You might not imagine so, but creating an ice sculpture is very tiring work. Today, by lunch time I was exhausted. My name is Guðrún, I am an artist and during the winter months of the upper Northern Hemisphere, I busk my skills in towns and cities, creating ice sculptures in return for donations of appreciation from tourists and shoppers.
I start out during September, in my home town of Reykjavik and move east or westwards, country to country, dependent upon my mood, available travel funds and anticipated tourist numbers.
I have an angle with my work, creating an ice sculpture bust based upon a member of the public, one who is prepared to sit for me for at least half an hour. I also have a trick, which I am happy to share with you, in that I work from a single design in my head, learned through repetition.
Essentially, the volunteer I choose to model will look very similar to my blueprint. Whoever the person is, the shared characteristics are: male, clean shaven, short haired, 20 – 30 years of age, and a ‘regular’ shaped face with features evenly balanced.
What happens if I am approached by an elderly, bearded gentleman, or a woman or a child? I shoo them away, this is business, not ‘for fun’. No, seriously, I don’t shoo them away, I just make up some shit why I can’t right now and maybe they’d like to fly past later.
My last model, Jón, he said to me “That’s not bad, but my hair isn’t like that, I wear my hair kind of fluffy, sort of upward pointing.” I told him straight, ‘fluffy’ doesn’t work in ice and he accepted the explanation.
Naturally, I can’t hang around for too long in any one place, or people may work out the trick. About ten days is the optimum, sufficient for travel and board arrangements, plus four to five days strategically spread out, when I’m sculpting.
No, I won’t tell you how much I make; would you tell me how much you earn? It’s about adequate. Enough to feed myself, pay whatever bills, put aside a small sum after each excursion, ready for when I can’t sculpt any more.
Obviously, it goes without saying, some day in the future, if you see me, recognise me and remember this piece, give me a ka-pow with a finger gun, but keep shtum, okay?
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Part of the Ekphrasis Project (story inspired by a collage)