International. Contemporary. Art.
Sanna Maria Paananen (August 1988, Finland), her paintings are modern day allegorical figures, usually dealing with issues like being an artist, self-identity, being female and how to view femininity. Her paintings are done in a bluish-tinted gray-scale and the figures never fully engage the viewer, to represent the painter’s introverted personality. Paananen’s paintings are mainly done in oils, but mixed with other types of paint and collage materials such as newspaper to create material contrasts in an otherwise subdued manner of painting. The end result is a combination of the Finnish and Russian art education the artist has received: something new, something old, creating a very personal style of painting.
This is an interview with Sanna Maria Paananen – exhibitor The Miami Art Expo 2015.
What drives you..?
I am an ambitious person, and have big dreams. Art has had such a big, positive influence on me that I couldn’t imagine a life without creating and experiencing art.
Where do you get your inspiration…?
From all around me – things that people say, things that I see written, things that I have experienced. Most themes I explore in my paintings are things that have made me wonder why something is the way it is. I have never been good with words, so it has become natural for me to express my thoughts in pictures. In my case, of course, working in pictures means also using the words of others to give concrete clues to what I have been wondering about during the painting process.
How do you deal with artist’s block…?
For me, the best method is working in ways that help me avoid the block altogether. It is a challenge, as I am extremely critical of myself, and can easily bully myself into the wrong state of mind. The biggest change and biggest help for me has been simply making a note of every single idea, no matter how nonsensical or impossible they might feel. Even when developing these ideas, I avoid being negative about them, focusing on the ones that appeal to me most. This also helps me remember older, somehow problematic ideas, and often I can later come up with ways to fix the problems I couldn’t solve initially.
Techniques I use to create my artworks are…?
I mostly work in oil paint, using three tubes of color – white for the lights and a mixture of green and red for my darks. In most of my works this cold palette is contrasted with newspaper, which, even when new, has a comparably warmer feel to it. I also use other collage materials such as label tape and other paints like tempera to have more material contrasts.
Can you tell us what you have going on right now…?
My main project right now is working on collaboration paintings with Tero Ulvila for our upcoming exhibition in Tartto, Estonia. We have been working on these joint pieces since early 2014 and it has been a great experience for both of us. We work by taking turns on painting each piece, so it has been an interesting experiment in communicating through paint. I am also preparing works for my next solo exhibition in Helsinki in 2016. The theme for this exhibition is very personal – the sarcastically humorous paintings are about my experiences dealing with two chronic diseases.