• Þórdís Lilja Gunnarsdóttir

Went to an impactful schooltrip to a recycling center

Updated: Jul 13


Ynja Mist from Kópavogur, Iceland, is one of a kind. Ynja, who is 20 years old, has just moved to Copenhagen on her own and is equally proficient in visual arts, powerlifting, and cake decorating. "I held my first art exhibition when I was eleven years old. It was in Hólmavík, where my family comes from, and my grandparents live. Me and my grandmother went to see the carved birds that Hafthor Thorhallsson makes, and he offered me to put up an art exhibition in his gallery the next summer," says Ynja and smiles over the memory. Her self confidence increased in accordance to the responses of others. "This meant a lot to me. I got more faith in myself and afterwards I started to make jewelry that I got a permission to sell in front of a little shop downtown. I find it easy to make my dreams come true, maybe because the word "later" barely exists in my way of thinking when it comes to ideas. Everything needs to happen now. The fact that I have always known where I'm headed is also important. Ever since I can remember myself, I have known that I am an artist."

Ynja now stands for her fourth solo exhibition, open until May 13th in the Library of Kópavogur. "It is important for artists to show their work and wonderful to experience the reactions of the visitors. I know that many people my age are drawing, but don't find themselves being qualified artists. It takes confidence and fearlessness to make things happen, as well as ambition and drive since there is nobody there to tell you what to do. Creativity is the motivation, and it is important to be unafraid of show all your sides; what you consider unsuccessful or bad, and what you are happy with."

Nature scenes were Ynja's main subject when she was a kid, and faces in the teenage years. "Today I want my work to interpret what is on my mind. When I was in elementary/middle school I went to a schooltrip to a recycling center, that had a lasting impact on the child mind. I began to think a lot about recycling and where the things that I throw away end up. My grandmother even called me recycling Ynja (Sounds better in Icelandic), because I was always shaming on the grown ups," says Ynja and laughs.

Her exhibition now precisely shows that this topic never got off her mind, and is called Warming and is about global warming. "For me, the main problem is our own consumption, whether it is mainly or partly our fault that the climate is changing. We throw out tremendous amounts of food, clothes, furniture and packaging. The waste of material that takes place in modern society is overwhelming. To minimize my own waste I never buy food in a lot of packaging and choose my products according to packaging, content and production methods. I also prefer to buy clothes that last longer and avoid to use disposable products. I am very worried about plastic pollution in the ocean and its impact on the ocean life, thats why it annoys me so much when people use unnecessary packaging, like plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. Fruits, like for instance a banana, were created with natural packaging!"

Has been living in adulthood for a while Ynja is clearly passionate about art, but that is not all. She got nominated as the athlete of Gardabaer this year, and got an award for outstanding performance in powerlifting inside Iceland. She claims that her life is all about art, powerlifting and cake decorating. "I got a job as a cake decorator at Saetar Syndir when I was seventeen, and still work there when I get the chance. When I started I didn't know anything about cakes or cake decorating, but I'm good at everything that requires creativity so I picked it up quickly," says Ynja, who was responsible for a big part of building up the company as the first employee, and doesn't want to let go of the job although she has recently moved to Copenhagen. She plans to study product design at the Royal Danish Academy of architecture and design, KADK, and lives there alone since her boyfriend attends university back in Iceland. "I really like to live here, and don't think it's a problem to live alone. I think it varies a lot between individuals if they feel like adults when they are twenty. Some like to live with their parents for longer, but I have had a very strong need for independence since I was sixteen and already then wanted to work for my own food." In the weekend Ynja is going to settle down in her new apartment and take a shift at Big Bowl, which is a restaurant and a bowling place. "I try to work as little as I can to be able to spend more time working on my artist career. The powerlifting also sometimes has to wait, and soon I will take a math test in the Icelandic embassy to qualify for the school requirements."

Ynja began her training in Sporthusid in Iceland when she was fifteen and got more and more into lifting. "I realized that I enjoyed lifting weights a lot more than running and loved to get my weights higher. Some boys that studied at the same school as me were in the powerlifting club of Gardabaer, and they encouraged me to come and train there. I did, and have been the only girl training there since," says Ynja who holds the Icelandic records in all lifts in the -57 kilogram bodyweight category. "My records in my last competition were 100 kg in squat, 107.5 kg in deadlift and 60 kg in benchpress, but since then all of my lifts have improved," says Ynja who trains for three hours three times a week and does mobility exercises in between. "Yes, this is a time consuming sport and I enjoy it a lot, but the art is always number one," she says smiling.

Translated article from visir.is Author: Thordis Lilja Gunnarsdottir Source: http://www.visir.is/g/2017170509292


© 2015 by Ynja. Young Icelandic artist.

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