Drawing, woodwork and bronze are my main techniques. I do mostly figurative sculpting.
In addition to bronze and wood, I have used ceramics, rock, polyesterharz, fiberglass, glass, sheet metal, and other materials for my sculptures.
The physical size of a sculpture is essential in sculpting and that is why the scale of the work is closely connected to the chosen material. Similarly when it comes to the message of the work the choice of the material is important. The surface structure, used colors, welding seam… or any other aspect which seems to be only technical, can also be connected to the message of the work. The name of the piece is naturally the clearest link to its message. Everything has an effect on everything and what makes working with different materials interesting is when one tries to attain co-operation between the message and the technique.
In each of my private exhibitions I have tried to concentrate on one theme that puts together several topics. My exhibitions have been under this theme already in the sketching phase of the project. I have worked with some themes for four to five years and that has resulted in several exhibitions, not just one.
Limiting the theme has liberated my work as a concentrated thought has resulted in new, more precise viewpoints. Sometimes plans change and the end result is something completely different from the original plan, but I nevertheless always have a plan. There is a plan for larger entities as well as for a particular piece of work. The plan may be a light sketch, detailed drawings from different angles of view or a scale model, etc.
One reason for making a sketch can be the material of the finalized piece of work. The material may be really expensive. A good sketch or scale model is an aiding medium if working with the material of the final piece is slow or it is very large or if there is no time for many experimental sculpting rounds.
Despite the sketches and scale models I find my work interesting and explorative. The sketch is only an intermediate stage. There are always surprises and changes as the work goes on. The conversation starts for real only after there is something concrete to be seen.
I chose sculpting for the physical work it offers. Wood has been a given material for me ever since I got interested in sculpting. My training as a carpenter has had an effect on that as well as the plain joy of struggling with the materials to some extent.
I use mostly leaf trees for carving. Alder and common alder are my favorites. I also like elm, poplar, aspen, white willow, pine, spruce… every kind of wood has its own personal features that determine the characteristics of the piece. Wood and bronze make a good pair by their opposite characteristics. Where bronze enables thin, flexible, detailed, heavy forms and messages, wood responds almost always very well by the opposites of these.
When brain-storming for the characteristics of a piece the technique to be used often already becomes clear. The size of the pieces also has an effect on the material to be used. Alternatively, the message of the material may affect the fact that it is chosen for the piece of work. This happens particularly if a traditional carving material is not used.
Using bronze is not very ecological, but bronze has magic. The entire preparation process culminates in the casting. When pouring molten metal into the mold you feel humble, but at the same time a bit bigger than you really are. When I made a bronze mold for the first time, I was shocked by the fact that molding, burning, casting, opening the mold and finalizing one piece took two weeks. And before this I had obviously modeled the piece. It was only a miniature sculpture, about 30 cm tall.
Several bronze molds later the various phases of the work started to feel natural and after I began to understand the importance of each phase for the final result, the entire process started to fascinate me more and more. I’ve always casted all my works myself; as I’ve always done all the phases of the work myself: from sketching to patinating, all except burning the molds. What I do, thus includes a lot of “journeyman’s” work. If I concentrated only on molding and someone else did the molds for me, the number of my works would probably be ten fold.
I like being part of every phase of the project. I stay on top of things from beginning to end and this way the piece of work feels like it’s really my own.
Drawing is light. Drawing is the beginning and counter balance for all the physical effort. However, after drawing for days you can feel that in your shoulders too. As compared to the other work I do, drawing has a calming effect due to the silence it offers. The speed in which ideas can be expressed by drawing is spectacular. Everything people make has been drawn before its realization: clothes, houses, machines, roads…. In the midst of all the technology and computers drawing is still an unbeatable way of making things concrete with just a few lines.
Drawing can be very fast if needed, or mercilessly slow. It is simultaneously modest and rich. If you think of the ecological aspect or work, drawing on unbleached, hand-made paper with coal, is being ecological at its best. Bronze has been casted for about 6000 years. Rock and wood have been carved much longer than that. And certainly, people have been drawing even before that.