04/05/2023 Interview with Kristjana S Williams

Interview with Kristjana S Williams

'Coronation Kóróna' by Kristjana S Williams

ACBF: Your works featuring the Queen and symbols of Royal regalia and crowns are incredibly beautiful and very popular. Indeed, we are proud owners of several pieces ourselves. As an Icelandic artist and therefore from a Republic since 1944, can you share some of your thoughts and your inspirations in this area of your practice?

Kristjana: Iceland and Finland are the only Nordic countries that have presidents as head of state instead of kings and queens. I was lucky enough to grow up with an Icelandic female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who served for 16 years from 1980 to 1996. She was a role model for me and many other women. 

ACBF: What drew you to the theme of royalty in your art?

Kristjana: I was fascinated by the maps, markets, streets and the Queen especially as well as the iconography of the royal family in general. I learned about English history through the creation of the work.

ACBF: How do you feel about the fact that Charles III will not wear a crown on Royal Mail stamps?

Kristjana: I would prefer him with a crown. I was unaware that it was a tradition for only female monarchs to wear a crown on their coins. I think they should change that. I feel the profile can become quite formless without a crown.

'Drottning Elizabeth' by Kristjana S Williams

ACBF: Would you rather have a Queen or a King to reign over us?

Kristjana: Absolutely a Queen. I am having a tricky time visualising Charles. I have made a couple of attempts and they have both been deemed unfit by the studio.

ACBF: Do you see Queen Elizabeth II as a modern day icon?

Kristjana: I absolutely do. I think she was one-of-a-kind. I don’t know if you can find that type of complete dedication anymore. I think she was a great comfort to many. I think it speaks volumes how much art was created around her portrait.

ACBF: If invited to create Charles III’s portrait, would you accept and if so how (and where) might you present him?

Kristjana: I did try. I found a rather fetching younger portrait of him, put the crown on a bit lopsided, surrounded by royal regalia on a boat, with a green velvet background and a huge purple cape. 

If it was a proper commission, I think I would have to do a piece that would be an emotional portrait depicting all of the key moments that have happened so far in his life, possibly in a form of a tree or whale seascape.

Detail of 'Golden Majestic Bee' by Kristjana S Williams

ACBF: Who, dead or alive, would you like to paint your portrait?

Kristjana: Grayson Perry (embroidered or ceramic) or Roxana Halls (oil).

ACBF: Who would you make the Queen or King of Iceland?

Kristjana: I like the idea of voting in a new family every hundred years. Chaos probably, but would be interesting to observe and more fair?

ACBF: Would you rather dance the Charleston or an Elizabethan Waltz?

Kristjana: I would try both, but The Charleston looks like more fun.

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