28 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I love my new Strawberry Cannibalism painting. Strawberry is one of the most polar ice cream tastes. Cannibalism is less popular but it is used sometimes in advertisements of different alimentary products: a pig eats ham and a figure with a tomato head bakes pizza. Culturally, cannibalism is a taboo but commercially humanoid (the pig wears jeans and has a kitchen) cannibalism is cute.
According to a decree by Queen Isabella of Castile and also later under British colonial rule, slavery was considered to be illegal unless the people involved were so depraved that their conditions as slaves would be better than as free men. This legal requirement led the conquerors to invent practice of cannibalism as it was considered evidence of such depravity.
24 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
For the inivtation card of my show in Madrid, I made two lists, one of the countries that are in the North from the Finnish point of view and another of those countries in the South. Looking from the ignorant Finland, Spain is in the South. Looking from the pretentious Spain, Madrid is very close to the center of the World.
The problem is, once again, to make people understand that the lists are not mine. I don’t do art about my opinions. I collect, register and process what other people do and say. I mix it up and make it visible. Many people believe - no idea why - that all visual art is autobiographic or testimonial. If in a novel, somebody says Heil Hitler, nobody thinks the writer is a Nazi but if I paint the same line on canvas, some people want to lynch me.
MY LITTLE EMPIRE
21 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Once a week, I go to Talavera de la Reina, the nearest town, to some shops, the post office and the supermarket. It’s a kind of important day, I have to wear decent clothes and wash the car and I feel excited. But then the permanent traffic jam makes me nervous. And I lose my patience looking for a space to park. And I can’t stand standing in a supermarket line. I´m used to spend all my time in my little empire, my house where I live and work. The world outside of my empire is chaotic and scary.
I say that I do art about the real world. I don’t like autobiographical art or art about art. My statement is that I do art about the everyday life, realistic art, but I don’t mean my own small and safe life. The real everyday includes some riots and carbombs, or at least a little bit more noise than the birds singing in my patio. How can I make art about the world if I live in another planet? Maybe I have to move to a big city or begin to do art about the impressive wedges of migrating cranes that are passing our village this weekend.
18 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Yestrerdays' friendly match between my two homelands ended a draw, 0-0. Finland has a solid defense but no ideas how to score. Spain moves the ball with a great virtuosity but nobody assumes the responsibility to finish the play. The result is boring football but it tells maybe something about the two countries if you believe in the cliché that the national football team's style reflects the country's lifestyle, ethics and attitude.
I had planned to watch the game in the Bar Cazadores, buy a round of beer to everybody when Finland goals and after the victory drive around the village honking. But my wife had to work and I tried to watch Eremenko and Cesc playing football while I was playing with my daughter an her dolls. She was angry because she thinks that the TV set serves only for watching Moomin.
BAD BAD PAINTING
17 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Leevi wrote in one catalog text that I continue the tradition of bad painting. I said him that I try to draw and paint as well as I can. I think Kippenberger and other Junge Wilde knew to paint. And Picasso was as good as Leonardo.
I never had any talent. My father is architect, I learned to draw straight lines but not to draw a human body or an apple. In the university, I didn't learn any technic because I had to learn to be an artist, think like an artist and live like an artist. Actually, I didn't remember to do any work but I was considered an outstanding student.
Now the only problem is that I decided to be more or less a traditional painter. And I don't know to do my job though I have a Master of Fine Arts diploma from the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts. I get nervous when I go to the studio to paint. I smoke a pack of cigarettes though I've quit smoking. I just try to remember that the Art is not in the products but in the attitude. And mine is extremely serious.
600KM FOR A CUBA LIBRE
11 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
We came back from the lovely Cuenca. We escaped from the official dinner of the evaluation board and had some croquetas, revuelto de boletus and jamón at La Posada, where we slept in the presidential suite. And after that - this is why I actually joined my wife to Cuenca - we went for a drink to La Jovi. I hadn't been there for many years but almost nothing had changed. Maybe Santiago had more grey in his hair. The bigger novelty was Estrella, a new waitress. I felt somehow uncomfortable because I had never before seen a woman behind La Jovi's bar. I like to drink without sex in the air. I like waiters. Waitresses disturb me. And Estrella is definitely too pretty. Anyways, La Jovi is still my favorite bar in the world and seriously I think it makes sense to drive 600km for two Cuba libres prepared by Santiago.
INDIANA JONES STYLE
10 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
We are going to Cuenca today. Some evaluation board has invited my wife to tell her opinions about the university where she gained her PhD in Fine Arts. I really want to join her because they have reserved a room in our favorite hotel La Posada de San José and we are going to have a drink in the best bar in the world - La Jovi.
My alma mater needs me too, that's what the professor Riikka Stewen wrote me from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. They organize a drawing event in the Kunsthalle Helsinki and she invited me to do a wall drawing there in December. It's fantastic to do something with my university. One day, I wish I could be a professor there. But then I should have the PhD. Once, I applied to their doctorate program but I wasn't accepted. I don't really understand what kind of research they do. I think lot's of writing and references to philosophy. I like Slavoj Žižek but I've never read his books, I don't have enough patience. I can't be that kind of scholar. I'd prefer to do research like Indiana Jones.
08 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Usually I love Mondays. It’s a kind of feeling that everything is possible and that this week I’m going to rule the world. Or at least my life. But this morning I had the worst possible beginning: I was going to take my daughter to the kindergarten and I hit the neighbor’s car. It was almost nothing but she was yelling, shouting and crying.
We spent the weekend in Cuacos de Yuste, Extremadura. The most powerful man of the history Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor retired to the Monastery of Yuste in 1556. The emperor suffered of gout and we got sick too. We were were vomiting all the interesting local foods. The area of La Vera is famous for it’s pimentón, a paprika powder made from dried, smoked, and smoothly ground mature red peppers. It’s delicious but they use it a lot and it’s not the most tender thing for a sick stomach.
Now I should work but how can I paint all that ice cream, breakfast cereals and tacos if just thinking of food makes me throw up.
EVERYTHING IN THE SOUTH IS THIRD WORLD
05 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Where ever you are, there is always the South, imaginary or real. Everything what comes from the South is miserable. I used the title Everything in the South Is Third World first time in a drawing I made for Lisa, who is from New Orleans and lives in Brooklyn. Now it's the title of my show in November in the Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid. The government of Finland is passive in the international politics but we, the Finnish people, have an arrogant, neocolonialist and patronizing attitude towards the otherness.
I made two lists of the countries for the invitation card of the exhibition.
Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium (Flanders and Brussels only), France (Paris only), Italy (Milan only),The United Kingdom, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Sudan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bolivia, Spain, Afganistan, Romania, Brasil, Greece, Ucrania, Nepal, Kosovo, Portugal, East Timor, Palestina, Ghana, Morocco, Peru, Liberia, Laos, Haiti, Cuba, Slovenia, Slovakia, Argentina, Bosnia, Albania, Colombia, Ecuador and all the rest.
MIGRATORY MOVEMENTS - MOVE YOUR ASS
02 October 2007, Cervera de los Montes
It’s October and it’s raining. I have diarrhea. I’m drawing Working Poor Super Mario Ecuadorian Immigrant and running to the bathroom. I’m listening to Manu Chao’s Radiolina. The album’s most beautiful song is Me Llaman Calle (They Call Me Street). It includes a list of prostitutes’ names, like my drawing. Puri, Marga, Carolina, Nereida, Carmen, Marcela, Alondra, Soraya, Bibiana, Magda, Heidi, Tamara, Rudi, María, Arantxa, Alda, Marimar, Daisi, Sandra.
I’m going to interview Erkka, who lives in Hong Kong, for the Finnish art magazine Taide. I’m doing a series of interviews of Finnish emigrant artists. I wanted to investigate the theme to compare my own experiences with others but it has been hard to find the others. Not many of us have left the motherland permanently. Finland is a safe place for an artist, there’s lot of public support for the culture and a great social security system. It’s fantastic but makes the most of the artists lazy, they don’t get their ass up from bed before receiving 10 thousand from the government.