Bjork, Sigur Ros, yeah you guessed it, Sveinbjörn Pálsson is from Iceland, but he didn't mention those bands in the interview. He made me the great pleasure to tell me he was currently listening to A-ha; I don't know why but every time I meet one of those nothern guys I have to ask them about A-ha or Europe, too bad no Europe with Sveinbjörn, but at least I have te definite proof that everybody close to Santa Klaus country is a A-ha fan ;) !!!
La Valse De Amelie by Zoom-On-A-Kill. Before that some A-ha.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Sveinbjörn Pálsson. I'm from Reykjavik, Iceland. I grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden. I'm a graphic designer, and I'm currently studying Typeface design at KABK in The Hague, Netherlands. I've been doing many things, I DJ'ed ( http://www.terrordisco.com/ ), hosted a radio show ( http://funkthatturinn.com/?page_id=112 ), edited a magazine, was in a band, but mostly I've been doing graphic design for the last 12 years. Currently I sit in a small room in and draw letters with some likeminded people from all over the world.
When did you start drawing?
I stopped drawing when I was about eleven. About the same time i started copying band logos with pen or pencil. I sporadically drew letter shapes throughout my teens.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I remember drawing hair metal band logos on a denim vest that I had, allthough I never had the nerve to wear it.
Well, what is Art? I've been living off graphic design since I was 19. Some of it is quite artful.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I have, but not in recent years.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Studying the work of El Lissitzky while I was at the Academy of Art in Reykjavik had a profound impact on me. Both the style and the thought proccess of the Constructivists and their contemporaries has informed some of my work in a major way, and has had at least minor influences on most of what I do.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
In poster design, time is of the essance. These jobs never pay enough, so it's essential to get the job with good advance time to find space to really pour yourself into the job. The process is wildly different between each one, but usually I end up using it as a venue to try out ideas I've been thinking about for a while. Sometimes I don't have one on hand, or it doesn't work, and then the plan B is worrying, procrastination, random sketching with pen, trying to find interesting sources of inspiration, or looking at how the artist has been presented in the past, and finding a new twist on that.
Everything is finished on the computer, sometimes the type starts out on paper, sometimes I'll draw something on a Wacom tablet, but the majority of the work is in the computer, most of the time.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
10 - 40 hours, spread over 1-4 weeks, if I'm gonna do it properly.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
I'll try to accomodate peoples wishes, but I need to know my limitations. I'm always open for suggestions, but I dislike doing things that I'm ultimately not proud of.
For which band have you already worked for?
Franz Ferdinand, Kraftwerk, Booka Shade, Björk, Incubus, Gus Gus, Nick Cave, Muse, Norah Jones, Timo Maas, Stephan Bodzin, Tiefschwartz, and some icelandic bands like Reykjavik! and FM Belfast. I've also done a few music festivals, most notably I did the whole identity and look for Iceland Airwaves from 2002 - 2010, with a couple of years off.
I love Devo, both muscally and visually. I think they'd make an awsome project.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
No. I'd love to, but no. Maybe I should try cold-calling Devo, see what happens...
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Procrastination. Once you're working, it's allright, and once the poster is working, it's awsome.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
No not really. We have a community of graphic designers in Iceland, but not really a scene as such.
I'm working on my portfolio website, as I have for the last 10 years.
In the mean time there are links to a couple of portfolio sites on my homepage, http://www.sveinbjorn.com/
The best praise you received lately?
Oh I'm way too modest to tell...
What can we wish you for the future?
Fame & success in the field of type design!