the artist

guðlaugur arason

The artist who goes by the name of GARASON or Guðlaugur Arason, otherwise known as Gulli Ara, was born and raised in Dalvík, a remote fishing village on the north coast of Iceland.

From a young age, he longed to be a fisherman, with a burning ambition to become a top skipper on a big fishing boat, and to catch more fish than anyone else. But once into his teens he began to realize there was more to the world than the fishing banks offshore from Dalvík. Unfortunately.

His first novel was published when he was twenty-five, and it was followed by more books in subsequent years, all of which were written in between studying, travelling, some teaching, a little journalism and – of course – spells at sea working as a fisherman.

Gulli has never let himself be tied to a single style or subject, so his work includes novels, poetry, radio and television drama, and textbooks, as he had written both non-fiction and fiction that has often draw on the history and mysteries of the north of Iceland. His work has won several awards over the years.

His interest in books and writing led to personal quest of creating Elf books. These are miniature artworks and installations that have attracted widespread attention. There are Elf book artworks hanging on walls all around the world and since 2013 these have become the subject of more than thirty exhibitions.

Gulli is adamant that there’s an elf inside him. He likes to tread new paths in his art, does not sleep a great deal and prefers to devote his time to creation.

The artwork

Each artwork is unique and individual. However, each one contains three distinct elements, in that somewhere there will be a tiny elf, there will be one of Guðlaugur Arason’s books somewhere on one of the shelves, and on a shelf somewhere will be a book spine that reads GARASON, plus the artwork’s date.  It’s well known that small elves are very fond of small books, so this is how Gulli’s elf books are made, small and easy to handle.

The books are all made to a 1:12 scale and are in the correct proportions of the original books. This means that the largest elf books are 29mm in height, but the smallest are only 4mm. With a few exceptions, the books have a thickness of no more than 6mm.

Once the books have been placed on the shelves, a special oil is used to protect them against sunlight. So Elf book installations are best kept out of strong sunlight. But, as everyone knows, the same thing applies to the Mona Lisa.

elfbooks art
elfbooks art
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