I work with intuition. I listen to how I feel at certain moments and let that lead me. I’m not at my best when concentrating 100% on some specific subject. Instead, my mind easily wonders in multiple directions – it goes one way, then turns around, finds another path and ends up somewhere I didn’t expect to find myself. I work in improvised and expressive ways. I also always listen to music while I am working and find my way of working quite similar to that of a composer.
Sami Havia, Kannattelijat, 2020, Oil on canvas, 36 x 31 cm
Where do you work and what kind of a place is it to you?
My studio is located in Munkkisaari in Helsinki. We rent half a floor with six studio rooms and a storage with my artist colleagues. The space used to be a severance clinic for drug addicts and at first I was a bit worried that the history of the space would feel distressing. But It hasn’t. The space is actually really nice with a mellow atmosphere and a beautiful light. I have fallen in love with the view from my window – a shipyard with huge light blue industrial buildings. The view constantly changes. Last week they pulled a gigantic, rustic two floor bridge out of one of these blue buildings. It looks absurd, yet very picturesque. It’s inspiring.
What do you like about the home exhibition concept?
It’s refreshing to show art outside of the white cube. At least every now and then. The way of viewing gets a warmer tone. And thinking of art buyers I am sure that it is an eye opening experience to see how many different art objects can fit into a home without losing lightness and harmony.
Recently I saw a sign in a window display of a carpet shop that said ”The carpet is the soul of the apartment”. I think artworks have at least the same impact on a home. It is wonderful that you, Antonia, open your doors to others and show how good art brings atmosphere to a home.
What have been important steps and happenings in your life and artistic path so far?
In 2010 I had my MA graduate exhibition at The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts gallery. I think I can say it was a success. And it gave me a good start at the beginning of my career. It was encouraging to the young artist I was then. Later on in 2017 when I was for the first time in an artist residence at Cité des Arts in Paris I think was a turning point as well. What an uplifting experience! In Paris I was surrounded everyday by the complete timeline of art history – from cave paintings to renaissance to contemporary art. It set me free. I realised how irrelevant it is to question oneself ”Am I relevant or cool enough?”
These two events have been important to me regarding my work as they have somehow helped my mindset.
Sami Havia, Kasvotusten, 2020, Oil on canvas, 75 x 97 cm
Sami Havia, Takapihalla, 2020, Oil on canvas, 85 x 65 cm
What would you do if you wouldn't make art?
I’ve been thinking about this many times, haha! I think I would enjoy the most professions where you can see your works results immediately, like brick-laying or something like that. It would be something that has to do with your hands, some sort of creativity and problem solving and organising. So, basically all the same things I already do in my profession now.
What do you dream about?
Working with these latest works of mine have been sort of an escapism for me. I dream about working half a day at the studio surrounded by a garden and the rest of the day working outside in that garden. I dream about walks in the forrest, enjoying some calvados underneath an apple tree listening to music and just minding my own business. So, I guess I dream about things so many of us have dreamt about during this covid-era.
What other projects / exhibitions are you working on?
I am working on my next solo show that will open in May 2021 in Gallery Halmetoja in Helsinki. After that I will start to do new works for my second show at Massey Klein Gallery in New York City for 2022.
Sami Havia was part of Marcy's Unraveling Exhibition in 2020.
Sami Havia, Joutilas, 2020, Dry pastel and colored pencil on paper, 30 x 21 cm
Sami Havia, Puutarhuri, 2020, Dry pastel and colored pencil on paper, 63 x 48 cm