The Many Talents of Kim Hiorthøy

Art by Kim Hiorthøy
Images courtesy of Grafill

There are some people who excel in their selected field, truly setting themselves apart through their work. And then there are those who excel in all of them. 

For just over two decades multi artist Kim Hiorthøy has left his mark on the creative Norway in more fields than you’d ever imagine. Visuelt—Grafill’s annual design festival—held it’s award ceremony yesterday and Hiorthøy was celebrated as this year’s recipient of Klassikerprisen—Visuelt’s lifetime achievement award—becoming the youngest ever to receive that honour. 

Hiorthøy is the definition of the multi creative, his CV is proof of someone who’s never settled and always strived to create something new. 

“With an impressive productivity and artistic versatility, this year’s award winner has left his mark on a long list of art disciplines. If you’re interested in alternative music, contemporary art, drawing, film, design, illustration and even dance, it’s impossible to not run into the name “Kim Hiorthøy” relatively often”, the board of Grafill stated in a press release. 

First, he was the host of U, an NRK television show. Since 1993 he has designed almost all the covers of the band Motorpsycho. He has been the in-house designer of record label Rune Grammofon, as well as many other smaller labels. He has won best album cover design at Spellemannsprisen—the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy’s—twice. He has illustrated author Erlend Loe’s children’s books, receiving the Department of Culture’s picture book award in 1996 for Den store røde hunden. In 2000, Hiorthøy published Tree Weekend–a monograph that gathered a much of his work. He is a musician, having released four albums. In 2008 he won Alarmprisen for My Last Day and he has been nominated in the electronica category of Spellemannsprisen multiple times. In 2002 he debuted as an author with Du kan ikke svikte din beste venn og bli god til å synge samtidig. Hiorthøy is represented by Oslo-based art gallery Standard and he has worked as a film photographer on multiple films by filmmaker Margareth Olin. His latest work was his directorial debut with the feature film The Rules for Everything.

“Few people have influenced Norway’s visual landscape in the ‘90s and ‘00s like he has—and in that way influenced a whole generation. Hiorthøy’s playful, versatile and groundbreaking approach to everything he’s touched has been an inspiration for many. There are probably a few of us who chose this line of work heavily influenced and inspired by him”, the board of Grafill concludes.