These images are made by artists J. Löf and E. Löf from the City of Kuopio 2004. Before I started modeling more, I was drawn often by local artists I would meet.
When I left home, I was barely 16. I moved to a student flat in the nearest town from my little village where my vegetarian diet, quirky clothing choices and openly anarcho-feminist opinions didn’t quite fit in with the people around me: typical small village girls and boys, daughters and sons of pig farmers and fishermen.
Moving to town changed my life a whole lot. I already had made some friends who influenced me heavily and who I shared my style, my opinions and my outlook in life with. These friends didn’t stay in my life but with them I tried to conquer the world unknown: the world of adults who I only knew to be sitting in the comfy bars and nightclubs instead of the snow where we would spend our Friday evenings.
I never had met a living artist before I met him. He was always painting, smelled of turpentine and I had an instant wish to compete with him. He saw me doing watercolors in my room and told me that I was really bad with them. The school was giving me okayish grades for my drawings and my photography but not so great that I would have been empowered by them. I tried making gonzo videos of our parties and eventually found poetry to be my best weapon in this competition I had in my head.
That’s when I started writing seriously, in aim to publish one day.
I was only in high school when this happened. I met more artisans, music students and had some failed attempts for example to co-write a musical set in a forest. I spend my time with people who are know famous for their writing or their music, and wouldn’t even take a second glance my way, I believe. I don’t know exactly what happened to our terms but the main thing still is, that i hold no grudge and would love to reconnect.
Being surrounded by artistic people was my main life goal. I moved to the capital, tried to impress a flat mate in art school, failed, moved on, changed to an Art College. I rarely went out with my class mates because I believed they didn’t share the raw ambition I had in me. Style, diet and even politics aside. But it was good to be around people who were at that time writing full-time. This is when the Poet appeared in my life.
After long emails and silence between us, I had found truly a person that guided my through my own fears in writing. I had finally met someone who did this as a profession, no playing around anymore. The Poet promised me great things but even more so, taught me I should never give up writing, no matter what. He also taught me a lot about literature even if we parted in sad and bad terms. I still got a new book of his on the mail one day, carelessly walking to the post box.
Moving abroad changed my horizons. I met a professional fine artist that I used to get drunk with and stay up late with conversations about phenomenology, God and the arts. It was exhausting to be in a such an intense relationship with him. I got tired, hurt and it got to the point I found myself crying in my brother’s one-room-apartment floor in Helsinki again after little bit over a semester in UK. My mother had bought a painting from him but I don’t see it on our family home walls anymore. Maybe it’s on lock down. Maybe there’s no reason to remember all the time that time. I learned a lot of myself: I learned I give up easily on people and always ran back if they called my name. I learned more about art, got many books about performance art and read my poetry first time out loud, back in the day, in UK.
I had broken my one and only video camera years prior. I had given up painting and wanting to be a painter. I moved again abroad, wrote a script to a novel in a year, traveled and returned home otherwise empty handed, after weird lectures and small arguments on set. I had found not a single friend on my second attempt to escape the world I had so many times left behind. There was very little to return to.
Those years back in Finland, I decided to move back to my old village. I was old enough to survive the loneliness and isolation. I was confident in myself, maybe a bit too much, running from a job to an another, writing to a newspaper and trying to send out my scripts to publishers. This I did for years and found company in the freaks that had chosen the pure insanity of hedonism over culture, art, intellectual discourses, debate and conversation. I was on my own, for the first time. I wrote my debut film script but found none to talk about it.
Then I met somebody I later on spend a couple of years with. He was a hobbyist photographer and a sound producer and a graphic designer. With him I had to say out loud I was living my dream because we were openly discussing art every day and he was creating dreamy surrealist images of our conversations and I modeled. If I had only prioritized art in my life, I would still be drinking beer with him waiting for the weekend and devoting it to being creative.
But I guess things don’t always go your way. Even if I cannot mention names of these people publicly (because I haven’t asked their agreement for this post), I want to thank you all of them for the experiences and the energy I have had from our past together. I grew up among these people. I learned a lot of my self and these people helped me to be strong with my identity. They argued me often but taught me to say what I think. I learned about the works of Abramovic, Breton, de Beauvoir and found Sherman, Goldin, Kruger. I got my debut poetry collection published because of these people. I celebrated my victories with these people and learned of paint, installation, space, light, time, even the poetics of starry nights.
If even one of these people would be reading this post right now, I really wanted to emphasize on my thank yous. Without the people in my life I would have given up on my art long time ago, however crude it may sound. Without these people repetitiously wanting to read me, listen to me and talk with me I wouldn’t be here in my life right now. I know there’s no going back to these people due to how life changes and people do, too but I will never forget all the support and criticism I have had from these people.
Now I am in a different city again, like most of you following me for some time now, know. I live with a carpenter and am in love with him, my husband. He plays football and likes to watch thrillers. We eat, speak, live and love but the art in our lives is shrank in the images of mine on the wall and the contents of my hard drive, if not to mention the film we worked on together after I begged him to star in it. Even if we talk about culture and religion a lot, I explain him words like “feminism” and he interferes with my clothing choices, we don’t make art together. It is sometimes difficult to explain my partner that art is not only a choice in life and career but a way of life you cannot deny if you are to stay true to yourself. But eventually he understands.
Maybe he sees and knows what you, people, knew about me all along.