"When people find that element they love or dislike in my work, it’s always a small emotional rush as they get that personal connection. When the artist-viewer relationship is close, it is amazing to witness this moment as the artist."
Marianna Raikkala is a Finnish contemporary artist who grew up expressing herself through painting and drawing. Since childhood, art and creativity have been a huge part of Marianna’s life as she was always surrounded by art. Eventually, Marianna devoted herself to being a self-taught abstract artist who creates stylistic pieces that are open for interpretation.
Marianna’s work often explores the contrast between light and dark while drawing inspiration from nature, varying textures and materials. For Marianna, the most important part of her work is to allow viewers to have their own interpretations and opinions. She believes that everyone has unique experiences that guide their personal understanding of an abstract piece.
Q. You mentioned that your interest in art started at a very young age. Could you briefly describe how you started your artistic journey?
Painting and drawing have always been natural ways for me to express my feelings. I’ve always felt like words are a lot harder to understand than images. My family has also always been interested in arts, and visiting galleries and exhibitions was a usual thing when I was little. I grew up surrounded by art and I believe this is how the artistic spark was ignited in me. As for my own art career, the turning point happened between 2015 to 2016 when I painted my first abstract piece. After that, I haven’t stopped painting.
Q. Were you formally trained in the art? Do you think this has influenced your artistic approach?
I’m a self-taught artist and yes, I believe this is both a blessing and a curse in this field. I’d love to study fine arts in the future, even though my background now is in media. On the one hand, being a self-taught artist makes me feel that I have certain purity and freedom in my creative process and can feed my curiosity by experimenting on the canvas. On the other hand, I’d love to know more about the history of fine arts.
Q. What is your take on abstract art? What’s the thing about it that attracts you?
For me, beauty is in the unknown. I usually get bored very easily, but art and especially abstract art is the one thing that never seems to bore me. There is just so much to work with. I usually work with many constantly-changing elements during and even after the piece is finished. Who’s to say what is right? We all have our own interpretations of abstract and each viewer has their own personal experiences guiding their thoughts.
Q. You also said that you want your viewers to interpret your art for themselves. Why do you think this is important?
I feel that the essence of art is to find something you like or dislike. I love to connect with people through art and have heard the phrase “I don’t know anything about art” countless times. I always reply with “It’s okay, trust your emotions”. When people find that element they love or dislike in my work, it’s always a small emotional rush as they get that personal connection with the piece. When the artist-viewer relationship is close enough, it’s an amazing process to witness this moment as the artist.
Q. Could you share with us your process of creating each artwork?
All in all, my process is very intuitive. Usually, I start with choosing my mediums and defining if I want the piece to have a lot of texture or not. If yes, I start with layering the textures and let it dry for a few days. After a few days, I usually have a clearer picture and feeling of what colors I want to use. I then start to paint and let the materials do the rest.
The most-asked question I receive through my social media is if I could do tutorials on my creative process. I love to share bits and pieces of my painting process on my social media channels, but I don’t think I could put it into understandable words.
Q. How do you think each piece of your artwork differs from one another?
My pieces may look similar and I definitely love to highlight my style more these days, but to me, my works are all very different. This might be because I approach each blank canvas with an open mind but also love to explore my favourite elements of contrast, drama, transparency & textures in my works. Believe it or not, I didn’t feel like my works were similar at all for the longest time. It was only through others pointing this out to me that I started to look at it closer.
Q. Do you have the proudest piece of artwork to share?
This is a hard question since I’m proud of my work in general, but a great example of a truly special piece for me is ‘Voyage’. It’s actually one of the most recent works I’ve signed and the process of finishing this piece took me years.
“Voyage: A long journey involving travel by sea or in space.” ‘Voyage’ was a voyage for me. I began working on this piece back in 2017 while I was still working in my own living room and could only dream of my very own studio space. I didn’t succeed in the layers I painted back then and out of frustration, I put the canvas aside. For five years, I took her out of the ‘in progress’ pile every now and then and painted a few more layers. In those five years, I even moved her from my home studio to the new studio space I finally got to have. Eventually, in 2022 summer, I took her out again and suddenly, even to my surprise, everything suddenly clicked.
‘Voyage’ is a piece that not only represents the details I love the most (texture, roughness, contrast, drama) but also tells the story of those five years and my journey as an artist.
Q. Are you inspired by any other form of artistic or creative discipline/s?
My main inspiration draws from nature and different mediums, but I definitely enjoy other forms of arts (music, theatre) as well.
Q. Are you mainly working with acrylic at the moment? Are there any other artistic approaches you would like to try in the future?
Yes, I’m mainly working with acrylics at the moment. I also love oils and pastels and would love to explore them more. But currently, I feel like my chosen mediums work the best for my needs.
Q. Could you describe your work in 3 words?
Powerful, dramatic and yet calm.