Australian artist, Guido, known for his hyperealistic portraits, travelled to Akureyri to paint one of his portraits onto the side of a working boat, facilitated by the Akureyri Cultural Office.
Guido had wanted to paint a ship for a long time and the ship he paints ‘SÆFFARI’ travels to the small island of Grímsey. It is the only ship that goes there on a regular basis as it transports their produce back to the mainland. As a result, Guido only had two days to complete the painting and worked long hours, starting at 6am and finishing by 10pm with the help of flood lighting.
Guido painted a lady on the side of the ship, wrapped up in a traditional wool jumper, to protect her from the cold Icelandic air. He tried to find something that suited the mood of the sea and the surroundings. The person is unknown and not famous, but the photo touched him in some way that he felt was the right image for the boat.
“It’s speaks to me based on some feeling or based on the photograph or based on some emotion I see in that person …I learn to love it myself and it comes through the work”. Guido Van Helten
“I have been working with portrait for a couple of years. Always a thing .. Who and why this person … I am trying to create a sense of identify that relates to the people who live here . People always gravitate to well-known people… But I’m not trying to capture that. People can relate to it in their own way” Guido Van Helten
And the Icelandic locals have related to the painting in their own way. People make their own story up and that’s the beauty of the piece. As the boat owner says; “every boat tells a story”. One person sees an Icelandic Mother who has lost her son to the sea and is looking down searching for him, another sees a guiding Angel protecting the ship and the people as it travels through the heavy seas.
The 6-minute film, directed, shot and edited by Selina Miles, documents their journey, and offers insight into the unique personality of one of Australia’s most sought after street artists.
This project was a self-initiated collaboration between Selina Miles and Guido van Helten, who both sought to use their respective practices to delve deeper into the wonderful and unique culture of Iceland. Music by Julien Marchal