Artist Baldur Helgason Receives Mastermind Award Skip to content

Artist Baldur Helgason Receives Mastermind Award

Baldur says that receiving the acknowledgement is a great honour but that, speaking candidly, he feels quite embarrassed to receive such a significant award. The Mastermind is granted on a yearly basis to artists in the San Francisco area who are considered to be prominent in their field.

National Gallery in Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The newspaper’s selection committee chose three winners from a group of hundreds of contestants who submitted their work. The winners receive the title of Mastermind, as well as a grant of USD 1,500 (ISK 188.250 or EUR 1136), meant for further development of the form of art in question. The winners will then host an exhibit at the Artopia-art festival in San Francisco. The other winners in this year’s competition specialise in dance and photography.

Baldur has lived in San Francisco for four years and is married to an American woman. He graduated with a Master’s degree in drawing from the Academy of Art University last spring.

He had previously completed a BA degree in graphic design from the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Baldur’s final assignment from the Academy of Art University consisted of an oil portrait and an illustration of the Icelandic folk-tale Búkolla, in which he used a dry point method. After graduation, he has worked as an artist in the city. According to Baldur, he has received a lot of attention since receiving the title of Mastermind.

SF Weekly has a large group of readers who are able to pick up a copy on every street corner, so the coverage there has been very beneficial. On the day after the award ceremony I was on the cover, and I saw on the train that everybody was reading about me. I have received many phone calls from people who are interested in viewing or purchasing my work and that is absolutely great,” says Baldur, who, among other things, likes to play with the portrait-form, placing his subject in a more modern setting and stirring it up with the help of his imagination.

“Many people are interested in where I am from and then I gear myself into publisher-mode and try to sell Iceland,” he concluded.

Click here to visit Baldur’s website.


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