Artist Interview: Einari Hyvönen – Painter & Parallel Universe Tourist

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenTell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I am Einari Hyvönen, a 25 year old visual artist and a tourist in parallel universes. I live and work in Oulu, Finland.

How did you get started doing what you do?
My interest in fine art arises from my early adolescence when I found graffiti art. After and along with that, I was driven by B/W film photography which developed into use of a view camera and 4×5” film. At the same time, digital technology on photography was developing for better quality and it settled into my tool kit for good.

Furthermore, I studied graphic design, printmaking and finally painting. So far painting has been the most versatile technique for executing my thoughts.

Learning all the previously mentioned has been beneficial for my work. I am able to take work pictures of my artwork, process them for any need or purpose. I can design my invitation cards, posters, website design etc. And at the same time I learned to use Photoshop which I frequently use to sketch my upcoming pieces.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenWhat’s your inspiration?
Nature, space, video games and of course various stuff that has gathered in time in my subconscious. Video games have given me a great reason for trying to reach and apply the same type of feeling of immersion, that I have got from playing them, into my works of art.

I’m also keen on puzzles in games. This I have utilized by hiding “Easter eggs” into my paintings. For example in my piece A.I. 2.7.0 (2013) the background is made of binary code, 0’s and 1’s. You are able to uncode/convert these 0’s and 1’s to letters and find a hidden text. In that same piece the head of the Artificial Intelligence is made of QR –code that you are able to read with your smartphone.

Another example is The Cycle (2014) where the background is made of Morse code that is also possible to convert into letters and find a hidden text. In the future I am going to add more of these little games into my paintings, because it makes them more interactive.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenWhat is art to you?
For once it was my reason to live, way to coup with my mental health issues and to recover from them. Now I have a need to paint the visions and ideas that come to my mind. Also, in every session it’s very therapeutic when I get my flow on because at the time when I’m deeply concentrated on painting. at the same time I’m dealing with matters that have affected me directly or indirectly. This helps me to move on.

What does your typical day look like?
I wake up and drink a cup of coffee. Other then that habit, I try to avoid doing anything typical. On a larger scale, my typical month would be three weeks of full-time (manic) work and one week of well-earned R&R.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenPainting by artist, Einari HyvönenHow long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends on the size and difficulty of the project. The scale is from a couple of days to a couple of months. I have stored plenty of good ideas in my mind and sketch books. Some of these ideas will need months or even years to mature to the state of being actually feasible. In time some of them will just drop out for not being such good ideas anymore.

How do you keep motivated?
I am self-driven; my future goals keep me always on my toes and new challenges intrigue me on what I do. Always, when I start creating new work, I think to myself what I would really want to see. In my mind I see plenty of short visions that I would love to watch longer. In this case there is only one option, I have to create the view myself so I can enjoy it.

How have your surroundings influenced your work?
I have been moving to different places all my life. I spent my early youth in Salo (Finland), Singapore and in Dallas. Now most of my life I have been living in Oulu, Finland. Here in Northern Ostrobothnia the landscape is flat which makes the surrounding appear calm. I believe that there’s the same calmness in my pieces that I feel here where I live.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenWhat do you hope to accomplish with your work?
For some time I have been trying to strengthen the feeling of immersion- what I have felt from playing certain video games. I have implemented it by creating large pieces and making the picture from first person point of view. This helps the audience to think of themselves in the action of the painting. My most recent addition is red-cyan anaglyphic 3D –technique. When using red-cyan -glasses this technique gives a great illusion of depth of field. I hope that my art work could gives a momentary feeling of escaping this reality for the viewers.

How have others reacted to your work?
Different ways: some are amazed, some do not show their reaction,s and some have even been scared. Especially my recent anaglyphic 3D –paintings have had some surprising feelings from the audience. “How does this work?” “How is it possible?”

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenWhat do you want others to take away from your work?
The honesty for what you do. Make what turns you on! I don’t mean this in sexual way, but if that’s what you are in for, then you must go for it!

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Nothing, it would spoil the future. And as an older me I would not try to exhort myself to make art. Who knows maybe I would become a master chef or a multi-million dollar deal football player. Anyways, I am very happy how things have turned out in the present.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“You don’t need to try to control everything.” Because my perfectionist nature, I have to remember this time to time. Some things are just out of my hands and I have no ability to control them whatsoever.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenAny words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Work hard, learn to accept constant failing, and learn to rise even stronger and better. Mistakes are good for you, only if you get the message of them.

Prepare to lose your “free time”. You work on your projects all the time, but that’s how you like it.

Remember to be selfish in your ideas, because in the end you make your art for yourself and that’s where your motivation should come from. (This doesn’t apply if you are in the advertising business)

What are your thoughts on art school?
Art schools are a great place to meet somewhat similar people. Common interests make creative collaboration among students easy which benefits everybody. I am interested for further studies, preferably abroad.

Painting by artist, Einari HyvönenWhat’s your dream project?
Having a massive retrospective exhibition where I could see my whole production. For that, I still have decades to work on it.

What art supplies do you use?
I prefer top quality oil colours on linen. For sizing my canvases I use rabbit skin glue and for priming I use oil primer or gesso. As a painting medium I have several different recipes for different purposes. Sometimes for saving time I use acrylic paints for applying the ground colours. (When this happens the priming is not done with oil primer, of course.) And for sketching I use pencils, charcoal, Photoshop and couple of times I have used Blender 3D -modeling software for creating background plans for the paintings. A good example for this is Searching for Yourself (Physical) (2013).

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