Iceland’s Grotta Zine has been the talk of the town over the last year. Run by art aficionado Frosti Gnarr together with his business director Giuseppe Russo, the magazine and web platform is dedicated to Iceland’s visual arts scene and currently has more than 100,000 online subscribers.
Frosti showcased each of the six issues so far of the print magazine, each of which focuses on local subcultures and artists (i.e. MUCK, Einar Orn, Hellcat) before announcing that, actually, sales are low and that print seems indeed dead. Hence the online version of the magazine, which is hosted on Tumblr and documents the wider scene. “We are not negative,” he said, “we prefer to focus only on the positive side of the scene, especially as it’s all based on my own personal favourites and preferences.”
The site has a focus on big images and minimal text, and he uses his “own taste and educated judgement” to choose the art and give the exact information. “Readers understand quickly what the art is about and continue to discover that artist’s previous or future work.”
He explained how his work has brought him closer to gallerists and curators, and opened a dialogue on how to present Iceland’s native visual culture. The Tumblr now has 108,056 followers plus more from outside users – yet they have chosen not to sell advertisement or share endorsed content. “This puts us in a weird position as we need to grow and flourish. I want us to be financially sufficient without being tied to a company. We would like to make video content, curate events abroad, make merchandise, and publish a better quality print version more often.”
Frosti also used the opportunity to showcase a brand new project dedicated to music. Called www.icelandicmusicpress.org, it aims to bring together existing local organisations – IMX, Airwaves, Gogoyoko, Icelandair to become a one-stop-shop for Icelandic music.