1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Sami and I currently work and live in Helsinki, Finland, which is where I was born as well. My story, I feel, is just a big mysterious pile of coincidences in a row that have some how happily led me to this magical point where I work as an illustrator now. Like a lot of people, I did enjoy drawing as kid, but I personally don’t believe it’s possible to connect that to the present day with a causal line. I used to eat a lot of ice cream as a kid as well, but tragically didn’t become an ice cream eater 🙁
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I try my best to aim for a final piece that would be visually spellbinding, easily approachable, have one layer of things to that would make you laugh and then another, hidden layer of something a bit more serious. Obviously that never works, but I will try again tomorrow. Currently this seems to aesthetically come out as harmonised colours, rounded shapes with controlled curves, a bit naive, simple characters and overall abundance of elements.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
My final piece is almost always a digital vector art file. For some reason the work flow with vectors has always felt logical for me. I guess it might be just another coincidence.
4. What is your artistic process like?
It often starts with a drawing pad, a coral pink watercolour pencil and a mug of coffee in my favourite coffee place.
It then continues with artistic misery, self-doubt, thoughts about quitting everything, suddenly remembering how much I hated working in a day job, getting my shit together and then just plowing through the obstacles to finish the sketch.
I then re-locate myself to my studio, scan the sketch, draw the image again with vectors, start the self-doubt process all over again and finalize the piece.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I think I have been pretty lucky to be able surround myself with people who inspire me on daily basis. One of my greatest inspirations related to art is a swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). She is thought to be one of the first abstract painters, but because of the conservative atmosphere towards female artists in the beginning of 1900’s , she would hide all her abstract paintings and even in her will instructed that the work should only be revealed 20 years after her death. To me the collection of her paintings and notebook writings is highly inspirational work of someone who was able to see herself as part of a much bigger picture and with long term goals surpassing even her life time.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Maybe it has taught me to trust that there’s always another solution besides the obvious one.
7. Where did you study?
I didn’t, really.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I don’t know. I just really hope to grow to be a better person, and currently feel it’s important for me to get better at illustrating. Hopefully the rest will come along if I succeed in those two.
9. What about in ten?
Ok, now I _really_ don’t know. Let’s hope I’m healthy and alive and that I’ve had the courage to live with full heart. I dream of having a big, bright, high ceiling studio space with lots of windows and plants, that is simultaneously in a big european city and in the middle of finnish countryside. Should be easy, right?
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Well it would be great to have world peace and equality, but even with the self-centred ego of an artist I find it hard to believe that will happen through my work. To be a bit more realistic, but yet hopeful, I’ll say “a sensible chuckle”.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
My favourite food is animals. I like them so much, I don’t even eat them. (Okay, I lied. I eat animals sometimes. Rarely, but still. I’m sorry. It just sounded like a cool answer so I wanted to say that. Sorry again. Maybe I’ll start being a vegetarian now, so that next time I can use that answer without this disclaimer paragraph.)
12. Favourite book?
I have two terrible habits. 1. I read way too little and 2. When I do, I always leave the books unfinished. But my favourite unfinished book is Master and Margarita by Mihail Bulgakov. Maybe I’ll add finishing it to my 10 year plan.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Anything that sounds like the MacGyver theme song.
14. What are your hobbies?
Trying to figure out a pattern in the lotto numbers with our Lotto Posse at the local café. And hoping I don’t come across as a total jerk with these answers.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?