Artist Spotlight: Anna Emilia LaitinenFebruary 24, 2015
With the brand new designs by Blanca Gómez, Anna Emilia Laitinen, and Lizzy Stewart, we thought we would do a few more Artist Spotlight posts to introduce you to the artists behind the beautiful designs.
First up: Finnish illustrator of the whimsical and wonderful, Anna Emilia Laitinen. We mentioned her a while back in Part 1 of our Scandinavian Dreams post. She spends her time creating fantastical watercolor worlds and we are proud to have her as part of the Red Cap family! See below:
You live in Finland–have you always lived there? Where else have your travels taken you?
In Iceland I have been living many times since 2003. I was working there with children and older people and when I started to study graphic design, I also did exchange studies in the Art University of Iceland. Now I have been living back in Finland many years, but still my dreams are to live in Iceland or another Northern island one day soon again. Lately I have been traveling in the continental Europe: Portugal, The Netherlands, Scotland, Bulgaria, Estonia and also Scandinavia. I also have been travelling a little bit in Russia. Another place that I dream to go back to is Svalbard, where I visited two years ago. It was so beautiful with glaciers, motor boat trips on the Arctic Ocean and walking in the mountains. And a little bit scary too with the 3000 polar bears.
What inspires you most?
Nature and people. We as human beings are very small next to the powerful nature. That is what I think most of the times when I paint. Even though we are very clever and all the time learning and discovering new things, we will never be as powerful as the nature is. The beauty of the nature is also how everything there interacts somehow together.
Did you always want to be an illustrator when you were growing up?
Maybe I was thinking of some more traditional occupation when I was small. I used to be a teacher many times when playing on my own, my favourite part was to teach my (imagination) pupils things in the nature. But all my childhood was about making things by hands: drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, baking. When my teacher told me to apply to study graphic design, I was not sure what it meant, but I think it was a good choice, as you cannot really study only illustrating in Finland. Only after studying some time I understood that I could illustrate.
What other dream jobs would you love to pursue?
Still I think that teaching might be fun. Also working in the nature or baking.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
At the moment I am working with a Japanese tableware company and the first cups, plates, glasses and bowls will be released soon. I wish to have more time this year also for a few own projects. One lovely secret I have, but I am not able to tell about it before the end of April!
Your work is very tied to nature–do you feel a kinship with the environment in Finland?
Yes, very much. I think we always carry our surroundings with us, at least the ones from our childhood. I believe also to carry the landscapes of Iceland in me as I think so much about them. It is such a huge difference in a way: East of Finland where I grew up is filled with thick forests of fir trees and birches. In Iceland there are not that many trees, you can see so far that you don’t reach it in one day. The glaciers and volcanoes are so beautiful with the North Atlantic framing them. It is very interesting to think of the contrasts, though as people I think Finnish and Icelandic are pretty the same.
What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
During winter I like to go cross-country skiing and skating. I walk a lot, and run too. I also started to do some simple yoga. During summers I like to bicycle. It is good to be outside in the nature as much as possible. With friends and my god-son we are searching new things in the city. I also sing in a choir, we sing mostly traditional Finnish songs with some jazz and more entertaining ones. Whenever it is possible, I travel abroad or inside Finland. When I am painting, I cook and bake quite a lot too, it is good change to working and silent but practical time to think about the next ideas. During evenings I read a lot.
Any artists or designers that you look up to and why?
Mostly I am following musicians, I enjoy to go to concerts a lot. Last time I saw an Icelandic singer-songwriter, Ólöf Arnalds, and before that a Finnish jazz musician Verneri Pohjola. One artist that I really enjoy is Andy Goldsworthy, he works with nature in such a special and respectful way. What I love to do on my travels, is to go to see lighthouses: they tell so much about the history and how life has been. The architects that designed the lighthouses, the people who built them and the lighthouse keepers who worked in them in harsh conditions are huge heroes!
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I love Finland, but partly I could live in Iceland, Faroe Islands or Svalbard. Anywhere by the sea would be perfect. Every place can surely become a home.
What is your favorite medium to work in?
Most of my works are done by watercolours. I enjoy them the most, though I also draw a little with ink and do collages.
To view our card designs by Anna Emilia, click here.
Images courtesy Anna Emilia Laitinen