Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exclusive interview to Finnish artist - Terhi Ekebom

I've decided to make more interviews/coffee talks (as I'm naming them) to comic book artists that marked my life as a simple teenager like Finnish artist Terhi Ekebom, who's always an excellent artist to chat with.
Here's the interview below, hoping that readers like it.
Many thanks Terhi

Terhi Ekebom

1) You're a Finnish artist.
  How do you "see" yourself as an artist that was born in a country as beautiful as Finland full with Nature? 
Do you think that Nature influences the work and how Scandinavian artists "see" the world?  

Finland Landscape

Nature has influenced me a lot. 
My childhood home was surrounded by forests, small sand roads and fields. 
There was also a lovely river close to that place. 
I spent lots of time outside playing with other children or exploring nature by myself. 
Even the darkest forests were a place to play. 
The cycle of year affected what kind of things you were able to do. 
This has formed my feelings towards nature, seeing myself as a part of it.
Nature is never a passive thing in my works, I think you could very well say that Scandinavian artists have a natural and relaxed attitude towards nature, since it is accessible for us.

2) You've a master of arts, I remember seeing and reading some of your works in Portugal that were randomly distributed here by Napa Books and I just loved "A cow's dream" in 2002 and you were one of the best artists that I've seen being published by Napa.
 Were you pleased with Napa Books as a publisher? 

 "A cow's dream"

 Napa books

Thank you. Napa has been very innovative and an artistic publisher with good distribution around the world. 
Yes, I have been very happy with them all the time that I have been on board with them.

3) Your work was also published in Italy, Portugal, France, Brazil and Holland.
How do you "see" your inner world transformed into work being spread in several countries? 

The hardest line to cross is within yourself when you are telling very intimate stories, but it´s all worth it.
 It is wonderful that the stories can continue their existence around the world. 
That´s the way I hope this will continue

4) Your graphic design and storytelling is excellent and it does releases in the reader sensitive emotions and delicate feelings.
Can you tell us a bit of your creative process as an artist? 

In my stories I explore feelings and settings that I find touching.
I have multiple starting points and from there I let the story grow to all necessary directions. 
I need to do some gardening in the process, trimming and axing it on the way.
I can get lost, but I try to be honest and strong.
It is a real difficult work and very hard, but in the end of it all I love it.

5) I remember reading and seeing some of your work in Portuguese Quadrado magazine and I've got a feeling of visual poetry.
 Are words important in your work? 

I want to tell my stories with poetic logic. 
I enjoy and respect creative language. 
Since last spring I have been listening to Proust's audio book "In Search Of Lost Time" every night. 
If I could live several lives I would dedicate some of them to writing. 
Storytelling is different with or without words, with or without pictures. 

Proust's audio book In Search Of Lost Time

6) You create several artworks such as illustration, book covers, graphic design, fine arts and you even do live paintings in public places.

Terhi Ekebom - working at public places
 Illustration 1

Illustration 2
Fine arts with Finnish artist Jenni Rope
Book cover

T-shirt with graphic design by the artist

Free expression is my favorite way in all of them, but it happens so seldom that you might forget how it´s done if there has been lots of commissioned works. 
Commissioned works often offer interesting challenges and really give exercise to your creativity by giving borders and limitations within you must execute the artwork. 
Some projects are much shorter than others, some take years. 
Combining them helps you both remember how to concentrate and go deeper and also gives you the feeling of getting things done and letting them go faster.

7) Can you tell us who your favorite artists are in arts and your influences in it? 

Tove Jansson, Helene Schjerfbeck, David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Edward Munch, Käthe Kollwitch,Odilon Redon, Mattotti, Dominique Goblet

Helene Schjerfbeck

David Hockney

Louise Bourgeois

Edward Munch
Käthe Kollwitch

Odilon Redon


Dominique Goblet

Drawing by Dominique Goblet

These are the ones who I remember instantly. 
At different ages different artists have been important to me.
When I was younger I thought I was going to be a painter, but storytelling led me to another direction.

8) Do you like creating narratives for books or comic books? 
How do you see them after they're published?

I have stories in my head that can never find their way out, since my drawing technique is so slow. 
I also want to proceed slowly. 
I think that life changes so fast and randomly that it´s wonderful to have something developing at a peaceful pace. 
Making stories is also a way to explain life to myself. 
I would also like to write stories but life seems to be too short for mastering everything.
The published books make me happy, but I don´t remember them so well anymore. I am living in the world of my upcoming story already. 
Maybe the stories come from the same world, but I´d like to find a new path.

9) I really don't know if you ever visited Portugal, but I remember seeing in Lisbon some exhibitions with works by you, Marko Turunen, Matti Hagelberg among many others and the one that I've loved more was yours.
How do you "see" Portugal as a country? 

Portuguese catalogue with Terhi Ekebom works

I have visited Portugal three times. 
Once for a holiday in Figueira da Foz and twice in Lisbon. 
The other time in Lisbon was just for the exhibition you mentioned, the other we were making a theme number for a small cultural on line magazine Neliö
I can´t find it on line anymore since it was over ten years ago (!). 
I enjoyed the food, bars, azulejos, fado, sea, houses and the spirit of the people. 
I think they were somehow happy and sad at the same time, in a strong and sensitive way.
 I have also illustrated the cover of the cultural travel guide to Portugal (Tuhansien portaiden lumo. Kulttuurikierroksia Portugalissa. Helsinki: Avain, 2007. ISBN 978-952-5524-38-3). (=The Charm oh the Thousands of Stairs?)

cover of the cultural travel guide to Portugal

I know how to say “eu não falo português”, but I adore the country.

10) Can you tell us a bit of your current and upcoming books or artworks that you recently created or that you are planning to create? 

I am just within months getting my next comic novel ready to be printed. It's going to be a `sister book` to my latest work "The Ghost Child". 
The scenery of the book is once again forest, but there´s more to it than just the trees and the landscape. 
There´s human tragedy combined with a mystery in nature. 
I am also preparing an exhibition of my serigraph works. 
The opening is in few weeks, so it´s a bit busy just now.

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