Saturday Spotlight: Volume 052

19 min read

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arctoa's avatar
An Interview with-

> Please introduce yourself, in your own words. What are your interests?
I'm a gallerist, an author, and an artist. I'm living with my man, who is my constant muse; a teenager, who is challenging me not to grow old; a sheepdog, and three ocicats that make things quite lively sometimes. So, I'm living a full life, as they say! Making my photos is my passion at the moment. It's my language – and luckily art is a universal language, so no translators are needed - as is the case when one writes in Finnish. I love to tell stories through my artworks or by my writing. I'm a bit 'off' from the art scene because my art is marginal. That was also the case with my short prose and prose-poetry. However, that gives the freedom to experience and to be different without worrying about others. Aside from this, my deepest interest is with the human condition and what its minds have created in the past and present, and in which direction it will go in the future. I wish I had more hours in my days, and that I would never lose my childish curiosity.

> Where did you begin with artistic endeavours? How did you come across Abstraction or Surrealism?
As a child I was always drawing or writing. I grew up in a family with lots of artists in different fields, so I had difficulties deciding what to choose myself: whether it be music, writing, or visual arts? I compared my skills to my family and relatives and maybe because of that I chose safe academic studies - Comparative Religion, Folklore, Theatre, Literature, Art History and Aesthetics - perhaps to avoid competition with them. It took almost too long to find myself! The studies killed my creativity for years, and I had to live through a long period to get it back. Abstraction has always been inside me, since childhood. I remember having stared off into wallpapers, or clouds, or just plain porridge with milk; seeing faces, people, landscapes, buildings, and creating stories out of what I saw. So, maybe I haven't gotten very far from that point!

> How would you explain the concept of Abstraction or Surrealism to someone with no experience with the genre?
Abstraction is non-representative and in its simplest state it's playing with form, colour, line, and light. A painter may abstractise a landscape, for example, so that there are only these essentials left – and a watcher might see it as a landscape. Somehow a human mind tends to turn abstraction into something representative. Abstraction is like the universe, or life in itself: those big questions, where one tries to find an answer. Abstract work is not a riddle, where one has to find a right answer with one's intelligence; it's to be experienced.

> What inspires you to use Abstraction or Surrealism in your work?
Abstraction connects strongly with emotions and as non-representative work it speaks to every person differently. It gives the pleasure of studying, finding and experiencing. It doesn't speak or tell the story directly, but rather, makes the viewer create their own narrative.

> What do you want to express with your artwork? What is the idea you're trying to put across?
This might sound banal, but I want to express emotions and create stories. Urban decay is full of unseen treasures that most people never see or notice. So, I want to show this unseen world. For some people decay means chaos and ugliness, but for me it's a constant source of beautiful abstract material – in a way, I try to visually accomplish a cosmos out of this chaos.

> What are your 'tools of the trade'? How do you create your art?
My main tools are my camera, my eyes, and associations. Music accompaniment is mainly ambient or classical, to free my subconscious mind and imagination. Usually I make only minor edits to my images, such as contrast and light and saturation, but most of my time goes with "seeing" what the picture wants to tell me. Sometimes it doesn't reveal its secret and I let it wait, until I see and feel it differently - though some pictures stay numb from the very start. Sometimes I work with themes, such as dreams or myths. And as I must have a personal connection to my picture, I'm almost a perfectionist with the titles that I choose, as I want to express the right emotion for each piece. That might also be due to my literary background.

> Do you think the quality of a piece depends more upon technical perfection, or the message contained therein?
I appreciate technical perfection, but if the image does not convey some sort of message, it's just another nice picture. A picture with lousy technical quality may have a strong vision and personal touch, which then makes it much more interesting for me. What I'm looking for in imagery is the idea, and the personal view that I can see. Perfection can be flat; but imperfection can make perfect sense.

> Who are your favourite visual artists, and why?
Anish Kapoor's paintings have made a huge impact on me; I love his expression and strong emotions. Aaron Siskind is an abstract expressionist photographer, who was a master of using flat details and surfaces from surroundings and created new abstract images out of them. Additionally, Avant-garde photography and art from 1920s and 1930s always fascinate me, as well as old Japanese woodcuts, just to mention some examples. I also enjoy many works here on deviantART, and choosing just a few to feature at the end was the hardest point in this interview - almost like violence, as so many great works are left behind...

> Which dA Groups would you recommend to someone looking to get involved with abstract and surreal art?

:iconphotograph-ism: :iconabstract-and-surreal:

> What advice would you give to an absolute beginner in the genre?
I would advise someone to study every-day surroundings, learning to see the potential abstractions within. It's a question of finding a way to see and perceive, especially ones own way of seeing. There is not just one way to make abstracts: just create your own visual language and grammar.

> Any final words on abstract and surreal art?
I love the many facets of abstract art!

> In conclusion, pick nine works from your Favourites that you particularly enjoy.

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jenniferhansen's avatar
Amazing, beautiful work! <3