I had this book as a child, an old one in one of those stiff board covers, with the occasional black and white print the only pictures. It was a simplified version of Treasure Island. I like to make out I was one of these instantly interesting and creative children, that often read classics and then grew up into a witty and intelligent raconteur and wit. Sadly, it isn’t true. I was far more interested in completing my Pannini Football Sticker album (including Scottish players and shiny crests), but on occasion I did read it, or least flick through the pictures. It was either given to me by an old relative, or more likely I pinched it out of one of the boxes in my parents garage that, for a week before the big even, held all the books for the book stall my parents ran (quite ehy, I’ve never managed to assertain) at the local Church Christmas Fayre.
Its author was Robert Louis Stevenson. A scot born to a wealthy family, Stevenson spent his life travelling, absorbing things around him and using them as the basis for his novels, essays and stories. As a young man he became a literary star, write some of the worlds best-loved books (Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde being two) and got married. By the time he died aged just 44, he had struggled with artists block, describing the best he could do as ‘ditch-water’, and was living on a little Island in Samoa. Other than his writing, travelling was probably the one great passion of Stevensons life. He described as ‘For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move’
Someone else for whom this could be true is artist Siggi Eggertsson. Born in Akureyri, a small town on Icelands north coast, his interest fired by graphic design and expressed in creating posters for Jazz concerts and Art exhibitions, Eggertsson moved to Rekjavik to study at the Academy of Arts based there. Here his visions expanded to include not only design but typography and illustration as well. His globe-trotting really started then, with a move to New York. He took an internship with Karlssonwilker the design company founded by two German designers, Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker.
Not ready to return to his remote homeland, instead Eggertsson went to Berin to study in the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, and from there made London his home, working for Big Active, one of the worlds leading Art Directions and Creative Consultancy businesses. This has seen him work with brands and businesses as diverse as Dazed and Confused, H&M and Stussy. The pull of Berlin remained strong though, and this is now where Siggi Eggertsson now works and lives.
His work visually seems still influenced by things from his childhood, where, as he says ‘Got my first PC, at first I mainly used it to play computer games, but soon I found out I could also draw on it. Found out that there was a profession called graphic design that combined two of my biggest hobbies, computers and drawing.’ that sort of primitive graphic prevails in his pictures thatmakes many of them seem retro but still striking and modern and, well, brilliant.
Striking colours and patterns also feature heavily, and it is also abvious from his pictures that despite taking this pixelated reference into his pictures, he appears also heavily influenced by impressionist painting, his work showing the same slight ambiguity. His work continues to develop and expand (into childrens books and video games, ironically) at a pace. Wheverever he has been living the one thing that has not wavered is the quality of his art, and eagerly await more. After all, as the great man himself said ‘to beomce what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life’. Over to you, Siggi.