Something ‘Strange’

As I begin writing this, I wonder what words will be immortalized on this page. I have an idea, a concept, a direction, a feeling of what I might want to express, however, I am at a loss of how it’s all going to turn out, and what the ramifications are from writing it. That is the mystery of it, which is what inspires me to continue. In fact, I am driven to writing this both by the sheer wonder and fear of it all.

SculptureReykjavikJóhann Eyfells, is an artist, now in his mid nineties (94), whose life has been absolutely devoted in providing a window through which we can peek at the unknowable aspects of our existence, the mysteries of our universe, of GOD, even of our own complex human nature. It is through that window we might be able to glimpse at all of the possibilities that the “unknowing” can afford us. Jóhann’s Cairn, prominently displayed overlooking Faxa bay in Reykjavik, is exactly that to me personally. It is by peering through the center of it, that we will finally accept this constant we call the ‘unknowable’.  It is this opening or awakening to the mystery itself that life is best served and lived, and Jóhann is providing us with this rare opportunity. This window can become a door once we realize that we are a part of, not apart from, this grand mystery, and that we make a decision to step through it’s threshold.


“ART is very perplexing, unknowable, mysterious, yet it is something that cannot be denied” as Jóhann puts it. The astronomer and author, Carl Sagan was once quoted as saying “I don’t want to believe, I want to know”, implying that knowledge is above all, even GOD, and paramount in our understanding of the universe and ourselves. However, Sagan was also quoted in his writings that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” implying that even the unknowable cannot be ignored.

I would go as far as to say that knowledge or ‘knowing’ kills the mystery, and once mystery is dead, life is dead for all of humanity. In the ‘information age’ we are currently experiencing, we are living in a time when the need of predicting unpredictable outcomes, solving mysteries, explaining the unexplainable, simplifying complexities, defining the undefined has become an absolute obsession. The frenzied fear of ‘not knowing’ is at an all time high for many of US, and our economies, politics, medecines, foods and infrastructures are built on that very notion that fear itself must be avoided at all cost. We are fearful of fear itself, which subsequently breeds more fear.


Genuine art is fearless and must, at all cost, remain so. Jóhann Eyfells is truly fearless as an artist, in that fear itself is never a hindrance to him, but rather becomes a trampoline from which he hurdles himself into the unknowing. To be an honest artist you must have the courage to take on that fear and find inspiration in it. Fear becomes nothing more than the artist’s tool to reveal the strange truth.

As Jóhann puts it so eloquently,

“The moment you stumble onto something simple with ‘dumb luck’, it becomes something ‘strange’. That is God’s gift to US.”

I look forward to the moment which we find excitement of the ‘strange’ and unknowable in our everyday existence so that we can all bathe in it with absolute joy!  (Written by Hayden de M. Yates)





Our award winning feature film, A FORCE IN NATURE: Jóhann Eyfells will be released in early Summer of this year, 2018. Book a screening in your city, town, museum, university or house. See trailer here:

Click on picture to view trailer

Contact us for booking information at (512) 966-9299 or






2017 Orlando Film Festival

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At the wake of three devastating hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria, on October 25th, A Force in Nature was screened at Orlando’s Cobb Plaza Cinema. We were fortunate and proud that the film was nominated for the Focus on Art category of the competition. We were more overjoyed that our Eyfells’ community was able to make it to the screening.


Steve Lotz, a long time friend and colleague of Jóhann Eyfells’ from the University of Central Florida (formely Florida Technological University) wrote this after seeing the film.

“What an unforgettably wonderful film you two have created. Its filming, editing, and concept are all outstanding. And most important (to me) is what I consider to be is its primary intent … to allow viewers to understand the life, goals, and uniqueness of Jóhann, is beautifully accomplished. It might and hopefully will give Jóhann the wide attention that he deserves and I know he has wanted.

There were many times at the screening during which I felt close to tears. . . . seeing images and relationships of Joie’s (Jóhann’s nickname) background that, during the many decades of our close friendship, I had never seen or knew about. Our only visit to Iceland was in 1965, a few months before our son (now 51 year old) was born in Vienna. We met Joie’s parents and a few of his friends, and saw some of the non-urban parts of Iceland. But not the beautiful stone and water locations you filmed. . . . all of which must help viewers to better understand the nature sources of Johann’s sculpture.

Seeing the size and dominance of his talking head on the huge theater screen. . . his constant smiles as he talks, and the likeness of his elderly skin with the geologic surfaces of the country. You have described the cosmic connections between his art, his body and psyche, and the nature of Iceland by magnificent concept, filming and editing!!!

After seeing the film I had a phone chat with him that was longer than usual. Since we are both almost deaf I’m not sure that we were always understanding what the other was saying. . . but I got these impressions: I was telling him that after your and my meeting and talking to you about the film and the relationship between you two and the contents of the things you have written about him I strongly feel that his debt to you for what you have created is enormous.

Seeing Ingólfur’s (Jóhann’s son) face after all these years, his strong visual presence (that is so much now like Johann’s was when I first met him), his strong social presence, and his appreciation of his father’s accomplishments. . . it all really moved me. And the conversation with “Little Kristin” (Leyla’s niece) who we haven’t seen since she was an undergraduate student at FTU in the 70s-early 80s.

The only part of the viewing that saddened me was that it is the only time it was shown and that was in a Wednesday afternoon when so few people could fit it into busy work schedules. But the attendance wasn’t bad and included many of Joie’s former students and people from the local art community. . . those who I could talk to, loved it.

I feel honored to be a small part of such a magnificent work of art. Thanks.”

Steve Lotz – October 30, 2017

A couple FTU Alumni from Jóhann’s classes watched the film and said this about it.

“He was also one of my teachers at UCF. I brought two friends, one who was also his student and one not. All three of us were greatly affected by his tenacity and view of the world. I was so moved and realized how much I miss his words of wisdom.

I continue to appreciate his observation of the new crack in the rock and his wonder at it. This is the kind of thing he tried to explain the relevancy of when I was a 19 year old sponge of a student. At 51, I understand more about this. The biggest lesson he taught me in life was not to be afraid of criticism and that the success is in the creating and not the sale. When I met him we had class in the Dome just before moving into the new building where he had a nice big area to work his magic. Maybe he’ll remember that. I instantly had the biggest crush on him in my first of three classes. There were so many things in the movie that I never knew about him. He certainly owns his struggle. Through many roadblocks he persevered to his artist destiny.

Bravo to the movie as a whole filming, direction, editing and bringing the pure artist out in him for the audience. I was inspired and melancholy when it ended. I miss those college days of constant learning with out too many of life distractions. Somehow he has maintained this! Thank you for making a fantastic film. Thank you to Johann for his voice in my ear and strength of confidence in my mind. I must get the DVD, when it comes out, and share it with friends. Thank you so much.”

Bethany Taylor Myers – November 2017


“Whenever I view a film I expect to learn something new and Hayden Yates’ film did not disappoint me. A Force in Nature is a study in perseverance, both for the filmmaker and his subject, the 94 year old visionary Icelandic sculptor Jóhann Eyfells. Tracing the life and influences of an artist is a difficult and complex enterprise and it has been undertaken over many years of collaboration conducted with great care and consideration. The sculptor Jóhann Eyfells ceaseless dedication to his creative work and his positive and dynamic personality are the true stars of the film. Jóhann shares some glimpses of his philosophy and a small sampling of seven decades of his incredibly dynamic and diverse artistic output. The film is a thoughtful and sensitive introduction to the artist and leaves the viewer eager to learn more about his art and irrepressible personality. It is very much a beginning into the greater investigation of human creativity, which is itself a Force in Nature.”

Mark Alexander – June 21, 2017


…and recently, from an author, poet and college professor at California State University Long Beach.

“I did get to enjoy your film and I absolutely loved it! You have a gifted eye for the extraordinary in the visual and the spiritual. The photography is luminous. The toggle back and forth between Iceland and Texas is beautifully negotiated. Eyfells is an amazing subject. The end scene with his hand gestures against the sunset is YOUR sculpture: fluid and very lovely. I was also interested in the idea of Receptual Art.”

Patricia Cherin – Poet & Author – Jan. 4, 2018


These sorts of testaments are so paramount to us as filmmakers, since they reflect how we succeeded in maintaining the integrity of Johann’s story as a man and his vision as an artist.



Filmmaker BLOG:

Our award winning feature film, A FORCE IN NATURE: Jóhann Eyfells will be released in early Summer of 2018. Book a screening in your city, town, museum and university. See trailer here:

Contact us for booking information at (512) 966-9299 or