Joot is a multidisciplinary artist from southern Finland. Wolf fell in love with Joot's passion, her talent, and her love of nature. Her latest project, Kaiku, is an illustrated book that explores the passing seasons in the Nordic region. Today, Joot sits down with Wolf to talk about her life and her art.
Where did you grow up? Do you think your childhood influenced your interest in the arts?
I was brought up on an island in southern Finland. The island was not very big, but there were quite a few artistic activities available. There was a great music academy that I enrolled in from the age of seven. I also often took the bus to the mainland and went to see plays and concerts with my mother. I was introduced to a lot of different of art forms at an early age, and I was curious about all of them.
When were you introduction to art practice?
I grew up with artists in my family; I guess they would have been the earliest examples of working artists for me. I don’t remember being influenced by a particular artist or teacher; creating was just something that came quite naturally for me. I think what I liked about it was that there weren’t any rules and anything was possible.
You are a multidisciplinary artist, is that right? What art forms do you practice? Do you have a preferred medium?
I work with image, words, music, moving image, and performance. I find this way I stay interested and challenged. I think drawing and painting is a comfort zone for me, but I wouldn’t say I prefer them to the others – it’s just that sometimes I’m a hermit at heart.
Are you professionally trained in any of these mediums?
I am trained in classical flute and music theory. I have also studied music theatre and various dance techniques and I have a BA in Illustration from the Arts University of Bournemouth.
Your artwork is strongly inspired by nature and the human relationship to the environment. Can you explain a little about your own relationship to nature?
Growing up on an island, it was just an everyday thing to be surrounded by nature. I have always felt very much a part of it. We used to take boat trips to a smaller islands nearby and the minute we anchored to the shore my sister and I were let loose to explore as we pleased. Those were great adventures. There was always a great respect within my family towards the Archipelago.
"It would be a nice thought if I could make someone interacting with my art laugh. There is never enough laughter."
How would you describe your own style, your own aesthetic?
It is quite difficult to analyse yourself from the outside, but I would like to think of myself as a storyteller. Everything I do starts by me telling myself a story. I would also say that I am quite a fan of minimalism. I like to leave big gaps in my work so that people can fill them in and figure it out for themselves. I don’t like to explain everything.
In a way, what I want to do is explore things that puzzle and interest me and I hope they will interest others too. This way I can reach out to others and connect. If there is a message it would be my wish to connect with others through my work. It would be a nice thought if I could make someone interacting with my art laugh. There is never enough laughter.
Do you think the art and design history of the Nordic region has influenced your style?
Yes I do. We have a great tradition of storytelling in Finland and I think this has had a great influence on me. I think a close connection to nature is something common in Finnish art, and in our everyday lives.
What was the inspiration for your latest project, Kaiku?
My first goal was to write. I wanted to see if I could write something I was happy with; if I could actually finish something like that. The inspiration for the story came from the seasons of the natural world. I wanted to explore all that the Nordic year had to offer.
The best part of the Kaiku project, which I am currently finishing, is an illustrated book. The book is set on an island up north and is divided into four chapters: winter, spring, summer, and fall. After the book, the Kaiku project will take many forms. Since this is still a work in progress, I can’t talk too much about it, but I can say that it will be a multidisciplinary project.
What does the future hold for you? Any exciting projects on the horizon?
The Kaiku project is just starting and I will be working on it for quite some time, so I haven’t really thought much about what comes next. I hope I can keep on learning new skills. I would like to do a documentary film and write some more. I am also planning to get more involved with nature organisations and hope to collaborate with conservation groups.
I can’t live without… nature.
If I was an animal I would be… an otter.
I’m terrified of… earwigs. They seem to follow me to my bed at night. It all gets a bit too close for comfort.
My favourite guilty pleasure is… decluttering.
For more of Joot's work, visit: www.jootdraws.com
Words: Annie Ferguson