interested me. The idea of becoming a full-time artist didn't occur to me until my twenties. I did a foundation year at The Reykjavík School of Visual Arts, and my plan was always to go into architecture, but during my time there I really fell in love with painting. I graduated with a BFA from the Iceland University of the Arts in 2015, including a stint at UdK in Berlin.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

My work primarily involves creating diverse surfaces, patterns, and structures. While mostly monochromatic, my paintings incorporate minimal visible mark-making and subtle nuances. Despite the abstract nature, I integrate line drawing, bits of text, and vague symbolism to evoke a cryptic impression. My focus lies on direct experience, simplicity, and leaving questions open-ended. I’m not really a storyteller - my work is much more visceral. There can be a lot of history behind it, but you don’t have to know it to receive it. It’s just like with music. You don’t need to know the score of a symphony to enjoy it - you can just enjoy the sounds.How do you go about developing your work?

My creative process is very instinctual. There usually isn’t any plan. There aren’t any mistakes and I try to never regret a decision I have made. I emphasize a meditative aspect through repetition and have become deeply familiar with my techniques. It's a continuous, natural flow. For me, making art is a non-intellectual, body-centered, emotional process. The intellectual part comes after. What I’m really going for is to evoke feelings of excitement, peace, or curiosity. Good art does that to you. It creates an animalistic, genuine reaction. It’s about capturing these real moments and trying to transfer that energy into something new. Most of the time it is a complete accident.

Who or what influences you?

Inspiration usually comes naturally while working with my hands. The act of painting for me is a way of communicating something that I am unable to put into words. I dont really think and paint - I am just in it, being natural and reacting. In the past few years, spiritual practices have influenced my work quite a bit. As a Zen student, I try to emphasize emptiness and non-attachment to results. This perspective allows me to experience the world directly, free from any ego interference.Learn more about the artist: