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CULTURE

Ziska Zun

Mysticism and skeletons collide in a Reykjavik designer and illustrator's work

by Karen Day
on 02 November 2010
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For a slightly more sinister take on tribalism, Icelandic renaissance woman Harpa Einarsdottir (better known by her valiant design pseudonym Ziska Zun) is a wildly imaginative illustrator, stylist, fashion designer, multimedia artist and farmer. While her mediums vary, her cosmic style fascinatingly blends the Day of the Dead icon, La Calavera Catrina, and elements of a warrior princess.

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Ziska describes her recent solo exhibition "Skulls & Halos"—a darkly psychedelic display of illustrations and painted bones—as "all about our endless inner fight between right and wrong. We all carry some old skeletons in our closet and some get too heavy, it's my way to find inner balance and say farewell to the past, make peace with myself and carry on in my way to become a better person."

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The tension between her more macabre impulses and her manipulation of them makes for enigmatic depictions that speak to her theatricality and rich fantasy life. Putting the experience from her former fashion line Starkillers to use, Ziska spent the past four years designing costumes and characters for the online role-playing game World of Darkness and films, also finding time to freelance as a stylist for magazine photo shoots. She explains "It's good to be able to have variety in creation and do different projects, it's a freedom that I want to hold on to as best as I can."

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When asked where she sees herself in five years, Ziska tells us she tries "not to think about that too much, life goes in mysterious ways, I just want to have fun and be good one week at a time."

Photos by Craig Thomas

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