Jón Adólf Steinólfsson
A native Icelander, Jón Adólf Steinólfsson was born in
1959 in Reykjavik.
He grew up in Southern Iceland hearing tales
of Nordic lore. He expressed an interest in the art of woodcarving at an early
age; however he didn’t fully embrace this craft until receiving a very
special Christmas gift from his mother in 1987. It was a certificate for a
woodcarving course. He continued formal training under master woodcarvers at
the Hannes Flosason
School of Wood Carving from 1986 until 1995. A residency followed at the Geisler Moroder School of
Carving in Austria
in 1995. He then attended the Kopavogur Visual
from 1996 to 1999. Jon was privileged to study under and work beside acknowledged
world-class master wood sculptor, teacher, and author Ian Norbury
at his studio in England from 1996-1999.
While still an emerging artist, his work began to draw public and media
attention early in his career. A few of his accomplishments include co-founding
first woodcarving guild and acting as its president for many years. Jon was
also a sought out to create the award given to the winner of The Samfes Design Competition of fashion designers at their
awards ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2004. In 2006, he received the
Icelandic National Award for Work of the Year at the Craftsman Show in Hrafnagil. He was also part of a select group of
Icelandic multimedia artists invited to exhibit their works before the new
U.S. Ambassador to Iceland
at the 2007 Fine Art Show held at the NATO Airbase in Keflavik, Iceland.
Jón shares his love of carving with others, having
taught numerous woodcarving classes for students at all levels of expertise.
He has organized and facilitated international master wood carvers to provide
wood sculpting courses for his students. Later in his career he discovered
stone sculpting and after several courses in Italy he now also works in
The love of Nordic mythology and deep respect for his native Iceland are
clearly evident in Jon’s works. From the genesis of his career, the creative
spirit of his talent and excellence in the mastery of his craft has served as
a synergistic force reflected in his art. Jon has great range in his works,
ranging from contemporary styles and whimsical reflections on the instruments
of music and modern communications technology to works that reflect the
influence of mythology, old cultural references and centuries-old traditions.
Many of these pieces also reflect the artist’s feelings toward issues of
social justice. Perhaps Jon’s brilliance as an artist is best seen in his
driftwood carvings. The individual pieces of wood may lie dormant in his
workshop for some time until the designs reveal themselves to the artist.
Jon’s deep respect for the wood ensures that each piece of driftwood will
take on just exactly the form it was intended to be.
In addition to being part of private collections around the world, his work
is on permanent public display in several spots in Iceland and the United