Einari Hyvönen Interview
by Javier Melian, Chrom-Art.org co-founder
Young Finish artist Einari Hyvönen has been around the world and currently works and lives in Oulu, Finland, one of Europe's "living labs" where residents experiment with new technology. There he is also a guest university lecturer in Expertise and Mentoring, and Creative Collaboration. His works combine abstract, surrealism, and new technology such as 3D. Einari sees himself as a tourist in a parallel universe; we call him visionary.
Einari's interest in fine art arose from his early adolescence when he discovered graffiti. Along with that, he was driven by B/W film photography which evolved into filming. The ever improving digital technology quickly settled into his tool kit for good. He studied graphic design, printmaking and finally painting. He also learned Photoshop which he frequently uses to sketch upcoming pieces.
The subjects in Einari's art are usually either humans or animals. He develops them first by simplifying the forms of the sketches, and then re-constructing the forms using rhythmical lines he paints on canvas. He uses mainly oils, but occasionally acrylics, even car paints.
Nature, space, video games and his subconscious are recurring inspirations in Einari's work. Video games have given him reasons for trying to replicate the same type of feeling of immersion that you get when you play them, into his art works.
He is also keen on enigmas, leaving cues for the audience to decipher. Some of his paintings are like egg hunts. For example, this one below where the background is made of binary code, 0’s and 1’s. One might be able to decode these into letters and find a hidden text. In that same piece the head of the Artificial Intelligence is made of QR –code, readable with a smartphone.
Another painting has a background made of Morse code that is also possible to convert into letters and find a hidden text. Einari continues to add more of these little games into his paintings, because it makes them more interactive.
Einari has been moving to different places all his life. He spent his early youth in Finland, Singapore and Dallas. He's been settled in Oulu for a while, where the flat Finish landscape makes the surroundings appear calm, the same calmness that exists in his pieces.
"I create art in order to experience phenomena that are impossible to experience in any other way, for instance memories from my past life are not reachable otherwise. Certain colour, form or scent can trigger a momentary vivid memory, which provokes feelings of deep longing for the memories. I channel these emotional states with my art. This is my way to travel into my history, to make a retrospective survey and to save memories on the canvas and to appreciate everyday moments, which in future will be souls of my forthcoming art."
When did you become aware that you were an artist?
My first memories as deviation of normal being fascinated on visual aesthetics goes back to my early teen years. When I was 12 years old my good friend thought me how to make basic tag letters, and there I was, sunken deep into the graffiti culture. Every piece, which I create today, grows on my roots of graffiti art. In my early teen years I experienced plenty of successful moments and received respect from peers. I believe, this has been the reason why I have experienced a need to direct myself to creative careers. First, I studied photographing and then become familiar on graphic design and alongside with these I studied printmaking. With printmaking I experienced an enlightenment that I could get deeper into the thought of art and create works that has more meaning than my stuff before. It feels a bit stupid to call myself as an artist, but I would say it was year 2007 when I became aware of the possibilities and abilities what an artist could be.
Did anyone specially encourage you to do art?
I don’t have many memories about such, but my lovely parents never said that I could not. And in addition, I have received a full emotional support on whatever I have decided to do with my life. Which I cherish and feel bit privileged.
How would you describe your style? How is it evolving?
My style has been in motion, especially in beginning. It has been changing from almost abstract, 8 bit -ish, optical illusions -style to realistic and a bit surreal. I category these by two worlds: The two-dimensional and the three-dimensional world.
Oil colours represent traditional methods, and because of this I have wanted to expand the barriers and cross borders. I have applied anaglyph red/cyan 3D -paintings with oil colours. When a person watches these paintings with red/cyan 3D classes, s/he is able to see three dimensional objects on two dimensional surfaces. At first it was just an experiment to try if it is even possible to create by painting.
For the first time when I got it to work out, I felt eureka moment and it inspired me to create more versatile and technically difficult 3D -paintings.
Is there a message in your art?
I would say that the most fundamental message in my art is that when people grow up they should not forget their child-like imagination. The real life with all the versatility is amazing, but when you add your own fantasies and playful imagination to it, it will be magnificent. I like to think that my paintings are windows and doors straight to my imagination. I hope that people will understand what an amazing addition my imagination is in my life and therefore get inspired to create their own “parallel multiverses” to juice their harness and get more enjoyable moments in the life that they have.
What other artists do you admire?
There are not many artists that I admire per se. I have seen numerous works of art that I do admire. Here in Finland I have become friends and co-operate with couple of artists that I honestly do admire, but I always admire people more as a person than what they do.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I have been dreaming that in the future, when I have more material of my parallel universes, a game studio (or a graphic designer) would create next-gen quality video game scenes based on my original artwork. In this game the player could walk around in the first person view and interact with the environment. Or in a traditional way, a sculptor would build these scenes one to one size as environmental art, where I and other audience could see these as three dimensional. Of course I have more collaboration projects that I have dreamt on, but these two would be mind blowing.
What's your view on the current outlets to show art: art fairs, galleries, social media, street art
I have joined only in one art fair, I can understand that those events can attract people to see great amount of various works in one run. In my opinion when there is too much data to process, single works does not occur in favour, rather it comes one big mass.
Galleries are usually great interiors to show your works as you have planned to show them. Unfortunately, rent in great galleries is expensive and gallerist takes commission of the sell. The risk is huge if you do not success to sell your works. Alternative possibility is to rent empty spaces and do all the work yourself or have exhibitions on free spaces such as libraries, restaurants or “underground” galleries which do not ask for great sums from the rent. I have done all of these, and every type of place has different clientele, which of course broadens your own clientele.
Social media is great way to advertise events and show your process and activities on the work as an artist. Displaying the process gives more human perspective to understand the followers and friends. Being active in social channels also sustains and increases the interest to my work in followers, possible clients and attracts more audience. I understood that you found me from Twitter, so good things, like this is possible to occur.
Because my roots are in graffiti art, I automatically support the idea to let the artist leave their mark into the city. We had zero tolerance on street art over decade here. For last half decade attitudes have been changing in to more approving direction and legal walls and commissions for house size murals have been increased. Things are going on right way slowly and steadily, I respect people who have been fighting for this.
Your art transmits a great feeling of calm. How are you as a person?
Nice to hear! I am calm, quite introvert, environment observing person. My paintings are portraits of my personality. I love dark blue colours and watching night sky and the endless space filled with stars. This view soothes me and gives a feeling of infinity and that there is plenty of life out there. Night sky is a catalyst that motivates me to create what I want to see. It is like a clean canvas, ready for limitless possibilities
Your art seems to be inspired by nature, parallel universes, the cosmos… are you a spiritual person?
In a way yes, but I am not religious person. When I create my paintings, I like to play with various thoughts, like what will occur after the death. I am not interested for trying to statement the truth, I just play with these ideas for fun. Mysteries for humankind give great themes to play with: outer space, human life vs. synthetic life and everlasting questions like mentioned above, the death is inspirational subject to dive into.
Outside of the playful brainwork I am more rational, a fact-based person. If something happens I do not believe that it happened just because it was already written or it happened because it was purposed to happen. I believe in random events. People affect on their lives, and anything they choose to do is random event in the bigger picture.
Nature is the basis on my creations. Everything here is built from the same elements or at least from same remnants of an exploded star which is built from previous exploded star and so on. There comes the cosmos, it is the same thing on wider scale. It is interesting to think how many form of life have been using the same basic elements that our bodies and surroundings are built from.
Parallel universe is theory that inspires me to think “What my life would be if I had done something differently?” Or if events in history have gone differently what life would be and would there even be life?
What are you working at the moment?
I am taking a break with the anaglyph 3D -paintings for now and I am focusing on my POV series. All paintings on this series are created from the first person perspective. This series is inspired from first person shooter role games, such as Mass Effect and Fallout. For a past couple of years, I have created these from human view. Recently, I have studied how differently various of animals see the surrounding world. For instance I have been studying the field of vision, depth of field and what colours they are able to see. I have chosen six animals from different continents and all of them are endangered species. I think, this is a great place to use the first person perspective, so that audience can assimilate with the lonely animal and understands the eternity: when unique species are gone, they will be gone forever.
What are your future goals?
For five years I have been applying to universities and polytechnic colleges in Finland and in Scotland. This year I was finally accepted to a degree programme fine art and I can continue my studies here in Finland. Now I have almost four years’ time to develop my skills toward to the top.
In recent years, through applying and experiencing disappointments, I have built strong base on my skills and on the art scene. Time has not been wasted, on the contrary, I have achieved knowledge that schools necessarily cannot provide. I have learned what my chosen field is. All this only supports and strengthens my future possibilities after I graduate from the school.
My future goals are to exceed myself time after time. To be active in the art scene: having exhibitions and participating on competitions. In other words I’m continuing what I have been doing all along. As being disposed to perfectionism the most important part as my future goals is to remember to loosen up and to have fun. Creating art should not be too serious.
Further Information on the Artist´s work on www.einarihyvonen.fi