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Q & A with Finnish sculptor Kristiina Haataja

10.11.2017



I'm excited to share with you a brief series of questions I asked Kristiina about her creative process and ambitions with her art and sculpture. 
Scroll through to read the entire conversation and view photos of her beautiful creations! You can also purchase her work directly from
her shop and keep up with her on Instagram


Tell us a little bit about your background?

My passion for art has existed for as long as I can remember. Mum has told me that when I was really young and got ahold of crayons, I could sit for ages and create on my own. There has always been a propensity for learning about art so I started my art studies really early on. I was as young as 12 when I attended my first courses in oil painting and pottery.

During upper secondary level schooling I attended evening classes in painting and sculpture led by quite proficient artists in the area. Later on I went for a year all the way to New Zealand where I took exams in Art, a worthwhile experience.

After graduation I did a two year foundation course in Arts and directly after that Masters of Arts at University and credits in Design History and Graphic Design.

All in all, my educational background is pretty diverse in the arts but solid in composing my knowledge today. At a young age I knew that I wanted to share this awareness with others so I earned a teaching certificate and started my career as an Art educator. Ever since I began teaching I've had the urge to create my own brand. The desire to make original designs and art has always been there and I have never stopped doing my own thing. There has been a feeling is escape somehow, a studio to sit in and do what I love the most. Just looking at my CV I realize how many exhibitions and collaborations I have managed during the years, which is pretty amazing!




Where do you live and why?

I live in Nacka, which is a 10-minute drive from the city centre of Stockholm. It is a lovely place to live, the sea and nature is practically around the corner and this feels like the right place for me and my family. I just love to stroll in the woods or go for a quick run by the sea. These surroundings also help me to find new inspiration for my art work.

I moved to Stockholm from the west coast a few years back and the reason was to come closer to vibrant life of art and experiencing design and architecture but also to make a new start in creating my own art scene.




When did you to start sculpting or is this something you've done for a long time?

Alongside painting, which has been my main focus many years with exhibitions since 1992, I have also been into sculpturing objects to go with the themes in my paintings but I have never taken it to the next level. Although, gradually a dream of becoming a sculptor grew in me but I didn't know how this could be possible.

Last year, Annaleena Leino, a talented stylist and designer, and a good friend of mine, asked if I could make a head sculpture for her styling. I thought this was a great idea because that meant I could start sculpturing more as my main focus which I've been longing for. It was an opportunity for me to explore the human body in my own art work.

The head was displayed in different places and Annaleena asked if I could do a few more sculptures and then we started to collaborate, me creating art for her styling projects. This is how it all started and now I have a space in her showroom where I exhibit art pieces and create my sculptures. I decided to open my own web shop and sell them to others. I hope the sculptures will be pieces to go to homes and styling projects where they can be appreciated as genuine and hand made objects as they are.





Tell me a bit about your process and routine, do you make a point to create everyday or is there a more process more organic process to how you work?

I am a thinker. This means that the process of my work starts in my head and often I have this idea of how I want the sculpture to look like beforehand. Sometimes I am too eager to create so I mess everything up and have to start all over again.
I would say that I am an perfectionist when it comes to finishing touches but I use clay with chamotte sand in it in order to create more rough edges and interesting surfaces. I also try to make the shapes and forms more simple and with not so many details. In that way the sculpture becomes more open for personal analysis.

I am always inspired to create art. Often I have so many ideas going on at the same time that I can't find the time to work on all of them. Having many ideas is also my strength in a way so that I always have something going on. It's a never ending machine.

Inspiration and motivation, where does it come from?

My inspiration to the art pieces come from differences of mankind, the shapes and figures of the body or influences from art history, mainly greek sculpture and cubist style. Although, there is another aspect. I try to accomplish art that is not just beautiful for the eye but also express a deeper sense of emotion. I have the sight of an spectator, a dreamer, a longing look of the head...I try to make my work be more alive, as if they have something interesting to say or thoughts to reveal. I hope people can see that, too.




What are some of your future professional goals?

Since I love teaching I am not going to leave that behind anytime soon, instead I have decided to stay where I am and choose to work with people around me. I am too social and restless to stay alone in a studio.

Although, my hope for the future is to broaden my availability to make both worlds meet, my teaching career and my own work with art. I think I am just taking one step at a time now and see what will happen.

I have a dream of working in much larger scale than I do today. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to do that and go really big with my sculptures. It would be great to make interesting projects and exhibitions with these objects.

I enjoy collaborations since I believe art making doesn't always have to be a one man job. It is a way of developing ideas and materials. I also find it fun to work with people who see the quality of hand made pieces but I don't have anyone particular in mind yet, when time is right and that spark of creativity strikes, I will just go for it.



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