In April I finished one of the most extensive illustration jobs I’ve done so far, the book Piga, klockare, inhysing, lots, by the author Carina Wolff-Brandt (book in Swedish, published by Vingpennan). It finally arrived from the printers’ in the beginning of July and is now for sale!
The book is part historical fiction, part fact, about the life of people in the archipelago of Southern Finland during the years 1669-1809.
I begun work on the illustrations in August 2017, and by the end of April the amount of images landed at around 70. They are all graphite drawings, and then digitally assembled and colored. The original drawings are for sale, so if you happen to read the book and wonder about some of the drawings you can ask me about them by sending an e-mail (email@example.com) or sending a DM on one of my social media accounts (Instagram @kiiwyn for example). Some of them are already sold, so act fast if you’re interested!
I feel very proud to have been part of the team making this book. The text is fantastic, a very engaging mix of fiction and fact, that paints a vivid image of the people of the archipelago. My task was to imagine places, people and object that are in some cases not pictured anywhere. For example a coast line in the 17th century will look very different. This was a very cool challenge, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to work with historical illustration. I really hope I will have the chance to do it again!
In the book there are also animals and plants, and this has also been a dream of mine, to have the chance to work with images of flora and fauna. A fantasy I have is to get the opportunity to illustrate a book on botany or similar.
The graphic design is also stunning! Made by Tuire Aho (Anno Design Oy).
Anyway. Cheers to our new book! I’ve received tons of wonderful feedback, and all I want is that as many people as possible see and read this beautiful book.
I’ve taken more time for painting the past months than before. Painting more has been a dream I’ve had over 20 years, but it has never become a steady practice. I draw and paint (mostly digitally) a lot of course, as part of illustration work. But now I’m talking about my own personal, artistic practice.
For a long time I felt like I didn’t have enough of something.. a message? time? a style? courage? Something was blocking me from really finding my own expression. Technically I have been able to draw and paint “perfectly” since I was about 19 years old. The thing that was lacking was something else.
Of course making money is an issue, since living as a visual artist in Finland is not very easy. Most artists earn money other ways than creating art. That’s just the reality.
But I can feel that some of the blockage is gone now. I feel a completely new kind of confidence in what I’m doing. I have also changed my life quite drastically the past 6-12 months, and perhaps this has something to do with it. Part of the changes have to do with developing better practices when it comes to how I take care of my body and mind. I’ve always felt a pull towards the mysticism that can be found in artistic expression, but now I am ready to surrender to it completely – for the sake of fulfilling my purpose in life, which is to connect to others through art.
So I have written a new artist statement, concerning my personal artistic work:
I choose the content of my paintings intuitively. The flowers, plants, bodies, hair and so on are all connected to events and emotions in my personal life. Images come to me in dreams and meditation and often have symbolic meaning to me. Every painting contains some of my lived experience. I have surrendered to the mysticism of this process, even though I’m otherwise a skeptic and proponent of scientific thinking. However, the purpose of art and science is the same: to understand the true nature of reality. I find much greater freedom to pursue truth in art, even though it is counterintuitive to do it through mysticism. And even though my paintings might seem just decoratively pretty, my aim is to create a kind of meditation. The artworks are meditations. The state I am in when I paint is meditative, and I hope that anyone who lays their eyes on the paintings will feel an urge to become still, observe and listen to themselves. I hope the paintings can connect us in some way, and bring a sense of oneness with the world.