Artist interview: Heidi Ukkonen

Four You Gallery
November 5, 2020

FYG: What does your work represent?
HU: My work represents human conditions such as happiness or sadness that people can relate to. With a bit of sarcasm in it. They are mostly colorful to make them more cheerful and not to dark.

Out Of Touch, 2020-Egg-tempera acrylics and airbrush on linen-150 x 180 cm

FYG: What inspires your paint?
HU: I am inspired from the time I wake up in the morning until I sleep. Inspiration is there all around me. What I don’t have enough is time to do it all.

FYG: Can you tell us a bit more about the creation process of your paintings?
HU: I mostly work from drawings of scribbles that comes late at night from my head. The dreamy thoughts probably arise from all kind of sources such as real-life memories, Netflix or internet. I would rarely start with a white canvas. I would first work up a few underlying colors.

FYG: When do you know a piece is done?
HU: For me I think it is an emotional state of mind that would tell me if I am done. Guess if I feel good about it and don’t know how to continue I would call it a quit. Otherwise I might risk destroying it if I would go over it again. Because in reality you can go on a painting forever if you wish.

FYG: Which artists are you most influenced by?
HU: Influences will change over time. What I looked at as a teenager was really different from what I look into today. Last year was different from this one. But recently I have been looking a lot into David Hockney, Phillip Guston and Hieronymus Bosch.

FYG: How did you come to develop your own style?
HU: With lots and lots of practicing. I have constantly kept on trying out new materials and technics to find out what works best for my work. I have played a lot with compositions and color combinations.

Left Behind, 2020-Egg-tempera acrylics and airbrush on linen-180 x 150 cm

FYG: How does your work comment on current social issues?
HU: This series was inspired by the situation we all had to face recently with the lockdown.
The “Western” problem when holidays was cancelled and we had to face the situation of having a “holiday at home”. The plants and flowers in my paintings I would say are symbolic for a home and holds a lot of history. Which is in a way why I choose to have the historical images on the pots. The paintings with the figures are on some kind of journey going somewhere else then where they are.

FYG: What do you like most about being an artist?
HU: That you have total freedom of your workdays. No restricted hours. You can choose exactly what you would like to do. You can try out things and fail without getting judge about it. And everything you do results in something new that did not exist before. (unless you paint the same painting each time)

FYG: Do you personally collect art? Tell us more (if yes)
HU: Yes, I have collected a few pieces. Some from the shows that I have organized with Showhouse Jay Jay. And some other that I have traded with my own works directly from the artists.

FYG: What is success for you?
HU: For me success is when you can be happy with what you do at that moment and can look forward to what the future will hold.

FYG: What is your own perspective of life?
HU: Keep on trying and learning new things. Take risks. Listen and be nice to people.

FYG: What is your next challenge?
HU: I will be locking myself up in the studio and working on some new paintings for next year exhibitions. Also planning on working on an upcoming publication.

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