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Saimi Suikkanen

"I collect ideas from my daily life, walks in the neighborhood and daydreams. Often photographs serve as some kind of a starting point for the work. Sometimes the painting takes over and transforms the subject to something new. For me, the painting act is a collection of spontaneous decisions and moments when it is only best to look at the works and do nothing."

Where and when where you born and where do you work now?

I was born in Imatra, South Karelia, in 1994. I live and work in Helsinki at the moment.

What does your working process look like and what kind of materials do you like to work with and why?

I paint mainly with oil paint on canvas or paper. Because brush strokes look different on both materials, I usually choose a suitable painting surface according to the atmosphere of the planned work. For example, brush strokes on paper might look very raw or sharp, so it’s perfect for works that have sketch-like or expressive feeling. Sometimes the decision is very intuitive or practical. Paper is quick to prime and is therefore easily suitable for experiments or quick sketches. On the other hand, canvas usually has rougher texture. I like to play with thin layers of paint and let the texture of fabric binding to be visible.

Planning and trying out color tones or playing with different kinds of painting mediums is also big part of my work. I love to tune the moods of the works by making small changes like adding glossy medium or brightening the color tones. I’m usually a quick painter and might finish a painting in just a couple hours of work.

What kind of themes interest you in your work?

For some time, I have been working on subjects related to home, everyday life and womanhood. My work is often described as diary-like – it’s like a glimpse to my daily life and yet something very general and relatable.

I used to plan my works through in the past. I got bored with the way I worked and wanted to learn to trust my intuition more. Since the decision, I have been more relaxed about making art. I have given myself permission to paint whatever amuses me, even if the subject seems trivial or insignificant at first.

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