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Have your work be exhibited in Finland!

In transit > <Käännöksessä is an exhibition at Bokvilla Gallery in Helsinki, Finland from March 1-31, 2017.

Translation is Dialogue invites you to submit artworks and short texts for an exhibition that celebrates Finnish Multilingual Month.

Your works will be translated by visitors to the exhibition, used to create more artworks and stories! You will be able to follow the translation of your pictures and words, to see how many different ways we can translate.  The call is open to all ages.

What to do?
Translate into a drawing and/or a short text of your interpretation of the theme, In transit or Käännöksessä. What comes to your mind when you think of In transit or Käännöksessä?

What to submit?
– Drawings (no bigger than A4)
– Short text (1-2 sentences)
– Please include your name, date, and place where it was made, on your entry.

Submission deadline: February 21, 2017

Mail artworks and stories directly to:
Arlene Tucker
Hämeentie 130 E
00560 Helsinki
Finland

Documentation of this will be posted on http://intransit2017.weebly.com.

Have Fun!

Please note Your artistic contributions will not be returned.

Arlene Tucker and Heather Connelly are artists, researchers and art educators based in Helsinki, Finland and Nottingham, UK, respectively. Their work explores translation, translatability, and what it means to translate.

Translation is Dialogue (TID), a multi-disciplinary art curation, is a project that builds a mobile platform where everyone is given the chance to create. Tucker establis hed TID in 2010. In transit > < Käännöksessä will be the 9th phase in the project. For more information, please email arlene.dearyou@gmail.com .
http://arlene.edicypages.com/translation-is-dialogue

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Scribble Artist Interview with Shetal Soni!

Profile-pic-1-300x221Scribble Town (ST): Oh my, all the things one can do! Shetal Soni moves from the sciences to the arts in the most graceful of ways. Her artwork and creative energy into the opening of Little Wing Shop gives so much inspiration for all.  It’s hard to say just a little about yourself, but let’s try!

Shetal Soni (SS): A little bit about me… well I’m someone who since childhood loved to draw and make things myself. I’m also a daydreamer and so although I’ve never formally studied arts or held a ‘proper job’ in that field (I’m officially a scientist :)) I have continued to feel the need to draw and make things in my spare time, believing that someday it can develop into something less private and a bigger part of my life.

ST: You daydream, but you also makes things come to life! What are you up to at the moment? I’m sure busy with Little Wing Shop!

SS: At the moment I’m trying NOT to read too much about Google Adwords and advertising!! 🙂 Sales and marketing are totally new to me so I’m trying learn about how to get my new Web shop seen. The designing and learning about production was an amazing journey, but there are parts of having a Business that are just not as ‘fun’ but nevertheless are important. I also have a day job, which has nothing to do with arts and crafts, but pays the bills and is stimulating the other half of my brain :).

IMG_8219-300x300ST: Who does the designing for Little Wing Shop?  There is a very particular look and the symmetry are so calming. I’d like to fall asleep to those designs, for sure! What inspires the designs?

SS: I started designing the patterns for textiles (initially without knowing they would be block-printed) while I was on maternity leave. Inspirations came from many things including parts of my old drawings, studying Indian tribal art drawings, Islamic geometric patterns and also from cellular biology! I have experience with Photoshop from work so I scanned my favourite ‘prints’ and started to play around with them, fascinated by the endless ways a single ‘form’ could be duplicated and arranged to create very different whole patterns. I did this for several months!! When you add colour the possiblities are endless! 🙂

ST: What is the production process like seeing that Little Wing Shop requires much creativity and attention from both Finland and India?

SS: Being a lover of arts and crafts I fell in love with the textiles (amongst other crafts) when visiting India as a child. The enormous variety of fabrics, colours & tones, weaves and means of decorating the fabrics was like nothing I had seen before. I have always been in awe. What I’m doing now is a teeny tiny part of that. Luckily the area where my grandma and family are from, Gujarat is still very rich in crafts and tribal arts so I was fortunate to be able to contact organisations from there and speak their language.

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ST:
Please let us know more about block printing.  It has such a beautiful outcome!

Block printing is one very common traditional method for decorating fabric in this part also and so was very familiar to me. It involves carving a pattern onto a wooden block to make a kind of ‘stamp’ and using this to print traditionally with vegetable dyes onto fabric. As the process is done by hand, by a person.. the prints can be applied according to the artists wishes and also used together with other blocks and colours. Traditionally the patterns can be very intricate, colourful and complex and the art is passed down generations. To learn you simply must go and ask to watch and learn from a ‘Master-printer’.

I have started with very simple designs in my 1st collection as I didn’t want to risk ‘making a mess’ 🙂 Working across continents was quite nerve-wrecking at times as I waited for the printer to send me the 1st photos of the trials or especially of the fully printed quilts or Duvets. What is great about block printing by hand is that even though the print is the same thing repeated, it looks slightly different every time the block is pressed down onto the fabric because the pressure can vary abit or one edge has abit more dye this time.. etc. This gives the whole print a much more alive and natural feeling than a machine printed pattern. Its the same in nature for example when looking at a field of grass or flowers, that’s why it feels nice to look at 🙂

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ST: Who encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  How did they encourage you?

SS: As a child I wasn’t particularly encouraged to draw, however my Father and Aunt were very skilled drawers so I first got interested when I saw them draw. I was quite shy and drawing and crafts was my way of having fun and expressing my self.  I made many toys out of cardboard boxes e.g. I fondly remember a puppet theatre and moving puppets for which I would make a play and perform for my family, forcing my little sister to ‘help’.

ST: Now I really want to try block printing! Any advice?

SS: Block printing can of course be tried by anyone!! That’s why its a craft that exists in many parts of the world and still continues. Try using a large potato cut in half (an adult needs to help with this) and cut a simple shape to make a stamp. Have a few plates of different coloured paints, dip your potato and stamp on paper/cloth. Try making different patterns using the same stamp…. there are no rules! e.g. a a triangle can be stamped in rows, or alternating (point up, then point-down), or even in concentric circles. Your imagination is the limit :). Have fun!

ST: Thank you, Shetal for sharing with us! Little Wing Shop is going to fly to great places!!

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Scribble Artist Interview with Martina Miño!

Animals playing in the water

Animals playing in the water

Scribble Town (ST): Martina Miño, an artist from Quito, Ecuador, combines theory and the practice of art through her collages.  Her work challenges the viewer to create their own interpretation from her mix of images and text.

Martina, where are you located and what are you up to these days?

Martina Miño (MM): Currently I live in Helsinki, Finland. Moving away from Ecuador has given  me a lot of new inspiration and material to explore the media that I currently work with. At the moment I make physical and digital collage and writing. I feel very curious about where the limits lie between the meaning created by the word and the meaning created by the image. The juxtaposition of ideas and different media interest me because I can build meaning through contrast and through the close exploration of fragments.

ST: It’s from these juxtapositions and created cut together contexts that your collages are such good story instigators!  The titles seem to play a very important part in your artwork.  How do you play with text and image?

MM: The titles of the collages play a huge role for the building of sense of many of my projects. The presence of the title not only portrays the collages as narratives but also gives tools for the audience to access them. The use of both the word and the image allows me to explore the permanency of ideas through their immateriality. Through the collages I wish to reflect upon the randomness and awkwardness our reality is built on.  The projects may tell and inhabit recognizable stories and settings that we can explore in a new way through our own subjectivity.

The void in inside you.

The void in inside you.

ST: Your titles really set the stage for the image, but in the end, we perceive them so individually with our personal histories. From an image comes one thousand stories! How did you get started with creating collages?

MM: My involvement with collage has been part of a very long process of exploration. I have always felt attracted to writing and the thing I enjoy the most about it has been to create questions. I have always felt uncomfortable expressing definite truths or closed answers through my texts because for me truths are completely subjective and answers are in many cases temporary.  Many people use images to support the meaning of a text and its understanding, but I realized I wanted to do just the opposite. I wanted to create a void and an opening to portray narratives of uncertainty. I have a great passion for the universe of images as well and how our world works through their appropriation. We live overexposed to a huge amount of images that work as instigators and ask for a reaction. The interest I have had in creating the collages has probably started when I realized the power of the fragments and how could I create meaning through the juxtaposition of incomplete ideas.

ST: What’s your process for creating these collages?  Do you feel that the images you find inspire you or do you have a story you want to tell and then you seek the images you need to support that?  What prompted you to create “You Never Come Around Anymore”?

You never come around anymore

You never come around anymore

MM: The process of creating a collage normally  starts when I overexpose myself to a huge amount of images through the internet, magazines and through my own camera. In most situations I get initially inspired by an element I might have found in a particular picture that interests me. This can be a facial expression, a texture, or the feeling I get when I look at it. From that point on I start to think why do I feel this interest and how can I emphasize it. Inspiration comes from feelings and situations I can’t understand and through which I try to portray that state of confusion or strangeness. The characters of the collages come most of the time from my camera while the landscapes and surreal backgrounds are created with the help of the internet. In the cases of all the works the title is created in the end of the process, and its based on the general feeling I get of the finished image.

In the case of “You don’t come around anymore”, this collage was initially inspired by the background which is the moon. This setting was perfect to represent the sense of loneliness inside an unexplored feeling. Space portrays for me a fascinating but hostile and asphyxiating setting, where life and love are impossible, and death almost certain.

ICE: FLESH

ICE: FLESH

The building of ICE:FLESH was also very interesting for me because I guided this collage through the exploration of the sensuality of textures. This collage seeks to explore the physicality of sensations such as the carnality of love and the coldness hidden inside a flame of passion. Another project that opened new horizons for my work was “Rushing Somewhere, Going Nowhere” and “Ups..” Through these collages I used some important narratives from video-games. Even though everyone understands that the video-game reality is fictional I focused in certain behaviors that are replicated in our society such as the lightness with which some pull off the trigger as they press Enter in their computer keyboard.

ST: From 2D a 3 dimensional world comes to life! What tools does one need to start collaging?

MM: For me, and indispensable condition that has allowed me to explore the world of collage is to de-attach myself from the preconceptions of reality and accept the fact that our subjective realities are always in a transformative state. It is also important to believe in the value of imagination, most of the ideas that are created through imagination are not conceived in a rational way but many gives us amazing ideas  to express the way we appreciate life and the world. As I said before I work through physical and digital collage. The wonderful thing about physical collage is that it is born from waste, for example, the old magazines we don’t use, old books and newspapers. This wasted images and texts carry a historical weight of the contexts they used to belong in before and that makes them even more interesting for a new use.  In the case of digital collage my main tool is Photoshop. The feature that attracts me the most about digital collage is that it exists only in a virtual world which makes them accessible only through the use of technology. These are exposed to a virtual audience that is very unknown to me. This gives me the sensation of creating something in a reality I do not control, trust, or will ever understand completely.  The results achieved through physical and digital collage create very different results from each other, but a thing is very important for me to maintain in both of them is the feeling that each fragment comes from a different context and its relationship with the other elements is uncomfortable but existent.

Rushing Somewhere. Going nowhere.

Rushing Somewhere. Going nowhere.

ST: Here we have subjectivity again; one persons idea of garbage is gold for another.  The images you have found in the trash are now being used to create more stories.  I find comfort in that nothing is always something.  Your artwork proves that too.

Who are some artists you get inspiration from?

MM: I get inspiration from some collage artists, assemblage artists and photographers. Gabriele Beveridge and Wangechi Mutu are a great source of inspiration for me. I feel inspired by them because they have been able to make interesting statements about femininity and have transcended the bi-dimensionality of collage with the use of unexpected and interesting materials that linger through the poetics of the assemblage. In the future I would also like to  work with three dimensionality because it would give me the opportunity to have more contact with the physicality and real texture of objects. Another artist I get inspired by is Roger Ballen, through his white and black photographs he transmits “complex meanings through simple forms” which is something I would also like to attain through my work.

ST: I am sure you are full of creative tips. What are some of your secrets?

MM: Some tips for collage making!

Lagoon

Lagoon

Paper, scissors and glue is all you need to start collaging! These following tips can make your experience more enjoyable:

– I normally work with spray glue, because it doesn’t wrinkle the paper and gives you flexibility of movement of the pieces for a while until it dries. It is better to use this glue in the exterior due to its strong smell, or wear a mask during its use.
– Canson paper is a good option for doing collage, its texture is thick enough to resist the humidity of the glue.
– Collage is not only about cutting and pasting. Drawing and writing can also bring you interesting results.
– Organize the pieces in the paper without glue first and manipulate the pieces as little as you can, especially if you work with newspaper because its ink might spread.

Some tips on creativity an ideas!

– If you want to get inspired you can think of a story you would like to tell through your image!
– Sometimes it can be helpful to imagine one of you favourite fictional characters and build their world or explain their life through the images! This will introduce to another worlds and realities.
-You can also imagine your life in another country or another planet and build the landscape, create the animals, imagine weather etc.
-Trust you imagination, anything can be possible!

ST: Thank you, Martina! You have been a great inspiration for many! Please have a look at Martina’s blog to see more of her artwork at http://martinamino.wordpress.com. 

Gabriele Beveridge Untitled 2012 Magazine pages, glass, frame, spray paint 84 x 42 cm

Gabriele Beveridge
Untitled
2012
Magazine pages, glass, frame, spray paint
84 x 42 cm


Scribble Artist Interview with Bradley Blalock!

Scribble Town (ST): Bradley Blalock, simply, is a thoughtful explorer expressing himself through the arts.

Finnish Sun Ray by Bradley Blalock

Finnish Sun Ray by Bradley Blalock

He asks, “Where can we meet where we feel the most peace, joy, abundance, and connection; pulsing alive with ourselves, the micro-/macro- -cosms of our community and nature?”  Bradley explores that question with the world as his mirror. His searches for answers is his life long mission as an artist, musician and massage therapist. Bradley, where are you now and what are you up to these days?

Bradley Blalock (BB): Today I am in Helsinki, Finland working on launching a creative wellness center with my partner whom is a holistic medical doctor.  I am also working on growing my massage therapy practice, music career, and documentary film about the differences/commonalities with Finnish Sauna and Native American Sweat lodge Ceremony.

ST: You carry many talents and one them being very musical!  Was there somebody that encouraged you or inspired you to make music?

BB: I have been gifted with such wonderful music teachers that turned me on to all the greats in music all over the world from many cultures.  To me, the teachers are the real greats.  Studying with them kept me participating with art, having wonderful diversified experiences, and kept me growing as an artist and I wish I had their scholarly teaching skills.

My parents were so kind to give me piano lessons starting at age 5 with Mrs. Hill in Flagstaff, AZ.  My friend had a piano and upon pressing the first key, I ran home told them about this amazing thing called a piano and begged them to let me have one.  Then I studied with Aiko Kawabe on piano.  I later studied classical percussion with Kirk Sharp at Northern Arizona University and loved playing in the youth orchestra, concert and marching bands with Jon Eder, Bernard Curry, Chuck Curry, and Bill Cummings.  I liked sharing the music with my classmates and getting feedback from judges so I could play the music better at state competitions (even though I didn’t like hierarchy in competition).

downloadI placed first in the State of Arizona my Freshmen through Senior years as a classical percussionist and I was the first percussionist to perform as a Flagstaff Youth Orchestra Concerto Artist  and The Redlands Bowl Youth Concerto Artist.  These won me full music scholarships and award opportunities to study with Gary Cook at University of Arizona, Leigh Howard Stephens (marimba retreat workshop), then at CalArts with Julie Spencer (marimba), John Bergamo (hand drumming), David Johnson (percussion), Jules Engel (world music history),  Alfred Ladzekpo (African Music & Dance of the Ewe speaking people of Ghana).

While in the San Francisco Bay Area I was lucky with Irena Mikhailova (vocals), Michael Smolens (piano), Silvia Nakkach (vocals), Anna Halprin (embodying music through somatic dance at Tamalpa Institute), Kathy Altman (embodying music through somatic dance The Moving Center School), Jamie McHugh (embodying music through somatic dance at Somatic Expressive Arts).  I also briefly studied with Ali Akbar Khan (North Indian Classical Music) and through the experience of performing in the Gamelan Sekar Jaya Balinese Gamelan Orchestra.

ST: Wow that is some list of accomplishments and accomplished artists!  You must have loads of wonderful stories.  I think the list may go one, but what are some instruments you play?  And where can we hear your music?

BB: I’m a vocalist, marimbist, pianist, percussionist, & creative soma dancer.

All my albums thus far:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/bradley-d.-blalock/id348620645

Gestures in Silence:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gestures-in-silence/id530902566  This is a meditation album.  10% of the proceeds benefit the Gary Sinese Foundation.  The first track features Heidi Wilson on saxophone.

Futuristic Lullabies:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/futuristic-lullabies/id348620644  I wrote these songs while in a lot of pain about the world, trying to find peace.  Many of the lyrics suggest my spiritual connections, opening the heart, and the struggle to find peace at times.

ST: Your nature photography stands out on it’s own and is also really a beautiful accompaniment to your music, as well. How do you view your connection between making music and taking pictures?

BB: I had an amazing art teacher in high school named Karen Butterfield.  She won a nation wide teacher of the year award.  She taught me a lot about the color wheel, contrast, lighting, negative space, texture, and being evocative.  I love finding moments in photography where all that comes together and with the digital age it’s made it so much easier to have many great art moments and surprises that show up walking in nature or the community.  I would love to explore a way for my images to come alive with music and dance.

Relative Distance by Bradley Blalock

Relative Distance by Bradley Blalock

ST: On top of you being an artist you are a healer with your massage therapy.  I see more connections with nature and caring for the mind and body.  When did you start doing massage therapy?

BB: In 1994 at CalArts, I was was working on a multi-disciplinary sensory performance art piece without words I wrote when I was 19 called “Nature’s Mirror”.  The idea was to ponder the question, “What if everything in nature is reflection of ourselves in empathetic resonance as a mirror?  For example, is the oil, franking, or rainforest destruction in the Earth a wound to our own body in some way, yet oppositely positive for the beauty, health, peace, and abundance we can joyfully steward and heal?  With this awareness how would our choices be different?  What would we keep, buy, protect, nurture, love, and return to the Earth in a good way?

Bradley Hands. Photo by Jack GescheidtI was a week away from my first rehearsal with an artist collective I had met with that had a dancer choreographer, animator, filmmaker, lighting and stage design artist, and musicians when BOOM the Northridge Earthquake closed the school’s building for the semester.  A month prior I had received my first therapeutic massage and it totally changed the way I made music; it became more effortless and full of more awareness.  When the Earthquake happened, people were stepping outside and meeting their neighbors they hadn’t met in 20 years, you could hear birds instead of traffic, and electric waves weren’t pulsing through the air.  I decided that Nature’s Mirror was already happening and I didn’t need to make it an ego driven performance but instead make the concept a way of life.  With massage therapy, you’re utilizing all the senses (i.e. skilled touch, aromatherapy, music, creative visualization and a peacefully beautiful environment, & you can give someone a glass of water or an organic apple at the end of the session.  Massage therapy utilizes science based skilled touch that can positively affect every system of the body while unlocking the complex holding patterns, or wounding, each person has that keeps us so guarded from each other and nature.  Stress, isolation, disconnection, and lack of expression is a cause of many illnesses.  Massage therapy helps to prevent such illnesses and feels amazing for the body/mind/spirit/Earth/Universe.

Sedona by Bradley Blalock

Sedona by Bradley Blalock

ST: Your passion for caring and humanity culminates in your biggest endeavor with the building of the wellness center in Finland.  How did the idea form and who will it be for?  Can’t wait to visit it!

BB: Sauli and I both had dreams on opposite sides of the planet to open a wellness center.  When Sauli and I met, he had already acquired a historic mansion to renovate called Nuutajärven Kartano two hours North of Helsinki.  I was working on a project in Arizona to work with post acute addicts and PTSD folks to help each other heal by hosting retreats for people as they worked and learned for 3 months, returning to their communities with less stigma and more whole from daily practice in healing and education around nutrition, organic gardening, artisan markets, somatic expressive arts (i.e. massage therapy, yoga, pilates, feldenkrais, creative movement, & martial arts).  We bonded with our common goals and abilities, and decided to take steps to build our relationship and open our facility in a year.  Currently it’s call a ‘Natural Hospital’ in Finnish and my idea is to call it Eco Soma Arts Institute, or ESAI.
luontaissairaala.fi

Nuutajarven Kartano

Nuutajarven Kartano

ST: I envision Nuutajärven Kartano to be a place where many inspirations take form and flight.  At the moment, where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create and what inspires you to create?  Is there a different creative process for when you are composing as opposed to taking photographs?

Right now I am writing new songs.  I have lots of melodies ready to develop.  I am looking for an abelton expert to collaborate electronic sounds with the live instrumental and vocal sounds I make.  I haven’t found that person yet here in Finland but I haven’t given up hope.  I also have tons of photographs I have made that turn ordinary objects into wondrous abstract shapes.  My problem is that I tend to do too many things at the same time but my ideal flow in life would be to; tend my goats and garden in the morning, see 4 hours worth of massage therapy clients, have lunch, work on my music and/or art for 2 hours, tend my goats and garden, have dinner while spending quality time with my partner/friends/family, then do it all again the next day.  I would love to tour my music around the world 3 months out of the year if I had the opportunity.  I have an idea to build community, culture preservation, creativity, theater, and music through storytelling I would love to get going in Finland for youth and elders.

DSCF1239ST: If you could be a sound, what would you be?

BB: Stars twinkling and the space in between them moving the Universe along.

ST: From the loving and creative person you are, what is a message you’d like to share with our Scribblers?

BB: Know that everyone has a gift.  See each other for it in all your glory, devotion, dedication, discipline, perseverance, and imperfect perfections.  Give yourself and each other more play and joy in the imperfections so that pressure to compete is cancelled by the joy of sharing, collaborating, growing/studying, & creating.  Be helpful, ask someone permission without imposing help, find out what would be helpful, and then do it.  Stay open to learning from other cultures as your preserve your own traditions.  Know there are many peace technologies through gardening, somatic expressive arts, science for the benefit of all sentient beings, meditation, community arts events, love, and laughter.

ST: Thank you, Bradley! Everyone has a gift and the present is a a gift too.

Bradley_marimba


Scribble Artist Interview with Laia Riera Sanjaume!

Picture of Laia Riera Sanjaume painting

Photograph of Laia Riera Sanjaume painting

ST: The bursts of colors in Laia Riera Sanjaume’s artwork matches her warm and open personality.  She’s an explorer of all sorts and you can see that in the various talents she has and from the many places she has lived.  From painting to textiles to being an art workshop leader, Laia shares her joy for art with the world!

Laia Riera Sanjaume (LRS): Hi Scribble Town! I’m Laia Riera Sanjaume, I live in Helsinki, Finland. Originally I am from Barcelona, which is very close to the Mediterranean Sea.  Ever since I was a small child I loved drawing stories.  I consider myself very lucky because my parents always encouraged me to develop my creative skills and they have been very supportive.  They are both linguistics and writers so you can imagine as a kid, it was fantastic to read as many books as I wanted to from their library and get inspired!  When I am not drawing I paint on canvas, or simply I make sketches for prints.  I also enjoy reading, doing Yoga and just chatting with friends around food.

ST: You move between Barcelona and Helsinki. What brought you from place to place and how have the different environments affected your artwork?

LRS: Some time ago, while in Barcelona, I met Jere and we fell in love.  He is from Finland and we decided to work together as independent designers.  Finland inspires me through Nature especially with silence from the woods that I am not used to.  It reminds me of the summers when I went traveling with my parents.  It’s an open door to new dimensions.

13 shamans by Laia Riera Sanjaume

13 shamans by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Yes, Barcelona is “home”.  Although, funnily, I realized it only after having lived in Winchester, Antwerp, Madrid and now in Helsinki.
Actually, each of these cities have been a bit of a home for me.  Home is our comfort zone.  Therefore, we tend to get relaxed and less observant to what surrounds us and to ourselves.  In order to draw, to imagine new scenarios, it’s necessary a good dose of investigating.

In my case this can be through reading,  traveling, being a foreigner in a new land…getting excited when meeting friends, being fascinated by the colours of the sky, trees, and hearing for the first time another language other than your very own.  Whenever I move away from my country I feel like I am suddenly awake.  And at the same time, whenever I return I see my city through renovated “lenses”.  It is very motivating, indeed!

At the present, I like to see Helsinki as a temporary place where I get to know myself better and where I explore new tools to express my inner world.  For instance, as a result of this, I changed from watercolor to oil painting, a technique I haven’t been using for years.  Right now I am working on a series of prints for the clothes Jere is designing and we will make together.

Hands in Hands by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Hands in Hands by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: It’s true, each environment brings out something special in us.  It seems like your Finnish winter is welcoming you to get more acquainted with more of your inner self.  Even in the darkness of winter, your paintings are so vibrant and imaginative!  What medium do you paint in?  How did you discover this medium that suits your imagery so well?

LRS: Thanks a lot!  Yes, in fact, the oil painting enables to create vibrant colours , bring texture to emotions and the expressions of the faces.  Usually, I am a bit chaotic when using the medium.  When I work on paper I treat it with tea and coffee because it gives it a yellowish and warm base colour.  I guess I discover mediums when trying to capture the right emotion when I start drawing  and I am working my best to register it accurately.  Actually, it happens through the work itself.  Work brings inspiration and more discoveries.  For instance, in my studies in Fine Arts in Barcelona University, or as Fashion student of the Fine Arts Academy of Antwerp I did research a lot!

Let me orget about today by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Let me orget about today by Laia Riera Sanjaume

On the other hand, every single day is a new beginning so you can always get surprised by a new twist in your own working process.

My favourites are Écolines, a never ending number of inks, water colours, oil painting, golden lacquers, glitter, bitumen judaicum paint…just to mention a few.  During my short stay in Winchester School of Art, I mainly did etching. Since then I use the hard point tools just to scratch the paint off, or just to add details.  Finally, to mention Collage or Mood Board as ways to get build up a new project.

ST: You are a true explorer!  You experiment and are inquisitive with mediums and textures.  Now I’m so curious about your ideas.  How do you come up with the themes for your series?

LRS: Normally, I start because of a feeling that later on will evolve into a story. A short story if you want, or an open story.  Sometimes it takes a month before I finalize a painting with which I am more or less satisfied. Sometimes it takes me only one day.  It can also be that I feel so happy when I finally come up with the exact idea of the painting that I need to paint it not to forget it. Other times, it can be as well, that by drawing I shake away negative moods that will bring on new topics to explore.

Painting by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Painting by Laia Riera Sanjaume

When I was a little girl I had a lot of imagination. In fact, my teachers throughout the years almost assumed I’d be a writer. My first years of life were a bit uneasy for my mother, because of a sad event.  Since then, the act of drawing is perhaps like going to an invisible shelter where I instantly get immersed.  I can be there for hours and hours and hours.  Drawing is a very powerful tool for me.  In truth, there are many times that first I write down the stories and slowly I begin to “see them” in colours, shapes, and volume.

I couldn’t say what it comes first as, haha.  Indeed, I am fascinated by the power of emotions and how these change our bodies and minds. How, as well, we change thanks to the effect of communicating to the ones we share our life, our present, the earth , ultimately. These are the essential themes I care about mostly.

Years ago I started focusing on memory, identity and transition. Since then folk culture, beliefs, myths ,storytelling are also my main themes of research. I love borrowing books on these topics from the public libraries to build up an atmosphere. Then, when the atmosphere is ready the working hours just flow.  As well, I am very interested in women dress and how did the fashion history changed because of the historic events and how these affected womanhood.

All of them witches by Laia Riera Sanjaume

All of them witches by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: Congratulations on joining Armuseli’s “made by artists” group! When you make your scarves for Armuseli do you keep in mind the size and shape?

LRS: Yes, I do have to be very careful with the size and the shape of the scarves.  Since the print adapts to the shape of the scarf.  And it had been a challenge for me, a very positive one! I did struggle a little to fit the original painting into the required size.  Itxaso Torrontegui is a textile designer and a graphic artist. I admire her colourful prints.  One day, my friend asked me to collaborate for her new project.We worked together in Madrid as designers for a clothes company.  We met as colleagues at work and we are now very good friends.  Armuseli “made by artists” is Itxaso’s initiative which brings together art, textile and fashion designers.  The result is a variety of small and unique collections of silks printed scarves. I am so happy to belong to Armuseli.

In this case, each artist has assigned a theme to be inspired by. It helps a lot, specially if there is a deadline. The print had to be inspired in Winter flowers and Frida Kahlo figure. Personally, I love Frida Kahlo art, so it was a lot easier to get started! Moreover, I had been truly inspired by the winterish forests from Finland. Actually, I took the chance to research a lot  the tradition in graphic printing and textile design in Finland.  Soon Armuseli will launch the website so you can give it a look; and the scarves are already on sale. It is wonderful to see your painting in a scarf in the streets.

After Hour by Laia Riera Sanjaume

After Hour by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: Oh how exciting that we’ll get to wear your beautiful designs!  Another congratulations on your recent exhibition in Spain!  What is this series of work about?  Hope I can see them in real life one day.

LRS: Thanks! The paintings that are exhibited in the art gallery Espai [b] of Barcelona are a series I did prior leaving Barcelona including some painting from a new series I started in Finland.

The gallery Espai [b] has been showing my works since 2011 and I am very happy to be chosen as one of their artists.  This group show revolves around the small format edition concept. For instance, the previous show was focusing on the idea of the face and the portrait.

Faces by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Faces by Laia Riera Sanjaume

In my works, faces are one of my strongest points, and as I said women’s dresses from different ages throughout history. I did a series on this topic for the gallery.

ST: In some ways it seems like you are a social historian in the way that you document people in context to time.  It’s really fascinating!

You are a textile artist, fashion designer, painter and illustrator.  Wow!  How do these industries support each other in your artwork.  Is there one field that you feel more comfortable in?  Adventures all around!

LRS: Haha, wow, said like this…The best thing, for me, in this is precisely that drawing and painting are the common denominator of these fields.  In addition, they can merge perfectly well and blend into each other. There is a very little separation from these disciplines, to my eyes honestly.  The fact that an illustration can be on paper, and can be converted to a beautiful print on a dress, jacket… it just gives me only more freedom as a creative.

When I design prints I rely on the imagery which fuels my painting, illustrations, and vice versa. So, it’s like just different chapters of the same novel.  The adventures had been and are very enriching.  I have been a former product designer for a clothes and accessories brand in Madrid.  There I used my skills to sketch and develop embroideries, prints and garments. It was my first real job after my long studies.  It was lots of fun!

When traveling to India or Hong Kong for field work, I always had with me a very small sketchbook and a mini water-colour box.  My bosses and co-workers taught me how to be myself as a creative at the same time I was a designer inside of a team.  On the other hand, I also had the opportunity to teach graphic techniques to young students. And I feel very grateful to transmit to them this knowledge and share with them.

Header by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Header by Laia Riera Sanjaume

When I worked for Inditex as a graphic  designer I drew on paper or on the computer all day long.  Although, I would say that the permanent adventure is to work as an independent freelance artist. It’s an incredible one and I hope it will be until I am very old.  And to be able to collaborate for projects like Dear You / Kära Du, Armuseli and so on.

Nevertheless, I am fortunate I could apply my knowledge and real vocation in a so called “office” job.  To answer to your question, the field I feel more at ease, is painting. Wait a second, drawing. Uhm I can´t simply divide these two!  🙂

ST: Indeed, drawing and painting for you are inseparable.  Your vibrant nature seems like it could be easily excited in the best possible way.  Is there a place you find yourself feeling especially inspired to create?  If you’re feeling stuck, what do you do to get yourself in the mood to create?

LRS: One of the best places for me is the living room table, instead of the one in the studio…ahem. I know it sounds strange, but it is where I quite usually start to sketch or write ideas.  You’ll find me there because it is a very lively place with strong energy from many different people that have lived in the house or passed by there. I like to feel surrounded by the sounds of people.

After a cup of coffee I automatically put the radio on the background, or long tracks of Jazz music, or anything from Ane Brun, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Patti Smith, The Knife and many others; depending on the mood.  Then I move to the studio room and I prepare the big table to paint with all my tools.  I like to create a big mess first.  Although in the end I need to see nothing else than the table and the paper or the canvas.  Definitely with a never ending list of music!

Laia Riera Sanjaume's working table

Laia Riera Sanjaume’s working table

Nowadays I am designing together with my partner our first clothes collection and parallel to this I am painting new series. In order to combine these two tasks, I separate the table by imaginary lines. Then I also like to pin all the images I had been collecting, from postcards, to sweets wrapping papers, to a simple found object like a fabric tape…I pin them into a board. If not I tape them on the wall itself. Every now and then  I separate myself from the current painting. It is important to take distances. I look upon this map of images on the wall and I try to match them with my mental map. As I said before, the right atmosphere to create is crucial!
When I get stuck I go for walking, running or seeing friends. It usually works wonders.

ST: Sounds like you know how to take advantage of space and appreciate all the corners of your home.  Creativity needs air to grow!  Just wondering what are the 5 most important things in your life right now?

LRS:
1) Love
2) Family
3) To achieve goals, from the tiny ones to the huge ones.
4)  Happiness
5) To continue learning

ST: Thank you Laia for sharing with us!  Your stories, feelings, and beautiful depiction of faces give me a lot of inspiration!  Scribblers, please have a look at Laia’s website http://laiaillustration.com and keep up with her adventures on her blog http://lairisars.blogspot.fi.

The fox, myself II by Laia Riera Sanjaume

The fox, myself II by Laia Riera Sanjaume


Impressive Yarn-bombing!

Hi Scribblers!

Remember our Yarn-bombing post a few months ago? We came across an exciting image today!!

Photo credit: Manos Del Uruguay blog

The steps of the Helsinki Cathedral in Finland was covered with over 7,000 crocheted blankets! The best part was, all of these beautiful blankets were later donated to shelters. Now that’s some heart-warming creative!

Do you love to crochet? Check out Scribble Shop to save 20% on Red Heart Yarn! We’d love to see your finished projects so be sure to share pictures of your finished work on our Scribble Shop Facebook page!

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