Young Arts Writer's Personal Reflections
Halldorsdottir Eyfells has an overwhelming passion for life. It
has been her sharp intelligence and penchant for laughter, paired
with the candor of her interests and experiences are as varied and
colorful as the hues which comprise the images on her canvases.
she has been painting for many years, she never intended to become
an artist. She graduated from the Commercial College of her native
country, Iceland, and , at the age of twenty-one, opened her own
highly successful dress business. For several years she employed
up to sixteen women to design and market her fashions. This enterprise
lasted well over thirty years, during which time she kept residencies
both in Iceland and the United States. As C.E.O. of her own dress
company, she constantly commuted between the two countries.
in her business career, during her enrollment at the Rudolph Schaefer
School of Design in San Francisco, she met her future husband, architect
and sculptor, Johann Eyfess. Four years later they married and moved
to the east coast where Johann had been hired by a large architectural
firm. Once settled, she decided to attend Hofstra University in
Long Island, New York. Inspired by Johann's dedication to the Fine
Arts, she signed up for a sculpture class. This marked the beginning
of Kristin's long and prolific artistic career.
time later, the couple moved to Gainesville, Florida, and she continued
her studies at the University of Florida. In 1962 she received a
Bachelor's degree in Psychology, followed in 1964 by a Bachelor
of Fine Arts. She began to exhibit in 1962, and since then, her
work has been featured in more than one hundred exhibitions in the
United States and Europe.
part, her decision to paint portraits of famous people stems from
her natural sociability and intense interest in human nature. Her
subjects range form political figures such as Barbara Bush and Saddam
Hussein to actors like Sean Connery and Katherine Hepburn. Kristin
only paints people who intrigue her and who have made an impact
on the world, regardless of whether the public perceives them as
heroes or villains. To create her over-sized, close-cropped portraits,
she immerses herself in the life of the celebrity by collecting
photographs, reading biographical information, and, when possible,
following their careers in the newspaper and on television.
paintings exaggerate and emphasize the facial characteristics that
some of her subjects may want to hide. She believes that lines,
creases and wrinkles add individuality and personality to a face,
and it is that very essence of character which she is intent on
capturing and expressing. Using geometric shards of luscious gem-tines,
she transforms laugh lines, furrowed brows and crow's feet into
red, violet, green and indigo badges of uniqueness.
on point in our conversation, before I could inquire as to the artists
who have influenced her, she vehemently declared, "I am absolutely
not consciously influenced by anyone!" She is an artist who
is neither concerned with fitting neatly into the history of art,
nor creating art that is merely pleasing to the viewer. She states
that she creates her "faces" because of an inner need,
regardless of how viewers respond to the personas she depicts. She
goes on to add that she finds unflattering comments just as interesting
as those that are admiring.
is one of the most strong-willed and determined women I have ever
encountered. She has as much character and vitality as those captured
on her canvases. She is an artist dedicated to truth and does not
shy away from reality, however unflattering it may be. I admire
her because she paints and sculpts, not as a source of income, but
rather because she is compelled to create. Meeting Kristin Halldorsdottir
Eyfells has truly been an enriching experience.
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