Brent Berry Arts
A video still from Bjork at the Royal Opera House in London 2003
A photo of Bjork's tattoo, The Vegvisir (Viking Compass) It's a bindrune symbol similar to the Aegishjalmur (helm of awe) She said she got it so she could always find her way home. She said the Vikings used to mark it on their foreheads so they could find their way in foggy weather, she thought that was a bit extreme so she had it tattooed on her left arm.
The vegvisir (Viking compass symbol) has personal meaning to me because it represents an important change of direction in my life. It was Bjork's music that caused that change. Having a little Nordic blood, I was already into Viking lore and have a longboat on my left arm. When I first saw Bjork on the tv she immediately got my attention with her voice and then I saw the Nordic symbol on her left arm (the vegvisir) and became more curious. I love music but I don't get too exited about any singer or group, there are so many who are great. I really didn't care for most modern music but here was this stranger on my tv who was demanding my attention with this really different kind of sound and that voice! This was definitely not my kind of music and I was tired wanted to get to bed but this strange music wouldn't let me move. It was almost like a message telling me I had to pay attention. I did and quickly got hooked on her music which caused me to start doing artwork which pulled me put of depression and helped me recover from cancer and a chemotherapy overdose. During that time all my artistic creativity had died as I was very sick and it was impossible for me to stay positive. I knew the end could be coming and I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I needed to be positive and avoid stress in order to recover but I just couldn't. I desperately needed and wanted to do my art because I knew it would serve as therapy to help keep me alive and to get back to being myself again. I was still pretty sick and depressed at the time but when I saw Bjork performing and I heard her music I felt like my batteries were being recharged. I also felt pretty embarrassed that I had not been being creative or making anything for so long, 6 years! Now I wanted to and at the same time her music gave me a lot of new ideas that I wanted to work on. All of this combined influence was just the motivation I had been needing. She got me interested and inspired me into action. I believe she helped me stay alive by stirring these feelings inside me and giving me this push. I'm doing so much better now and I do art every time I have a chance! Anyway, That's why the vegvisir symbol has real meaning for me. To me the vegvisir symbolizes Nordic pride, Inspiration, direction, art and life.
Vegvisirs and Viking compasses on the internet before 2004 and my vegvisirs.
After discovering Bjork in late 2003 I spent a lot of time searching the internet for more examples of vegvisirs but all that existed on the web were a few very crude examples. I was disappointed with the results so I decided to design my own vegvisirs based on the few on the web and Bjork's tattoo. I believe Bjork most likely had a neater design in mind but a tattoo is only as good as the tattoo artist is on that day. It seemed a shame that there wasn't any better samples available of such an interesting Viking symbol. My first vegvisir was laid out in pencil, then scanned and then refined digitally. I designed these vegvisirs to use in my digital art and in my metal work but now I see my vegvisirs are being used all over the web. Many people have gotten permission to use my designs on their sites or as tattoos but many just take them, use them as their own and take the credit for my work. Below are samples of Bjork's actual tattoo and my basic vegvisir designs. I don't mind sharing my work but it's not fair for others to take credit for my work so I'm simply pointing out that these are my designs.
The symbols I've used in my art are designed a form of expression, not as factual reference.
2015 - There is new research and information about the Vegvisir and other symbols and runes HERE on Justin Foster's excellent page. Lot's of new info there!!! A must see for anyone interested this mysterious symbol.
Vegvisirs in my art
Brent Berry designs used in tattoos
I don't mind people using my designs for tattoos. I consider it a compliment!
All I ask is that you send me a photo when it's done, to add to my collection.
Please ask me for permission before you use my art for any other purpose!
A Thor's hammer artfully adapted from 2 of my hammer designs
4 examples of my Viking art were used on the Valkyries shields in the game "Mount and Blade"