EK Interview: Jaakko Mattila

Jaakko Mattila‘s trippy awesome work made their way onto EK in 2010. Now his words are on our site. Read on read on to see his thoughts:

How did you first get into art?
The first mindblowing experience for me was an exhibition by Dennis Oppenheim in Oulu Art Museum when I was 16. I ended up studying Fine Art in the UK because I tried to get to study graphic design. I couldn’t get into any school but was suggested to take a one year foundation course in art & design. I fell in love with visual arts in London where ther was many great shows etc. and ended up in a course in Fine Art because that seemed the most challenging and I really didn’t know anything about it.
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

What made you decide you wanted to be an artist?
I dont think I never wanted to ‘be an artist’. I really like painting and making things and wanted to be better at it. When I finished university I fel that my work was still really bad and I knew I could improve it, like I was just beginning. I ended up living in squats alll over london to be able to continue my process. Eventually I moved to Finland so I could better concentrate on my work.

What attracted you to abstract pieces?
I guess it must be the fact that they are from ‘another world’ somehow. Making something invisible visible. I also do still life drawing as a hobby but Ive never exhibited them.
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

Have you used other media?
Yes. I have painted anything from furniture, made sculptures from steel, done printmaking….everything realy. Im forever curious on new processes and their unique qualities.

What’s the largest piece you’ve ever finished?
Largest painting must be a mural that is about 4 meters high and 14 meters wide. It is in a nightclub in Oulu. I have also done a sclupture that is 16 meter high and 20 meters wide (4 pylons with colourful round dots on them)

Tell us about what you’re working on currently.
I am preparing for my largest show to date that will be at James Hockey Gallery in Farnham UK from october to december this year. At this very moment I am in New York having some meetings and restretcing some big canvasses.
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

How would you describe your art?
It i so difficult to put it in words. I barely can do it in pictures…. colourful with attention to the physical qualities on the materials used with room for errors. ‘Mistakes’ are beautiful in them.

Tell us about your process.
I paint every day in my head and from those pictures the ones that I think of most and that are possible to make end up as real things. I don’t sketch on paper.

What is the first thing that you do?
When I start working on somthing new I usually tidy up my studio, then I prepapre the colours. this can take several days in some cases. Especially with watercolours because I try to mix the tones so that they would counterbalance each other. There are usually 3, 6 or more layers on them.
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

How do you know when a piece is finished?
When it is close enough to the idea I had in the first place. It will never look the same though and there are exceptions. I will for example continue a piece soon that I started in 2005…

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Visually perhaps things in nature. Colours are everywhere and I believe that where ever you look you will see them all there. From other art I get inspired on peoples processes and productivity so it makes me want to work harder…

Tell us about some artists/blogs that you are interested in/follow.
I like olafur eliasson‘s work a lot. He’s got amazing projects going on at the moment. My recent great art experiences were James Turrells installations that I saw In Naoshima island in Japan. I like Information is beautiful, Today and Tomorrow, Synaptic Stimuli and I follow a lot of food blogs. I like to cook.
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

Where do you see your field moving in the next few years?
I think ther will be interesting guerrilla art things that seems to be the big thing at the moment. Berlin is the center for arts because it is the cheapest big city to live in. I mean everyone is an artist there.

How do you anticipate your own work changing in the future?
It should be better made and there will be more 3d works. Also I will try to push things more into site-specific projects. It will be a lot more interesting.

What’s the best joke you’ve heard this month?
this one:

How are you challenging yourself as an artist, in what ways are you trying to develop your art/push the envelope?
I like to try new materials constantly. Always up for new type of interesting collaborations. I am also never happy with my results. I think that is the key thing that makes me want to work all the time. Like this feeling of not succeeding…
art blog - Jaakko Mattila - Empty Kingdom

What is your favorite color?
It has not got name. At the moment it consists of 5 overlapping colours done with printmaking technique aquatint.

How has going to school helped you develop as an artist?
Most definitely. It was the first place where I had my own working space and all the time to do experiments. The amosphere was great and it was totally acceptable to fail. failing is really important in life.