lauantai 12. joulukuuta 2015

Traveling in time and space

The process of painting, from a sketch to the gallery walls, is never frustrating even the final result wouldn't be worth of all the effort... Many times when I am finishing a painting, preparing for exhibition, or working with another kind of compulsion, I ignore all other things in life, like eating and sleeping, not to talk about other habits necessary for a human being. I started to sketch these works in September. When I started painting, I had lost the sketches, but I remembered somehow what was my aim. I searched for pictures on the internet to use as reference photos. I needed some wooden plates to stretch the canvas on them. When all the preparations were done, I could start working.

I wanted to examine the process from the start to the beginning. Also, the motif is about time. Tomorrow it will be history, what is present today.
So I recorded the painting process. Again I am surprised to see how in the beginning my first sketch on canvas is more vivid and the more I try to perfect it, the more dead the picture becomes. Actually I think, in these following pictures some unfinished versions are much better than the final result. But lets not get stuck in to the intention or result. I think its important that I am learning. The lesson to learn is a challenge to keep the fresh feeling in the painting, the pure expression.

It's also a matter of the technique and medium, of course. Here I was working with technique broadly called as "mixed media", in this case meaning, that I made an underpainting with acryl, using only black and white, and then paint translucent layers with oil colors. I am not mastering this technique, but however I wanted to work fast because I had only few weeks of time and oil paintings would not dry fast enough.

Excuse me, but it's also true, that I am still working in the sauna room. I haven't find a proper studio space yet. On the other hand it's not the right time. While I'm working on two jobs now I wouldn't have time to be in the studio, and paying rent for a space what I'm not using, would be foolish. On the other hand, if I wouldn't be working, I wouldn't have a money to rent a space... It's contradictory. It's the forever dilemma of an artist - whether you have money or time, but you don't have both at the same time. It's all about time and space, as you can see.






So here is the recorded process of the painting.
Three paintings, "Past", "Present" and "Future" are depicting the essence of time. In the picture past we can see a clock and a book, which both have been replaced by mobile phones today. There is also an art historical reference, a free-form copy of Adam and Eve from Ghent Altarpiece (by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, 1432). The timeline is on the z-axis, past going further from us. I started to work on these paintings just about the same time, as it was the day to which Doc and Marty time-travelled from 1985 in the movie Back to the Future. I couldn't resist to make a reference to the movie. So in the painting Past, the clock is set in 22:04, the same time as the clocktower clock in the movie, and in the painting Present, the digital screen displays the significant date, 21st October 2015, which was the distant future back in 1985, but which today, is already past. In the painting Present I depicted lots of people, many of them holding smartphones. It's an everyday picture for me, when

walking in the city or traveling the public transport. Everybody is so attach to these little pocket computers, that they are more of harm than benefit in many situations. There is an art-historical reference in this painting too, which is of course Banksy's slaughtered telephone box. Together these elements are underlining the basic-concept. I could have add so much more things in this painting, like a crashing plane that was already at some on the canvas, but I decided there are already enough elements, so I'll probably have to start with an empty canvas...

Future, then, is a free-form painting. I wasn't using any reference photos. To be honest, I have no idea what the future will be like. Maybe the square corners will get more round in the future? All the paintings had the same basic composition with centered perspective. I had the idea of entities floating in the space. And there had to be something in the middle. To make there a human form would be too obvious, so I decided to paint there: A cat. Well, the cat has nine lives, so in the end it will be the one that survives. Cats have always been with us, so you can find the cat in all of the three paintings. However in the last painting, it is the main subject. I had an idea of the form and I was still working with black and white. I was all the time thinking about blue or greenish to be the color of this surreal landscape. And then suddenly I decided to paint it red, just because. I was delighted of the fire red bright color I had invented... but I am not sure does it fit the final composition of these three paintings together.

In the beginning I stole the idea from myself, I have another painting titled "Past, Present, Future", but there the layers are more solidly composed on one canvas. The motif is also perhaps more dealing with my inner self, than looking outwards to the world. However when I brought these paintings in daylight in the one-day exhibition in Cracow, Poland, I heard quite surprisingly an interpretation of the painting Future, that it's dealing with a wish to be pregnant. Of course, the damn red color! If it was blue people wouldn't associate it with vagina and sperm cells. But maybe they were right? Maybe it is a deep sub conscious dreamy self-portrait. 
What about then the paintings of Markus Heikkerö which are now hanging in Kiasma (the museum of contemporary art in Helsinki)? If they are straight-forwardly depicting surreal sex-acts, then what is the deep sub-conscious level in these grotesque, yet skillful, paintings? Or is it so, that as a painter you are always dreaming about sex, no matter how you are representing it? Or maybe it is not in the message in itself, but the receiver's responsibility of comprehending?

tiistai 28. lokakuuta 2014

About Spritual in Art

Female Buddha.
Mixed media (aquarell, ink, pencil), 2014.  42x29cm.

Spiritual motives in art are tricky. On the other hand, all art is spiritual. Making art is the work of the soul. It is more mental than physical work and art does not have functional value. That is why all the paintings or all the pieces of music are in fact 'spiritual'. 

While Malevich was considering his abstract expressions as purely spiritual, the way I approach to spiritual in art is perhaps more concrete. Motives in these paintings rise from different religions and meditation techniques. 

At some point of my life I have made a search in eastern philosophy; buddhism and hinduism. I have practiced Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Falun Gong, Taiji, Hare Krishna mantra meditation and Bhakti Yoga, but I can't talk about eastern philosophies like an expert. It's an enormous amount of information and probably I have hardly scratched the surface.

During my stay in Estonia which is referred as the most atheistic country,  I naturally began to avoid spiritual topics in painting. I got my inspiration back in spiritual pantings, when I was invited to make a special exhibition for a fair of esoteric lifestyle and knowledge.


Sleeping Shiva. 2014, digitally retouched painting.
Original size: 42x29cm

After completing the the small paintings in very tight schedule, I started to prepare my solo-exhibition in Hirvitalo, which was soon to come. (See more on the exhibitions tab! )  As the schedule was still extremely tight due to many alterable factors… I had to realize the first ideas, that came to my mind. That is how "Three buddhas, three moons" was born. I depicted three buddhas by picking facial features and expressions from a picture of human and combining the features of a buddha statue.

I came to wonder, how the image of god never really has any facial expression. Their look is serene like nothing never happened and like such things as distress or worry have never existed. The image of any human is different. They have traits of tears and laughter on their face. They have done wrong and they have rejoiced, that is what makes us humans human.

Random Buddha. Oil on canvas 2014, 55x47cm. 


See more paintings on the Spiritual tab!


keskiviikko 5. kesäkuuta 2013

ENCOUNTERS of Visual Art and Music

In my Master's thesis work, "ENCOUNTERS...", I was searching for the connections of Visual Art and Music and approached the theme with three portraits of jazz musician/composers. Exhibition in Draakoni Galerii, Tallinn was opened on 15th of May 2013. Including these three portraits; Iro Haarla, Kimmo Pohjonen and Verneri Pohjola, the whole concept was brought together by an audio track and textual elements, which were presented as an installation-like piece in the other room of the gallery.

If you are interested to have a glance on the theoretical part, it is available here.


Photo: Jane Lappo
Photo: Jane Lappo




         







The same ensemble was put up again in the Museum of Estonian Architecture for the graduating student's TASE'13 exhibition.










keskiviikko 27. helmikuuta 2013

Crossings

This piece of a sound was created in a workshop led by Stephen Carter, a guest lecturer from University of Arts London. Each participant handed a piece of work to each other; a drawing, a painting, or something else the person had made themselves, from which another student made a re-interpretation, a continuation or a translation.
I was handed over this knitted item. I have translated the item into a soundscape. The works were shown in the Estonian Academy of Art G-gallery in an exhibition titled "Crossings" 21.st  Feb - 3rd. March 2013.







lauantai 5. tammikuuta 2013

Fireplace


Today, I carried 400kg of wood briquettes high up to the third floor or Sport & Culture Factory Polymer. If anyone ever again dares to claim, that artists are not doing "real work", they can come to kiss my a**.
The project of building up the stove in my studio was challenging and I exceeded my physical limits quite a few times. Actually these limits were not physical, but psychological. I learned a valuable lesson: if i believe I can do it, then I can. The first lesson of using the hammer drill and preparing cement, and the second lesson of using the grinder could be considered as a part of my MA degree, although I will not get any ECTS credits for them.









video



It made me think about it again, how people are assuming, that artists are unnecessary parasites of society and that they don't do any real work. This is the situation at least in my home country, Finland. "Get a real job" is that, what they are saying.
I am totally exhausted of fighting for my right to be an artist and for my place in the society. The arts, music, visual arts and literature, have been a part of civilization as long as there has existed any.
Can't people really see that they are consuming art everyday? The audience is very eager to enjoy the results of creative action, but they have no idea, how many hours of practice and preparations each action takes.

How would be a world without art? The cars are designed by artists and people drive them listening music on the radio. Journalists are also artists, they provide content. How would look a photograph without any idea about the contrast or the composition? These are not merely technological issues. In fact it is about understanding proportions, which is the automatic mathematics, that can be perfected by the practice of visual observation.
   In a discussion that was aroused among the public during the last president election in Finland in 2012, someone was in fact claiming, that musicians and artists are unnecessary for the society. However, as I already stated, arts and music have been a great part of civilization from ancient times, and there is no way to claim, that human kind could exist without these creative actions. Being an artist is not taken as a proper occupation, but in which sense, let's say for example telemarketing, is a more proper occupation? 

World needs art more, than art needs world!


"Fireplace" by Mike Fire and S. Salama 

And it heats up my studio! Now let's paint!


tiistai 24. huhtikuuta 2012

"End is a new beginning"

In the beginning of this year I moved my studio from the classroom of Art Academy to Culture Factory Polymer. I am enjoying the atmosphere there a lot, except for that it has been freezing...

 


Here are my first paintings made in Polymer:



 
  
Sold.
       


maanantai 16. tammikuuta 2012

Portrait of John Coltrane

 John Coltrane's music has been a great source of inspiration to me. Purpose of painting a portrait of him is to honor a great talent. With the colors and forms I've tried to depict the ambiance of his music


Sold.
























Details of the same painting


maanantai 12. joulukuuta 2011

"Meditation nr 1"

The estonian phrase, "Kõik on korras, nagu Norras" ( Everything is in order, like in Norway)
turned to have an ironic meaning after the mass murder in Norway 2011. What can an individual do about it? One of Buddha's teachings was, that you can't stop anger by responding to it with anger. Only way to conquer anger is love.
















The work is also a view to the indisposition of a wealthware society. According to the dictum everything is in order in Norway, referring also to the wealth of the country. But does wealth necessarily quarantee happiness and mental balance?

The painting was executed directly on the wall in Vadelma ry's group exhibition "Planeet Vaarikas" in the Art Container Gallery, in Polymer, Tallinn, during the Culture Factory festival.


Details: