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  • Magnusson, Otto
  • Magnusson, Otto
  • Iceland
Magnusson, Otto


Alaska may be an “ice land,” but Otto is from the real Iceland. When Otto was working in a restaurant, the chef made an ice sculpture of a salmon or a bird, he can’t remember which, and all he could say was “Wow! How did he do that?” Otto then took a one day chef ice sculpting course which the restaurant chef taught. This teacher/chef recognized talent when he saw it and hired Otto to work for him. Three years later Otto bought his first machine to make the blocks.

Since Iceland is such a small country, there is little market for decorative ice sculpting. This means that, for now, ice sculpting is a sideline for Otto rather than a career. He owns a restaurant but the ice sculpting business is growing a bit so he hopes it can become more of a career in the future.

Otto has been to Ice Alaska three times since 2013, the only competitions in which he has participated. With Iceland being so small, he does not have a large ice carving community. Ice Alaska gives him a new life and helps him to feel connected to a larger community. This is where he met a close friend, Bradley Groszkiewicz from Michigan, who was his partner this year. Last summer Bradley visited Otto in Iceland so they could design for this year’s sculpture. They chose to replicate “Sun Voyage,” a stainless steel sculpture in Iceland. When Otto was researching who had drawn the computer design for the original sculpture, he found that it was a relative. Even though this year’s carving was in the abstract category, Otto prefers to carve people and faces.

The hardest part of ice sculpting for Otto is the heavy lifting, but putting on the final decorative touches makes it all worthwhile. When I asked Otto if there is a sculpture of which he is most proud, he replied that it would be the one he is doing this year at Ice Alaska. How’s that for a positive attitude!





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