Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Iceland Ink: We would steer them towards the runes and magic signs

By Staff

  • Búri at the Icelandic Tattoo Corporation "Tattoos become like a personal journal, mementos of a sort." Photos/Jerel Lai

Artist: Búri at The Icelandic Tattoo Corporation

"I actually got started in late 2001 at another shop that Fjölnir, one of Iceland's tattoo artist pioneers, had at that time in his old studio.  Then in 2005, my friend and colleague, Jón Páll, and I opened our current shop. I have had my stints away, spending around four years with my wife in Sweden, both tattooing and studying. We mostly do custom work. When we started here we had the usual flash, but we thought we would just mark it when it was done. After all it is a small country, and you really cannot get away with doing the same image twice.

My style as an artist
My interest is really divided into two categories, photo realistic and my own stuff that I draw, which tends to be more new school and almost comic book orientated. But having said that, while in Sweden I was aware of the growing trend of old-school, early tattoo styles, and started to get into that genre.

Isolated from trends
Iceland is significantly different from other places because of its location. There are a lot of styles here, and if anything we have boycotted some of the trends. While I was in Sweden, there was a huge trend toward traditional, old-school, “Sailor Jerry” styles. And before that, there was more of the traditional Japanese yakuza style. Here in Iceland we have had the advantage of steering the demand.

A little memento
If a foreign visitor wanted something distinctly Icelandic, the images we would steer them towards would be the runes and magic signs. Tattooing Icelandic gods and Vikings can turn out to be a bit too cliché. If we do those types of tattoos, we stay away from the braided beards and horns on the head! They were real people too!

If you are set on getting inked, do your research on the artist, the shop, and what kind of motif would suit you and your taste. Take time to look at different art and decide what colours would be your preference. A tattoo is for life! 

The proposal "Viltu giftast mér?" or in English: Will you marry me? Búri's personal favourite ink.

Personal favourite
Tattoos become like a personal journal, mementos of a sort. But I don’t remember the reasons behind all of my tattoos. I have some tattoos that I wouldn’t get today, but still, I wouldn’t get them lasered off. They are a mark of what was. My clear personal favourite, reminding me of a certain time, is a banner forming a heart and words in Icelandic. It says “Will you marry me?” It was part of my wedding proposal to my fiancée.

The Icelandic Tattoo Corporation
Address: Hverfisgata 39, 101 Reykjavík,

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