MARIAN PATTERSON

Monday 4/24/17 time 2:53 PM

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Background as an artist? 

I have a background in film making and production design, photography and sculpture. 

How did you end up choosing your media? 

The project decides the media.  This can be daunting as usually I have to learn a whole new skill set to achieve the desired result.  It's a bit more experimental science and lots of thinking through structural elements than anything.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? 

The worst bits are garden variety type stuff such as anxiety and lack of faith in your abilities. 

The best bits - getting lost in a world of your own making. 

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa? 

If you love forests, liquorice, coffee and sweet buns you will have found your homeland. I had never been to Finland before and I will be coming back.

I had a loose sense of what to expect prior to arriving by Merja's awesome booklet (check out the pdf!) I knew that Joutsa was near forest and there was a lake and there would be a sauna. From my own imagination I thought I might find myself in the forrest in the midst of a death metal music video.  In reality I knew I would have to take lots of photographs of my partner as if he were in a death metal music video. 

I hoped rather than expected to see the Northern Lights, sadly it was the wrong time of year. I did get to see the local disco lights (Terhi will take you and make you dance and it will be an experience - also Tehri is the best).  Also, snow and wild blueberries! 

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? What are your plans after Haihatus? 

To be drenched in the work and free of outside obligations.

After the residency my partner (who was also participating) and I travelled through Russia, Estonia and Latvia.  I am currently back in Melbourne chipping away at new work. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 

Above and beyond. 

It was a challenge applying to come at first as I had secretly started to view myself as a complete and utter dilettante. Being able to get over the fear of reconnecting with my practice and be open to a non linear approach of making work continues to enrich my practice to this day.

One of my favourite experiences of Haihatus was the particular group I was with and the way we all loved to share dinner and chat about our day, wins and frustrations.  It was pretty special to be able to ground the at times slow going practice of art making as real and of purpose

The Haihatus experience is perfect for self directed work, you can develop work, try a totally different medium, complete a project or all of the things  You can walk around and conduct personal performance pieces in the yard and no one bats an eye as you cross the perimeters between the present and the past.  

One of the best things is that the Haihatus residency currently comes with the bonus of Terhi *

*NB everyone is wonderful, I got to know Terhi the best and I owe her a kangaroo (ahem) bottle opener - you can delete that bit if you want Terhi haha!

Just go!! I will probably see you there at some point :)

1 comment .

ANGELA FORTIN

Saturday 4/22/17 time 5:26 PM

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Background as an artist

I am graduated from the European School of Fine arts of Brittany in France since 2011. I use different kind of mediums mainly drawing, sound, video, writing and photography. I participated in various collective art projects (musical collaborations, writing collaboration, collective exhibitions, etc) and shown my work in video and music festivals.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I think I choose the medias with which I can work the most intuitively. There are the shortest way that lead to the mind.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

Best side is to reinvent the world everyday. The Freedom ' s right. Worst side is always reaching to be recognized by the profession.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

I had already been in Finland. I am very attracted by this country, its culture. And I was very interested by Joutsa's location especially for the natural environment.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

Having a residency give you the time to concentrate on your work, to redefine it. It is a place where you can test new works, where it comes a profusion of ideas. Maybe because you are in a new setting that changes from your everyday life.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus I will take part in a collective exhibition to compete for a price selection that will held in France during the summer.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

I was looking for an inspiring quiet place where I can focus on my work : simple things, like working in a studio, going outside, walking. At this time taking some distance with my country was important for me. Haihatus revitalized me !

Furthermore I like working from environment that I can find around. And the residency is well situated for that. I enjoyed a lot all the surprising paths surrounded Joutsa and the wonderful landscapes !

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MIKKO KALLAVUO

Friday 4/21/17 time 1:01 PM

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Background as an artist

I'm from Kotka. I live and work in Imatra, but I still conceive myself as A native of Kotka. I mainly draw and paint. Sometimes I combine painting with wood-engraving.

How did you end up choosing your media?

It varies. Recently I have made works that have my own interpretations of works by other artists. I was devoted about this new way of doing when I attended a 5000m2 -exhibition-happening in Lappeenranta. In the theater building that has been demolition judgment, I painted the wall of the tobacco room as I interpreted Helene Schjerfbeck's painting Toipilas (Convalescent). Here in Haihatus I am doing a work where is my interpretation of Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal. My own works may have some comical features, but I have great respect for original works.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The finest thing is to do something meaningful to yourself and then notice that someone else gets something out of it. The hardest thing as an artist is to wash your paint brushes and consent that you can not continue.

What kind of expectations did you have about Joutsa?

I came to Joutsa with open mind and I expected that Haihatus is an inspirational milieu. It seemed like that in photos.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

Place exchange is good every now and then. It calms down and gives new perspectives. And the residence has good working spaces.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Continue my daily working in Imatra. I´m planning to make a solo exhibition.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus has been a very inspirational milieu. It's nice to meet other artists and see their artworks. There are friendly people and cats in Haihatus.

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ANNA-MARI NOUSIAINEN

Wednesday 4/19/17 time 4:27 PM

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Background as an artist
I had been applying to art schools after high school when I found myself in Heinola
studying audiovisual media back in 2010. I didn’t have any background with moving
images at the time, it was completely uncharted territory for me. I fell in love with
video and after graduating from Salpaus, I applied to Tampere University of
Applied Sciences (former TTVO) to study Film and television.
The best things that the school brought to my life were people I met and culture scene of Tampere.
I started working with Sami Sänpäkkilä in couple of his music videos when I suddenly
realized it’s possible to do something by actually doing it, you don’t have to know
everything in advance. The DIY-spirit only got stronger when I started to work on the
film Samurai Rauni Reposaarelainen with art group Moderni Kanuuna.
I realized that I didn’t have to have lots of (or sometimes any…) money, certain
diplomas or even experience. Everybody starts somewhere – I just needed a hint of
devil may care-attitude, enthusiasm, time and courage to write down and act on
ideas.

How did you end up choosing your media?
Like many things in my life, a happy accident I guess!
Even though I studied film, I hadn’t ever really thought about video art. My
background was more in photography at that point.
In Tampere I majored in cinematography. I wasn’t that interested in traditional
television or movies, more like art house and experimental films. Film industry is often
compared to an army and that isn’t really my thing. I don’t usually work with traditional
scripts or have a strict hierarchy in set for example. I found it hard to do my own (quite
experimental) work through film studies so I started participating in the arts
department studies too.
First I found music videos, which are like video art to me, I just don’t have to worry
about sound! I still do them every chance I get, they’re fun and rewarding and I’ve had
the chance to do them with some great and inspirational artists.
Then I stumbled across a video art course at school. On that course I made my first
video artwork and found my media - it was at the same time very familiar, but
something totally new!

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?
Uncertainty and ”real life” are the worst sides I guess. By real life I mean things like
money, rent, time control and stuff like that. I juggle between paying freelance jobs,
unemployment and making art. Sometimes I’m also worried that I have to give up
some of my dreams because of art. I’d like to have my own house in the woods for
example, but can’t really plan things like that because my financial situation is always
uncertain (and most of the money I get goes towards making art, it’s a mystery). On
the other hand uncertainty can sometimes be great too! Things can and will change.
I can’t say that I’m like a fish in the water when I make art. It’s not always like having
an intense flow experience, I don’t enjoy every moment. But even at bad days I still
don’t worry about anything else.
In regular life I overthink and analyze things, I worry a lot and sometimes I’m way too
conscious about myself. Some days I find it very hard to exist in this world or in my
life. But especially when I’m filming and/or directing, I don’t think about anything else
but that moment. Even (or maybe especially) when everything feels hard and things
are going wrong on the ”set”, I am present, make decisions and the stuff I’m doing at
that moment is the most important and interesting there is. That’s the time when I’m
out of my head. I need that.

Is this your first time in Joutsa? What kind of expectations did you have about
it?
Yes it is! I’ve lived most of my life in the countryside, so this wasn’t a ”culture shock”.
I’ve been living in Helsinki for a year now and I still feel like an outsider there, so I
looked forward to the silence, peace and nature.
My tips for other residency comers:
- Get a library card!
- Go to see a movie in Joutsan Kino!
- Hypoteekki is a nice cafe/lunch place. Very good pizzas in Jouto-Tupa!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?
Normal life doesn’t get in the way of doing art! It’s harder to procrastinate (you can’t
organize your drawers or wash windows etc). You know you have only X amount of
time here and you want to make it count.
I don’t live by myself and right now I don’t have a study either so peace for working is
sometimes hard to find (or at least I tell myself that). Here you have it and you can’t
pretend otherwise!
You can also live and do your work in your own schedule, which is super nice. You
could also come here and just chill, without a plan, I heard. That sounds cool too!

What are your plans after Haihatus?
I’m shooting a music video for Konna-Sami in May and possibly doing some ”real
work” in a couple of Finnish feature films this summer.
I’m also working on a joint art project with Sami Sänpäkkilä and possibly another one
with Sanna Komi and Hanna Kaihlanen. We’re also curating a video art/short film
screening with Hanna for Joutomaa Fest in May! So I’m pretty much settled ’til
October!
If you’re interested in my upcoming projects, exhibitions etc. you can follow this link:
http://annamarinousiainen.com/upcoming/

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?
Perfectly! I had this kinda strict schedule about working since I wanted to edit two
projects here before I start new ones (also there are some deadlines creeping up on
me…). I’ve stayed in my schedule and I’ve still had time to drink coffee, pet the
residency cats, read books and bike around Joutsa!

 

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CAROLE MURPHY-WOOLFORD

Wednesday 2/15/17 time 12:43 PM

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I am not an artist but am here at Haihatus with my husband, John, who is a painter. For me, what was attractive about Haihatus was the opportunity to have an extended amount of time to reflect, think, read and be outside in nature, experiencing a snowy Finnish winter.

Arriving in small town Finland was a bit of a culture shock for a couple of days – we live in London and had just spent three months in Bordeaux – but now I love it and the pace of life and the surrounding landscape it offers.

It’s our first time in Finland and I knew almost nothing about the country. It’s been an unexpected pleasure to learn a bit about the history, culture, language and to meet Finnish people.

I’d hoped that I’d get plenty of opportunities to do outdoor activities like skating on lakes, cross country skiing and hiking – and it’s been great doing all these things. The ski trails are just a few minutes’ walk away and there’s some wonderful peaceful hiking in Leivonmäki National Park. I wasn’t sure how much variety there’d be in terms of food you could buy in the supermarket so was very pleased to discover that there is plenty of choice and you can buy pretty much anything you want, even fairly exotic items.

The time at Haihatus is great for us both as there is so much freedom to follow your interests in a very relaxed and positive atmosphere, with few interruptions and in a beautiful setting.

After Haihatus, we will go onto another residency programme in Berlin where John will paint and I will study German.

Haihatus has really exceeded my expectations. I was reflecting the other day what a good choice it has been for John and me. It’s given me time and space to be both active and reflective – which is exactly what I was looking for.



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JOHN MURPHY-WOOLFORD

Wednesday 2/15/17 time 12:26 PM

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 I am a painter / print-maker living in London who has been making art since completing my Fine Art degree in 1987. I arrived here at Haihatus Artist Residency with my wife Carole at the beginning of January 2017 and we are staying for 3 months.

Last year Carole and I planned a break from our regular jobs and we are now almost 5 months into a 12-month sabbatical which has taken us initially to Bordeaux, France for 3 months and now to Finland. In April, we move on to Berlin Germany for 3 months where I will attend Takt Artist Residency and continue painting and making prints.

I have painted for most of my career but actually started off as a sculptor. But leaving college and continuing to make sculpture seemed to present too many obstacles for me and so in truth I became a painter because I thought it would present fewer practical problems. I quickly discovered that creatively it was harder but immediately felt I had a much more authentic personal voice as a painter than I ever did making sculpture. And I do think that a background in sculpture informs, in some small way how I make my paintings.

In London I was typically working 2 or 3 days a week in my studio before returning to my part time job. What is most rewarding and exciting about this planned 12 months is the uninterrupted time to be able to work, reflect and experience different locations and environments.

I have exhibited fairly regularly over the years but wanted to challenge myself to be more focussed and ambitious about my art and was looking for a residency which provided this opportunity as well as the chance to have fun and experience new things.

Haihatus Artist Residency is an ideal, relaxed and comfortable setting, perfect for concentrating on my painting, thinking through ideas, mixing with the other artists and as a base for excursions. Before coming to Finland, Carole and I did not know very much about this country, its customs and culture. We did know it was going to be cold, snowy and quiet in Joutsa which suited us well. When not working, I have really enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, ice skating, cross country skiing and of course, saunas!

After the first month, I am very happy with how the painting is progressing and feel that the residency has provided me with both space and freedom to explore my work as well as a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere and I look forward to the next few months.



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MADISON MOORE

Monday 2/13/17 time 10:05 AM

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​Background as an artist

Hello all! I am a recent graduate of Alfred University School of Art and Design in Upstate New York, with a degree in Fine arts and a minor in Art History. While my concentration is in Art Photography, I have begun reaching into the world of sculpture and video art pretty enthusiastically!

I have only recently begun my trepidacious journey to become a working artist, and Haihatus was the first of what I hope will be many residency/programs that I will take part in!

How did you end up choosing your media?

It was a weird road, but I began school as a primarily 2-D artist, focusing on drawing, life drawing, and painting. However, I ended up have a weird relationship with oil painting in college, and after a long interest in photography, I took up my first film photography class sophomore year of University. I fell in love with photography, only transitioning to digital photography this past year! My school encouraged multimedia practice as well, so I wound up finding my love also existed in jewelry making, metal and wax casting, and video work too. Which is great, because I personally believe a lot of contemporary artists are finding multimedia to be the best language for their concepts, and it is the most exciting place to be in.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best is easy; it’s being able to find your passion as a never ending, continual process. Being an artist means you are always fighting something one way or another, which is great, because I think I’m pretty angry a lot of the time. I love that I never have to question my calling, art is my one true love. The worst? You can never leave your job, as an artist, you carry the burden of your work around with you constantly, even when you’re out at a park you may find yourself worrying about when to apply for something next, or to email that curator, or to find a solid chunk of time to dedicate to studio practice per week. Unlike a 9-5 job, you can’t just go home and relax. It’s kind of maddening, I know why so many of us go crazy.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Well, I was good friends with a girl from Helsinki a few years ago, and she introduced me to Moomin, but It was my first time in Finland! The expectations I had about Finland were that I thought it would be a country mixed between Iceland and Sweden, but instead...it seemed to be more like a mixture of Russia and Norway? If that makes sense? I also thought it might be more queer, just because of how progressive nordic countries are. But, I loved it for what is was. I just wish I had seen the northern lights!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

I feel as though there are many ways to measure opportunity, and at an art residency you have to take into account that most residencies are practically art vacations. You can take a break from your money day job, and just have pure time to dedicate to working in a studio, around other artists, and get inspired and work hard at your art. The opportunity lies in networking, and meeting others as well as developing your body of work richly in a foreign place!

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus, I will be moving with my two friends and peers from University to either NYC or Chicago, where we will continue to live, make work, strive for recognition and success, and apply for more programs and residencies! We simply are going to go, and continue to meet great people and artists, and I’ll be trying my best to keep moving forward at all costs.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus met my expectations and exceeded them. The availability of studio space and the materials that were afforded us around the residency house were amazing. Having my own room and kitchen and yet also having a communal kitchen to cook in as well were all great factors. Having such a large studio space for my photography was excellent, as I need to be able to move quite a bit when doing my photo work.

Meeting Finnish artists, Merja, and the other residents at the house was such a great experience. There was nothing but hospitality, saunas, art making, and new faces at Haihatus, and I feel richer for that being given to me as an artist. Thanks Haihatus!

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MEGAN BOETTCHER

Thursday 2/9/17 time 1:11 PM

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Being an artist has not been easy for me, 
...but it is what brought me to Haihatus. 
 
My first media of interest was photography. This interest flourished and eventually evolved into a love for video. Video then turned into installation, and now my art practice has become a conglomerate of experimentation with different media, though my main practice is in video, photography, and installation.
 
Since my art was not conducive to the place I was living, I left. I donated everything I owned, burned my artwork, and flew to Finland. I needed somewhere to sort my art practice and have the freedom to create. Living at Haihatus for what will be five months has become a sort of therapy. It is a process slow in sorting, but it has been effective. 
 
In April I will move to Berlin, a place a bit more fast-paced. I thought Haihatus would just be a stepping stone, but it has become much more.

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SEVDA KHATAMIAN

Monday 1/2/17 time 3:57 PM

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How did you end up choosing your media?

I can't really say that I work on any specific media. I use different materials and mediums to express the ideas, and develop the project I have in mind with different aspects. I do wish that I could work on feature length films in the near future, and I believe my studies and art practices would gain me enough experience to make that happen.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is that you're an artist, and you have the free pass to live a life with a twist, and a little bit out of the ordinary. You can be homeless and everyone's okay with that. All you have to do is to watch your pocket; artists are not very rich people and they may run out of money any second. This might be the worst side!

Is this your first time in Finland?

Yes, it is. It sure won't be my last.

What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

I wanted to see what life's like in a small town, also experience the Finnish lifestyle. I believe three months is the perfect amount of time to be fully familiar with a place.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

I don't think I need to worry much about anything else other than my work, while I'm an artist in resident. As if my life, what I know and what I'm ordinarily used to goes on a pause, and I can be absolutely focused on myself and the projects I create.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I'll keep on traveling as I had already decided to be on the road. I could be a lot more productive as I move.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

I was looking for a calm environment to finish the book and other projects I was working on. Well, Haihatus was a lot more comfortable, interesting, friendly and fun that I had imagined.

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MELODY JANE

Tuesday 12/20/16 time 4:25 PM

BACKGROUND AS AN ARTIST

I spent just over a decade honing my writing skills, while working in technical fields, before making the decision to give the same level of dedication to visual arts as I had to writing. Visual art is something that I always had an affinity for and now, coming back to it with more experience, I find that I have an unprecedented level of motivation and enthusiasm, combined with the determination needed to keep practising no
matter what.

HOW DID YOU END UP CHOOSING YOUR MEDIA?

I haven't settled on any one medium, and I hope never to do so. I try to choose the appropriate media to each project or series, and I try to always learn something new.

WHAT DO YOU FIND AS THE BEST AND WORST SIDES OF BEING AN ARTIST?

For me the worst aspect is the constant need to defend yourself from absorbing a culture of competition - the juried exhibitions, exclusive galleries, officiated commissions, grant applications, school entrance requirements and all other instances where the practical necessity to limit participation leads to some very exclusionary, and potentially disheartening, situations. It will always be a challenge to critique oneself and be aware of how one can grow, without comparing oneself negatively to others, and when an outside party seems to reject the work that you do it is far too easy to lose joy in it - one of the best sides of being an artist is the freedom in creation and self-expression, and appreciating that expression of freedom in the other artists that you meet, who are your peers and allies and potential collaborators, and they should not be
turned into competitors.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME IN FINLAND? WHAT KIND OF EXPECTATIONS DID YOU HAVE ABOUT FINLAND/ JOUTSA?

I had already lived in Finland for several years before training as a visual artist, but I had never really ventured into the countryside or to any smaller towns. I was nervous that my art skills would not be mature enough, and that I would not be exotic enough, besides other
residents of the house, but it was immediately clear that my nervousness was unfounded.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SIDES / OPPORTUNITIES IN HAVING AN ART RESIDENCY?

The space to think clearly and work, the boost to productivity, the new environments and experiences, opportunities for experimentation - but most of all the wonderful people you meet!

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER HAIHATUS?
I went to Haihatus in Summer of 2015, with the hope to kick off work on a series for my first solo exhibition; I produced enough work during and shortly after this to secure an exhibition for the following summer. I then visited again recently, because coming to Haihatus with a focused work plan had meant that I could not explore all the new opportunities
that presented themselves while I was there. This time I have learned to weave Finnish rugs on the looms at the local craft centre and used materials from the house to create sculptural work.

I plan to collaborate more with other artists and take part in more  group exhibitions and installations in the coming years.


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ROBBIE SIVEWRIGHT

Monday 12/19/16 time 12:59 PM

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Background as an artist?


I have always had a passion to draw and a passion for cinema. As such, I decided to pursue a degree in animation at my local university where I developed a better understanding of the various aspects of storytelling through a visual medium from inception to completion. It was during this time that I was particularly drawn to animation pre-production, including conceptual art, storyboarding, and character design. The responsibilities of shaping the overall look and tone of a film can be daunting, but the creative experimentation present during pre-production can also be greatly fulfilling and exciting.

Since graduating university I have continued to refine my own portfolio while also trying out a more illustrative style.

How did you end up choosing your media?

I used to sketch and colour everything entirely by hand, however at university I was given the opportunity to practice drawing digitally using a graphics tablet and software such as Photoshop. My work now usually combines the traditional with the digital. I'll draw something in my sketchbook, then I'll scan it into my computer and enhance or manipulate it. Working this way is more forgiving if you make a mistake or want to back up what you're working on, so I guess I chose this media out of practicality and convenience more than anything.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side of being an artist is the inexplicable feeling after successfully working on or completing a project that you can say you're happy or proud of. That sensation not only acts as a source of motivation, but also reaffirms your passion for art.

The worst side of being an artist is definitely maintaining that motivation. It can be very difficult to stay positive and productive when there's a real struggle amongst artists to stay financially stable while doing what you love to do. When working freelance you can't always predict when the next job will come or how it will impact your income, so that level of uncertainty can also have an adverse affect on your motivation.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, this is my first time in Finland. I tried to avoid forming any preconceived expectations in a bid to maintain as open a mind as possible before coming here. Admittedly I did have some reservations over the language barrier and unfamiliar setting, however, once I explored Joutsa and found my bearings I soon realised how peaceful, picturesque, and welcoming the environment really was.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

An art residency is an opportunity to explore, experiment, and evolve your craft. It's a great way to refine your technique and expand your portfolio while engaging with like-minded residents from all walks of life and artistic backgrounds. An art residency at Haihatus is extremely laid-back and easy going, meaning that there are no expectations or pressures placed upon the artist. Instead you are left to your own devices and can work at your own pace which is very liberating.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Once I return to Scotland after Haihatus there are a few art competitions I plan on entering. Additionally, I will continue to sell my work at gaming and anime conventions, I will look into exhibiting some work in local galleries, and I will also continue working on my first illustrated book. I may even apply for other artist residencies too!

Basically, keep doing art while I try and sort my life out.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

As this was my first artist residency I was unsure of what to expect. I was hoping for a relaxed and inspiring environment where I would be given free rein to explore my ideas and Haihatus definitely provided that. It has been a warm, uplifting, and cathartic experience that I recommend to anyone who is looking for the chance to work on and experiment with their creative ideas , whatever they may be.

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TINA WILLGREN

Thursday 12/15/16 time 2:08 PM

 photo: Tina on the right
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Background as an artist? 
When growing up, my family was very creative. My parents painted, sewed and made music. They were also politically engaged and we moved around a lot. Art became a natural way for me to process and engage with a mysterious and confusing world. During my years at art school I got into video, which I still primarily work with. I make exhibitions and participate in video festivals. 

How did you end up choosing your media? 
I was a painter to begin with, and experimented a lot with different techniques during my art school years. I also liked dance, and when I later on found video it was just perfect. I'm drawn to working with movement and atmosphere, and to combine images, sounds and text. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? 
I feel alive; it's as if I always have to use my capacities to the fullest. It's also one of few occupations in which following impulses are an important part of the work. (Most situations demand some kind of reliability, responsibility and predictability of me). The emotional swings can be tricky though, something might feel great one day and really bad the next. There aren't really any stable reference points. On one hand, I have to trust my emotions to be able to do the work, on the other; I have to distrust them if I'm getting into an overly self critical loop. 

Is this your first time in Finland?
I've visited Finland quite a few times, since it is so close to Sweden. 

What kind of expectations did you have about 
Finland/ Joutsa? 
I like 
Finland a lot. It's similar to Sweden, but somehow different. Joutsa is about the size of the village I’m originally from. It feels strangely familiar, although the nature around here is much more idyllic. 

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 
It's so great to have a period of time away from the everyday life, too meet other artists and to have a possibility for concentrated work. 

What are your plans after Haihatus? 
At the moment I'm preparing a video for a video wall at an American university, which will be screened in the summer. Besides that, I´m sketching on some ideas, but haven't yet decided which one to go for. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
I love it here, it's welcoming and relaxed! I´m here for one month, but would have liked to stay longer. 

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JULIE RAFALSKI

Monday 12/5/16 time 9:56 AM

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Background as an artist? 

I have been a practicing artist for 10 years (after graduating from art school) and have been working with media such as video, photography, printmaking, drawing, collage. My work has been shown in various international group and solo exhibitions.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I never really sat down to chose my media, I became more drawn to some more than others: collage because of its playful capabilities, drawing because of its direct linking of eye/brain to paper via the hand and print making because of the multiple images it creates. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? 

The best part of being an artist is having the freedom to pursue topics and ideas that interest you.

The worst part is having to sustain a level of discipline and motivation throughout the year.  

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa? 

I have been in Finland before and I have always found it very inspiring. I did not have any particular expectations about Joutsa, but have been very pleasantly surprised by the amazing natural environment, the friendliness of the people and the delicious food.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? What are your plans after Haihatus? 

An artist residency is great because you don't have all the everyday commitments such as working at a job, commuting or even distractions like exhibitions to go and see! One can just concentrate on working and thinking. A new environment is also very helpful, as it allows you to see your work afresh and  from a greater distance. Most importantly, the time at a residency is continuous - there are no interruptions. I remember thinking in Haihatus that I could actually remember exactly where I left off the previous day and that this sort of continuity then puts you in a very productive mind frame, where ideas flow more freely and and it's easier to experiment or try new things. 

After Haihatus, I plan to continue with the work I have started there, to create a whole body of work. More generally, I plan to apply to more residencies in the future and perhaps return to Haihatus one day! 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 

Haihatus was my first residency experience, so I didn't have any expectations really. I loved the whole experience. 

There was complete freedom in what type of work we would make, so it felt like there was no pressure to make a certain amount of work. This allowed me to work at a slower, more deliberate pace. It also allowed me the freedom to experiment- in the middle of the residency decided to do a site specific installation, which was a challenge. But I had the time and the freedom to experiment and try new things, and this allowed me to create the installation. 

The environment of Haihatus was very inspiring- from the gorgeous forests and lakes in the area to the different buildings and spaces on the Haihatus complex, to the spacious studios and to the warm, supportive environment in Haihatus. I was particularly inspired by a shed in the backyard, where I ended up doing my installation. 

It was also great to meet so many wonderful people- both the organisers of the residency and the artist friends. It was great to have a group of artists working together in the same space. Even if some days you didn't feel particularly inspired or you were at a loose end, the creative energy around the studios was motivating and energising. 

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MARIE DOI

Thursday 11/17/16 time 5:03 PM

Languages bring their own colors for the everyday life and communication in the artist residence. Sometimes the body language, gestures, images and machine translations are worth of gold.

The language barrier was challenged by Japanese Marie´s artist interview and that is why it was decided to leave in Japanese-language and machine translations left as they are with all the incorrectness for the reader to interpret :)

Click here to read a presentation of a great artist Marie Doi

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Marie Doi: My body, my brain

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JULIANA BRADLEY

Wednesday 10/19/16 time 10:22 AM

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Background as an artist

I’ve always liked to make things. I began drawing when I was a little thing and began painting as a teenager. I painted and painted and painted until recently, when I’ve started to make sculpture and mixed media pieces. I went to school one time & so have a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I don’t know that I chose to be a painter, it’s just always what I’ve been. I also make books and I discovered that particular joy on accident, through a community college class – it’s an awfully useful skill for making the perfect sketchbook. In addition to making things, I’m an avid reader and a large part of my work combines painting with literature – either conceptually or physically, in the form of borrowed words or pages. My sculptural pieces are almost always made out of found wood, construction or shipping waste, usually. I like to sand it down and make it silky-smooth and dress it up in gold.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best part of being an artist, for me, is being able to make ideas manifest as objects. The worst part is crushing uncertainty and a predilection for depression.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This was my first visit to Finland, and now I must visit again and again and again and…I love Joutsa & Haihatus & Finland too. I didn’t know what to expect but I was so happy in the big yellow house and in the little town and spending time in the forest among the trees and water.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The best part of residency is the uninterrupted time to think and to make. To be taken out of the crushing capitalist routine (of America, for me) to concentrate on creativity and on living more holistically. Also, having the opportunity to experience a different culture and to gain insight and inspiration from that. Plus, all of the wonderful people from all over the world, who are also on artistic journeys.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I must work and work and work. Also, I will make work. I’m considering graduate school for an MFA and also trying to figure out exactly how to spend the next five years, including as many residencies that I can cram in.  

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LOUISA VILJOEN

Tuesday 10/4/16 time 1:30 PM

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Louisa Viljoen, Sara-Jeanne Bourget and Johan Bronkhorst in front of their joint environmental art work "Bypath"

1. Background

I am a 23 year old emerging creative, based in Cape Town, South Africa; currently specializing in sculpture and installation.

2. Choosing media

As most kids do, I absolutely loved drawing and painting (literally) at all times. I grew up in Cape Town and took "art" as a subject throughout school. During that time I was introduced to conceptual painting that I took very seriously and ended up in art-school. 

During my time at university I felt that the media (painting) wasnt challenging me enough and that the art felt dead or dying. I developed a need to challenge the process of creating as well as challenge the interaction between art and the viewers, buyers or collectors by making interactive art-pieces. I found that art should become integrated in an active manner through a "viewership". That is why sculpting satisfied my creative side. 

3. Best and worst of being an artist

The best thing about art as a career choice is the ultimate freedom it provides its thinkers. Whether it is curatorial, event- or studio-based, it provides a platform to inspire new means in any direction. Art could be anything and about anything. I love how it provides me a space to not only be understood, but to innovate.

I would say that the worst thing about being a creative is that there are many uninformed individuals that want to buy art (for decoration purposes), but wouldn't even give the media a chance to broaden their thoughts. As an emerging artist, I feel dissapointed in the manner in which galleries or collectors go about working with their chosen artists. The art-world became more occupied with money and value and less with concept and innovation. To explain myself, I feel that the aesthetics and the meaning of art are becoming more and more removed from one another. If it looks good, it sells. An artist is there to "create", not "produce" - a word I hear too often.

4. Expectations about Finland

Yes, this is my first time in Finland and I would say that Joutsa met more than my expectations. It is a great residency and working environment. Every artist there provides a different approach of the process of "making" and I found it inspiring to have met such great people. 

Joutsa itself is a small town surrounded by forest. The hiking, late-night fires, weekends away. (and roadtrip to Lapland!) provides the ideal space for someone that wants to take a step back from the world and put all their energy and focus into a month or more doing what they enjoy. I especially enjoyed "forgetting" about my own work or art-bubble for a week and doing a collaborative piece at the residency. It was one of the best unwinding art-moments I have had all year. 

5. Best things about residencies

Residencies provide an international collaborative working space for people working in so many different media. It also allows artists to both travel and create - which sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Residencies provide a rich cultural and practical learning experience. If you are able to travel, I don´t see why anyone wouldn´t.

6. Plans after Haihatus

I´m thinking of event-planning from a curational approach in the future. I would like to provide a platform for artists that meets their needs. Think of art as a social space instead of an opprtunity to make profit. My immediate plans, however, is to do my MFA and other post-grad in curational studies.

7. How does haihatus meet your expectations

As I mentioned before, Haihatus met more than my expectations. I was provided with a well-equipped studio, indoor and outdoor exhibiting space, a lot of nature and air, a spacious room and frindly, helpful people. I would even go so far as to call it a home for the time I was there. Even if you are more on the introverted side, you cannot help but make great frineds. I loved my time here and I would recommend it for anyone with a need for adventure!

 

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SARA-JEANNE BOURGEAT

Thursday 9/29/16 time 2:24 PM

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Background as an artist

I have recently obtained my bachelor degree at Concordia University in Fine arts. It’s onlytowards the end of my studies that I found a direction to my art, thanks to one of my drawing teacher. I have a studio in Montreal where I work and socialize with friends but the real work mostly happened outside, when nature has the kindness of having me. I am still developing ideas, thinking about my process and understanding creative patterns I have. I am taking things steps by steps, applying to projects, residencies and exhibition, maybe considering a master degree.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

First of all, I make a lot of fires - I got very interested in the making of charcoal, which led me to use my production of charcoal as part of my artistic process. It is important for me to be fully aware of the medium I use. Also, I don’t think I am hurting the environment too much with my burnt branches!

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

Best sides: Banality is rare. Community is the key. Solving technical problems is awesome.

Worst side: Having a regular job on the side

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

It’s my first time in Finland. I can’t recall if I had any expectations but I am more than satisfied about what the Finnish nature has offered me.  Joutsa is a tiny town but it is so nice to get to experience life outside of big cities. It is harder to blend in with the people living (especially because of the language) but people are always kind and helpful. Also, I didn’t expect to see all those reindeers on the road up north, so many of them!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

Getting out of the daily routine is what’s most important. An art residency offers you time and space to create and meet fellow artists with whom you can elaborate projects and converse about ideas. Travelling is also the best way to get you out of old habbits and it puts you in a situation where everything is new. In my case, it refreshes my ways of thinking, makes me hungry for newness; all opportunities for experiences, social connections, sharing moments become extremely relevant. The introspection part of it is important as well. You come alone in a world of unknown and it is the best time to get to know yourself a little better.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Well, to be honest I will have to find a job. But as soon as I can, I will apply to an art residency again. I am also planning on applying to projects that suits me in order to exhibit my work. My studio is waiting for me, I have plans to embellish it and make it more appropriate for my desire of making very large drawings.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus was wonderful, peaceful, inspiring and filled up with all resources any artists would need. The people who run it are so kind and caring, it does feel like home as soon as you step in. It was such a needed break from urban life, having nature right at the doorstep. I am sad to leave but will surely bring with me amazing memories and a couple new good friends!

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MARIE JOSEE LAVIOLETTE "MOJO"

Tuesday 9/27/16 time 1:32 PM - MojoHHphoto600.jpg

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Background as an artist

I am a self-taught musician.
A performer, emerging producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter/arranger.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I chose music because is it food to my soul!

I’ve been a performer and a singer-songwriter since 2009. I have performed with various ensembles, from folk, pop-folk, blues, swing jazz and jug band music ensembles. I have been a member of the Muddy Basin Ramblers for 3 years now. I am one of the vocalist, the clarinetist and the bass clarinetist.

This coming year, I am taking part in the recording of my 3rd album with the Ramblers. Working with the jug band is a sacred soul-filling thing! We sell medicine at our shows to cure all ailments. It’s called Music! Music is medicine for the soul!

I chose to shift from acoustic singer-songwriting to electronic music production because I like the versatility of the medium. I became more interested in music production after attending music festivals, and meeting inspiring producers. I love to feel the power of music and to dance, sway, move to the vibrations.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side of being an artist is having the freedom of expression. I enjoy being independent in my work. I learn what I need to learn when I want. Another great side of being an artist is the traveling and meeting interesting people. Collaborations can also be lots of fun.

One downside of being an artist is the infamous doubt. I can speak for many: I walk a less beaten path and it can be difficult sometimes. I stumble, I fall, I lose faith. I start to wonder whether I still have the energy and the love to push my vision. I also fall into the mindset of ‘seeing results’, especially ‘seeing satisfying results’ that are worthy to my peers.

But… Downsides are also part of it all. I keep learning more about living happily with the unknown.

The worst moments are thankfully only written in the fine print. I create music and art because I enjoy the process. I learn a lot about myself, learn a lot from others, and from the world around me.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, it is my first time in Finland. I came here fully open to what the adventure would bring and I am delighted with what has taken place. Haihatus has fulfilled my needs!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The best sides of being at an art residency are meeting fun and interesting people, working with others on projects, and focusing on my art. A residency also allows me time for perspective… on my music, on myself, and on the human condition.

Lastly, another great side of doing an art residency is to travel and discover a new culture and new environments.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus, I want to continue honing my skills. I also want to keep creating and following my vision. I’d like to continue receiving feedback that can help me improve.

Once I am back in Asia, I will also continue performing with the Ramblers and other fellow musicians on the beautiful island of Formosa.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus has met my expectations by being in the countryside and close to nature. Haihatus has allowed me to meet and connect with awesome people, and has allowed me the space (a cozy bedroom, a big kitchen and common space, a sauna, a work-inducing studio, galleries and art to see, a lovely locality called Joutsa,…!) to live comfortably and to be inspired.

Haihatus is also managed by wonderfully generous, helpful and friendly people. I am grateful, Haihatus, for your welcome and love. Thank you!

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MIGUEL SOPENA

Friday 9/23/16 time 12:37 PM

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Background as an artist

I have always liked art very much but I didn't start making art myself until recently (about five years ago). It was one of those things I always wanted to do but I think I was too scared or I thought it was too difficult or that I wasn't talented enough. It started like a hobby, by teaching myself photography and taking short and evening courses (mostly on drawing) while I was at university studying a completely unrelated subject. I soon realised I wanted more and I ended up doing what in the UK is known as a Foundation course, which is an introductory course young people take before studying art at university (I did the version for grown-ups). I then decided I needed more training but I didn't want to put myself through another degree so I did a 2-year painting diploma instead in a small London school. I finished in 2015 and I've been practising and trying to establish myself ever since.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

Painting was not (and is not) the only media I'm attracted to but I've always loved looking at paintings and when I decided to train I realised I had to specialise and focus on one technique. Painting is slightly scary in that it is a very flexible media, in the hands of a good artist it can be beautiful but it can also be very mediocre and, personally speaking, I know that I am capable of producing very bad paintings (as well as good ones sometimes).

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is being successful with your creativity, when you achieve positive results at the end of the creative process and your confidence gets a boost. The worst side is the uncertainty I think, both in terms of how difficult the creative process can be and also the uncertainty in the real world as it's so difficult to promote one's work let alone make an income from art.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes it is my first time in Finland. I was attracted by the landscape around Joutsa, the forest and the lakes, which looked like they would be beautiful (and they are!). I was also attracted to the idea of focusing on my work for a whole month leaving all the other distractions behind. Because of the surroundings I decided to focus on landscape painting for the duration of the residency which I had never tried before (I usually work on the human figure).

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

It is great to be able to focus on work without distractions and it is really stimulating to be in new surroundings, especially in a beautiful location like Joutsa. It really helps you look at your work (and lots of other things) with fresh eyes.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

To continue painting using the lessons learnt this month. I'm sure I will apply to other residencies in the future (or to come back to Haihatus!) as the experience has been really positive.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

The experience of coming to Haihatus has been incredibly positive. I love nature and the outdoors and the change from London to Joutsa has been amazing. I think I'm gonna have a hard time adjusting when I get back home. I will really miss the forest! From the point of view of painting the experience has been really positive as well, my studio was great and I found myself thinking about my work in a different way. I only wish I had more time as a month looks like a long time but it goes by really quickly. I think the residency provides everything that people need and everyone has been really welcoming. A big thanks to everyone at Haihatus.

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NICOLAS PIRATA

Tuesday 8/9/16 time 8:42 AM

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Background as an artist

I'm a Brazilian photographer and video maker. I hold a BFA in Social Communication from UNIMEP, Brazil. In the past I've worked producing feature films and documentaries in Brazil, along with the Núcleo de Cinema de Paulínia. I also co-founded Mariachis Audiovisual, a small production company, and I worked as the production manager and cinematographer for short documentaries and other video works. In 2011 I moved to New York City, and then I begun developing my vision as a photographer. Lately I’ve been creating my portfolio, and working as a freelance photographer.

 

How did you end up choosing your media? 

In school I was immediately drawn to film, particularly cinematography. I began working in small productions, short films, and then feature films as well. But I realized that I needed a better understanding of photography in order to improve as a filmmaker. And then I began shifting to photography. I fist focused on dance photography, and street/documentary. And later on, by finding artists that I admired, I begun creating long exposure photos, and focusing on landscape. This whole process was mostly self-taught, and it happened through research and practice.

 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

For me the best part of being an artist is the chance to express myself and to explore how I can see the word trough a different perspective. I love photography and film, and this admiration made me pursue this life path. But the worst part is understanding the value of my own work. If I value what I do, am I being a narcissist? But what if I don’t? I struggle to find the balance to appreciate my own work while still challenging myself everyday, and accepting failure as a necessary part of the artistic process. 

 

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This is my second time in Finland! The first time that I visited Finland was back in 2013 when I attended Loikka dance film festival in Helsinki to show “Last Stop”, a dance film that I co-directed and created with my partner (and wife) Carol Mendes. As for my expectations, I came here in search for nature and peace, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Joutsa is a lovely place, very quiet and surrounded by beautiful lakes and woods. I’ve been wishing to come back to Finland since my first time here, and I’m a huge enthusiastic of this amazing country, with such educated, kind and welcoming people!  

 

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

The best thing for me is the chance to focus 100% on my work as a photographer and video maker without the interference of problems of the regular day life… like surviving! My last 5 years living in NYC were an exciting and creative time, but there was a lot of pressure to produce work and to have immediate results. This scenario is really overwhelming. I was at a point professionally that I didn’t know for who and why I was creating new work. During my residency here in Haihatus I was able to spend time structuring my work, organizing my material and just reopening my creative mind. 

 

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus I’m spending sometime in Lisbon, and I plan to stay here in Europe to grow as an artist and challenge myself as a photographer. I’m currently in touch with some school programs that I’m interested in. I’m working hard to find solutions to live a more international life. It’s a lot of work and research regarding visas, and country mobility. I’m also applying to artistic residencies in different countries, and I’m waiting to see which path will open up ahead of me. 

 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Everything that I was looking for I’ve founded here. It’s really inspiring to live for a period of time in a shared artistic house among very creative people from different countries, cultures, and fields of art. I’m really happy to meet and become friends with other artists in different points of their career. This experience has blown my mind and it opened my eyes to new horizons. There are so many enriching art experiences happening in so many diverse parts of the world, and it’s amazing to see them come together in small town rural Finland. 

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