Viking Art and design is also known as Norse Art, and quite unique in that all the art is from a specific place, time and people group in history, from the first recorded raid in 793 to the last known battle in 1066. Viking or Norse Artifacts are found all over Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland and even parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, the USA and other parts of the world where Vikings explored (or pillaged, depending).

The Viking Designs Chosen for this Collection(so far)…

Viking/Norse Brooch

Viking/Norse Runestone in Sweden

Viking/Norse Brooch

Viking/Norse Runestone

Viking/Norse Comb

Here are five of the original Viking artifacts and designs I based my art off of. As you can see, they used various materials to carve (or occasionally caste) their designs into, including stone, wood and all types of metal. Swirls, dots, knots, animals, beasts and gods and goddesses were often used, but the main theme for most of their art was survival. Sometimes spiritual, other times nurturing, but mostly the art was to call on bravery and for protection. That was the main reason I was drawn to the ancient Norse people, because they decorated everyday objects with meaningful, protective symbols, and they were survivors. Something deep in my soul resonated with that.

Why I Chose Norse Art

I’m a survivor, and drawing ancient symbols of protection has been therapeutic for me. To help with my mental health as I heal from childhood abuse, my therapist recommend I do an art journal. Well, as a mom of very tech kids, I was introduced to the iPad and Procreate, and that became my art “journaling.” Art therapy has been an essential piece of my healing, along with too many other things to mention here. As I dealt with anger and coming to terms with all the self-esteem issues that go with early childhood sexual abuse, I found it helpful to channel that anger and hate into art, particularly Norse art.

There are many different ancient cultures that have protective symbols and show a culture of survival, so why the Vikings? Two less influential reasons are because my great-grandfather was Swedish and I studied Scandinavian Studies in college. But another, bigger reason was how I felt when I found certain Viking, and some overlapping Celtic, symbols. And when I started drawing them, the peace I finally felt was profound. I especially resonated with Yggdrasil, which overlaps with the Celtic Tree of Life, yet Yggdrasil has a very robust and detailed belief system around it that its Celtic neighbors did not have. As I drew the tree full of winding knots and beautiful curves, I noticed how much it grounded me. I’m a bit of a flighty daydreamer sort, so anything that grounds me to this earth and gets me to take care of my body and other things I am responsible for, is a very good thing. Then I learned the concept of a “clipping mask” in Procreate, and the idea of using galaxy colors as a base was born.

Ancient Viking Art with a Modern Day Twist

The main idea behind forming a collection out the art I was creating, was to not only organize my art into a coherent lot, but to also help preserve the designs these talented people made possibly millennia ago. Sharing my work is sharing their work in a more accessible way. In modern art. Most people can’t get a hold of an ancient artifact, and if they do, it may not be very practical to use nowadays. They wore heavy metal brooches and used decorated axes, ships, and erected gravestones with heir beautiful artwork, none of which is easily replicated, worn or used today, except maybe as pendants and cosplay.

Taking Ancient Norse designs and making them accessible on canvas, posters, t-shirts, stickers and other products that have a place in todays culture, in my mind, will help share the beauty with the world and preserve part of a culture that lives primarily in museums and amongst a small population of dedicated pagan believers. I would like more people to see that the Vikings weren’t only raiders and warriors, but also talented artists. I’d like to see less of their amazing art used to promote hate and white supremacy, and have more people see their symbols and designs for what they were, the art of survivors.

The Galaxy Collection

As I said before, the clipping mask option in Procreate inspired the galaxy colors, but the collection itself was a bit more thought out. Once I saw what the galaxy image looked like under the lines of my tree design, I was in love and my mind spun with ideas. The galaxy behind the tree, and within the tree in some designs, represents the supernatural, the heavenly, and/or the universe in each design that has it. It adds a beautiful, colorful, spiritual element to the designs that I use intentionally to soften some darker or rougher aspects of the original art. To get that darker, rougher aspects, you can check out my Stone Collection or black and white designs.

Ancient Viking Art in Galaxy Collection

The ancient Vikings or Norse people still have something to share. The found artifacts speak for themselves as to how creative they were and what kind of artisans they were at so many different crafts. The detail that went in to so many of their designs is a testament to their patience and skill. The Galaxy collection is here to highlight the beauty of their works, to appeal to a much larger demographic than the Scandinavians, pagans, and skinheads. The designs of the ancient Norse people, the “Vikings,” is much more than runes and symbols of brutal raiders who fought for no reason to kill and rape without context. There is a wealth of artifacts that prove they were more, there were artists in those groups of people, and we need to respect them as such. We need to respect their art as such, and not dwell on the only facts Western civilization seems to dwell on with the Vikings. Change the definition of a Viking, or call them Norse instead. Western culture dwells too much on the worst aspects of these people, when we could be focusing on the beauty they created. The Galaxy collection is meant to infuse the colors of the universe and heavens in designs that deserve to be seen in that light.

I would love to hear what you think in the comments below, or if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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