As an artist I participate in the work to make the world more humane. To make art is to reflect the world, to stand in the stream of culture and to look both ways, and to pick up issues from our collective consciousness. I am channeling the everyday and mundane world, showing it in a different form, usually presenting a more sublime way of seeing things.
My main medium is painting. For me, painting means interaction, loving and feeding curiosity, empathy and insight. It’s my way of connecting with the world and with other people. My process of making art starts with collecting images and thoughts. The Sources are music, movies, popular culture, visual arts and everyday life. I do not value or rank the sources of my work based on their popular or high culture value. Life is valuable as a whole and I perceive it in a holistic way.
History and details of my work
I am a visual artist and a painter. I live and work in Helsinki. I have been working as a freelance artist since 2009, when I graduated from Saimaa University of Applied Sciences. In my work, I contemplate our human interest and bodily existence, as well as ways of thinking, bringing everyday experiences into the sublime.
I have had over the last ten years eleven solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions. My most recent solo exhibitions have been at the Ars Libera Gallery in Kuopio (2019), and at the Huuto Gallery (2018) and the Tm Gallery (2016/2017) in Helsinki. The previous group exhibition was in Tartu Art Hall (2019) with three other Finnish artists (Johanna Ilvessalo, Anne Tompuri, Sofia Wilkman).
Background and interest
I’m interested in the overlapping of thoughts and meanings, as well as issues of identity and the presentation and visibility of them. One of the earliest, still current interest in my work has been reflecting on the meaning of ambiguity. It involves observations about people, myself and my environment. The forms that emerge in my paintings are fueled by empathy, curiosity, mental images and giving of meaning, as well as prejudices and misconceptions. My paintings are inspired by bodily experiences, music, movies, popular culture, visual arts and everyday life. I do not reproduce, but I present observations and thoughts.
There is an interest in color in my painting. The content of the painting and its physical characteristics are interrelated. I move between the sophisticated and the naïve in color and in form. I play with how naive and sublime or incidental and thoughtful painting can be at the same time. Within a painting, the idea does not have to follow a logical continuum.
In addition to its form, the finished work gets its meaning through its name. Often with the name I refer to a concept outside the painting, but I do not underline the signification. I leave the birth of meanings be built on the interaction between the viewer and the painting. Told above is a description of the interaction with me, the artwork, the viewer and the world. The relationship between the observer and the object of observation and the phenomenological approach have long interested me.
Art, existentialism and phenomenology meet in a vision that emphasizes the primacy of experience and the creation of values. Art and existentialism make the human experience of existence the main object of both research and editing. (Mäki 2018, 111.)
I have enjoyed reading existentialist texts, from writers such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty. He has written about the painter’s gaze and liberated it from prioritizing things. According to Merleau-Ponty, sensation is two-sided. Drawing, painting or imagery do not belong to the world as such, but are inside the outside world and outside the inner world. These things help to understand the apparent presence of an imaginary world. Our physical eyes perceive more than light, colors and lines. They process the world. You learn to see by seeing. (Merleau-Ponty 2006, 12, 22-24.)
To ask questions about our values
To do art and reflect the world trough art is to ask questions about the means and ways of life of our society. This includes our values in social, national and global scale. Art is a value itself and should be reflected against our other values.
In a social system, values always take part at the beginning of any activity and inside and at the end of the process. They are the powers that are born in the world of conscience and consciousness. Societies and human beings exist together with their values. Values are cultural codes and work as road maps in the way we determine the routes of an individual and the society. Values show as the ways of behaving and thinking ideally, and are used as a means of judging. They work as a guide on how to adopt and realize social roles. Values make people focus on important and useful cultural objects. (Turkkahraman 2014, 3.)
Values show the worth, importance, respect and desirability something gets in return (Soykan, 2007). In addition to these qualities, values signal what should be in the form of moral imperatives. They act as a sort of accepted criteria set and truthful opinions of what is expected by a society. We refer to shared content of values when we say we find the same things beautiful and we enjoy similar things. The Domain of common values is our collective consciousness. Common values are prerequisite of a society and without society there are no arts, traditions, morality, language or religion. These listed things are the accepted core of a society. (Turkkahraman 2014, 1–2.)
One way to categorize values is to contemplate their extensiveness as social, national and global values. Societal values are shared by the majority of society, leading to a better society. These values organize and regulate our daily life. Values are original to a particular group at a certain moment in time. Individual values are related to societal values and answer to questions like which values inspire me or make me great. National values are necessary for a nation existence and unity. These values are also closely related to societal values, they are built on each other. Societal values cannot exist against systems like constitution, which is defined by national values. Values that are shared by all societies are called global values. Global values are not relative like societal values, but are better described as universal values. Although their universality depends on societal choices. Global values affecting societal values are for example: culture of competition, productivity, knowledge, total quality, human rights, democracy, free market economy and the individual. Individual is the most important value of the postmodern society. (Turkkahraman 2014, 2–3.)
The aim of the work
The purpose of artistic work cannot be characterized by quick rewards or easily measurable benefits. Artistic work is not a predetermined in a straightforward way with finished parameters. In my work, I rely on my working experience which tells me that regular work takes painting forward. Maintaining curiosity keeps the mind and senses open, creating new insights and meanings. The Concentrated goal for my work is the progress of the painting practice and the openness of the mind. Through this practice I can participate in the work to make the world more humane.
Merleau-Ponty, M. 2006. Silmä ja mieli. Translation Kimmo Pasanen. Second edition. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Taide. (Original writing 1964.)
Mäki, T. 2018. Taiteen tehtävä. Second edition. Helsinki: Into kustannus Oy.
Türkkahraman, M. 2014. Social values and value education. Procedia – Social and behavioral sciences. Volume 116. Pdf document. 633-638. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814002870 [Accessed 1.12.2019].