Monday 2/13/17 time 10:05 AM


​Background as an artist

Hello all! I am a recent graduate of Alfred University School of Art and Design in Upstate New York, with a degree in Fine arts and a minor in Art History. While my concentration is in Art Photography, I have begun reaching into the world of sculpture and video art pretty enthusiastically!

I have only recently begun my trepidacious journey to become a working artist, and Haihatus was the first of what I hope will be many residency/programs that I will take part in!

How did you end up choosing your media?

It was a weird road, but I began school as a primarily 2-D artist, focusing on drawing, life drawing, and painting. However, I ended up have a weird relationship with oil painting in college, and after a long interest in photography, I took up my first film photography class sophomore year of University. I fell in love with photography, only transitioning to digital photography this past year! My school encouraged multimedia practice as well, so I wound up finding my love also existed in jewelry making, metal and wax casting, and video work too. Which is great, because I personally believe a lot of contemporary artists are finding multimedia to be the best language for their concepts, and it is the most exciting place to be in.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best is easy; it’s being able to find your passion as a never ending, continual process. Being an artist means you are always fighting something one way or another, which is great, because I think I’m pretty angry a lot of the time. I love that I never have to question my calling, art is my one true love. The worst? You can never leave your job, as an artist, you carry the burden of your work around with you constantly, even when you’re out at a park you may find yourself worrying about when to apply for something next, or to email that curator, or to find a solid chunk of time to dedicate to studio practice per week. Unlike a 9-5 job, you can’t just go home and relax. It’s kind of maddening, I know why so many of us go crazy.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Well, I was good friends with a girl from Helsinki a few years ago, and she introduced me to Moomin, but It was my first time in Finland! The expectations I had about Finland were that I thought it would be a country mixed between Iceland and Sweden, but seemed to be more like a mixture of Russia and Norway? If that makes sense? I also thought it might be more queer, just because of how progressive nordic countries are. But, I loved it for what is was. I just wish I had seen the northern lights!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

I feel as though there are many ways to measure opportunity, and at an art residency you have to take into account that most residencies are practically art vacations. You can take a break from your money day job, and just have pure time to dedicate to working in a studio, around other artists, and get inspired and work hard at your art. The opportunity lies in networking, and meeting others as well as developing your body of work richly in a foreign place!

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus, I will be moving with my two friends and peers from University to either NYC or Chicago, where we will continue to live, make work, strive for recognition and success, and apply for more programs and residencies! We simply are going to go, and continue to meet great people and artists, and I’ll be trying my best to keep moving forward at all costs.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus met my expectations and exceeded them. The availability of studio space and the materials that were afforded us around the residency house were amazing. Having my own room and kitchen and yet also having a communal kitchen to cook in as well were all great factors. Having such a large studio space for my photography was excellent, as I need to be able to move quite a bit when doing my photo work.

Meeting Finnish artists, Merja, and the other residents at the house was such a great experience. There was nothing but hospitality, saunas, art making, and new faces at Haihatus, and I feel richer for that being given to me as an artist. Thanks Haihatus!

Leave a comment.


Thursday 2/9/17 time 1:11 PM

Being an artist has not been easy for me, 
...but it is what brought me to Haihatus. 
My first media of interest was photography. This interest flourished and eventually evolved into a love for video. Video then turned into installation, and now my art practice has become a conglomerate of experimentation with different media, though my main practice is in video, photography, and installation.
Since my art was not conducive to the place I was living, I left. I donated everything I owned, burned my artwork, and flew to Finland. I needed somewhere to sort my art practice and have the freedom to create. Living at Haihatus for what will be five months has become a sort of therapy. It is a process slow in sorting, but it has been effective. 
In April I will move to Berlin, a place a bit more fast-paced. I thought Haihatus would just be a stepping stone, but it has become much more.

Leave a comment.


Monday 1/2/17 time 3:57 PM


How did you end up choosing your media?

I can't really say that I work on any specific media. I use different materials and mediums to express the ideas, and develop the project I have in mind with different aspects. I do wish that I could work on feature length films in the near future, and I believe my studies and art practices would gain me enough experience to make that happen.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is that you're an artist, and you have the free pass to live a life with a twist, and a little bit out of the ordinary. You can be homeless and everyone's okay with that. All you have to do is to watch your pocket; artists are not very rich people and they may run out of money any second. This might be the worst side!

Is this your first time in Finland?

Yes, it is. It sure won't be my last.

What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

I wanted to see what life's like in a small town, also experience the Finnish lifestyle. I believe three months is the perfect amount of time to be fully familiar with a place.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

I don't think I need to worry much about anything else other than my work, while I'm an artist in resident. As if my life, what I know and what I'm ordinarily used to goes on a pause, and I can be absolutely focused on myself and the projects I create.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I'll keep on traveling as I had already decided to be on the road. I could be a lot more productive as I move.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

I was looking for a calm environment to finish the book and other projects I was working on. Well, Haihatus was a lot more comfortable, interesting, friendly and fun that I had imagined.

Leave a comment.


Tuesday 12/20/16 time 4:25 PM


I spent just over a decade honing my writing skills, while working in technical fields, before making the decision to give the same level of dedication to visual arts as I had to writing. Visual art is something that I always had an affinity for and now, coming back to it with more experience, I find that I have an unprecedented level of motivation and enthusiasm, combined with the determination needed to keep practising no
matter what.


I haven't settled on any one medium, and I hope never to do so. I try to choose the appropriate media to each project or series, and I try to always learn something new.


For me the worst aspect is the constant need to defend yourself from absorbing a culture of competition - the juried exhibitions, exclusive galleries, officiated commissions, grant applications, school entrance requirements and all other instances where the practical necessity to limit participation leads to some very exclusionary, and potentially disheartening, situations. It will always be a challenge to critique oneself and be aware of how one can grow, without comparing oneself negatively to others, and when an outside party seems to reject the work that you do it is far too easy to lose joy in it - one of the best sides of being an artist is the freedom in creation and self-expression, and appreciating that expression of freedom in the other artists that you meet, who are your peers and allies and potential collaborators, and they should not be
turned into competitors.


I had already lived in Finland for several years before training as a visual artist, but I had never really ventured into the countryside or to any smaller towns. I was nervous that my art skills would not be mature enough, and that I would not be exotic enough, besides other
residents of the house, but it was immediately clear that my nervousness was unfounded.


The space to think clearly and work, the boost to productivity, the new environments and experiences, opportunities for experimentation - but most of all the wonderful people you meet!

I went to Haihatus in Summer of 2015, with the hope to kick off work on a series for my first solo exhibition; I produced enough work during and shortly after this to secure an exhibition for the following summer. I then visited again recently, because coming to Haihatus with a focused work plan had meant that I could not explore all the new opportunities
that presented themselves while I was there. This time I have learned to weave Finnish rugs on the looms at the local craft centre and used materials from the house to create sculptural work.

I plan to collaborate more with other artists and take part in more  group exhibitions and installations in the coming years.


Leave a comment.


Monday 12/19/16 time 12:59 PM

Background as an artist?

I have always had a passion to draw and a passion for cinema. As such, I decided to pursue a degree in animation at my local university where I developed a better understanding of the various aspects of storytelling through a visual medium from inception to completion. It was during this time that I was particularly drawn to animation pre-production, including conceptual art, storyboarding, and character design. The responsibilities of shaping the overall look and tone of a film can be daunting, but the creative experimentation present during pre-production can also be greatly fulfilling and exciting.

Since graduating university I have continued to refine my own portfolio while also trying out a more illustrative style.

How did you end up choosing your media?

I used to sketch and colour everything entirely by hand, however at university I was given the opportunity to practice drawing digitally using a graphics tablet and software such as Photoshop. My work now usually combines the traditional with the digital. I'll draw something in my sketchbook, then I'll scan it into my computer and enhance or manipulate it. Working this way is more forgiving if you make a mistake or want to back up what you're working on, so I guess I chose this media out of practicality and convenience more than anything.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side of being an artist is the inexplicable feeling after successfully working on or completing a project that you can say you're happy or proud of. That sensation not only acts as a source of motivation, but also reaffirms your passion for art.

The worst side of being an artist is definitely maintaining that motivation. It can be very difficult to stay positive and productive when there's a real struggle amongst artists to stay financially stable while doing what you love to do. When working freelance you can't always predict when the next job will come or how it will impact your income, so that level of uncertainty can also have an adverse affect on your motivation.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, this is my first time in Finland. I tried to avoid forming any preconceived expectations in a bid to maintain as open a mind as possible before coming here. Admittedly I did have some reservations over the language barrier and unfamiliar setting, however, once I explored Joutsa and found my bearings I soon realised how peaceful, picturesque, and welcoming the environment really was.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

An art residency is an opportunity to explore, experiment, and evolve your craft. It's a great way to refine your technique and expand your portfolio while engaging with like-minded residents from all walks of life and artistic backgrounds. An art residency at Haihatus is extremely laid-back and easy going, meaning that there are no expectations or pressures placed upon the artist. Instead you are left to your own devices and can work at your own pace which is very liberating.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Once I return to Scotland after Haihatus there are a few art competitions I plan on entering. Additionally, I will continue to sell my work at gaming and anime conventions, I will look into exhibiting some work in local galleries, and I will also continue working on my first illustrated book. I may even apply for other artist residencies too!

Basically, keep doing art while I try and sort my life out.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

As this was my first artist residency I was unsure of what to expect. I was hoping for a relaxed and inspiring environment where I would be given free rein to explore my ideas and Haihatus definitely provided that. It has been a warm, uplifting, and cathartic experience that I recommend to anyone who is looking for the chance to work on and experiment with their creative ideas , whatever they may be.

Leave a comment.


Thursday 12/15/16 time 2:08 PM

 photo: Tina on the right
Background as an artist? 
When growing up, my family was very creative. My parents painted, sewed and made music. They were also politically engaged and we moved around a lot. Art became a natural way for me to process and engage with a mysterious and confusing world. During my years at art school I got into video, which I still primarily work with. I make exhibitions and participate in video festivals. 

How did you end up choosing your media? 
I was a painter to begin with, and experimented a lot with different techniques during my art school years. I also liked dance, and when I later on found video it was just perfect. I'm drawn to working with movement and atmosphere, and to combine images, sounds and text. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? 
I feel alive; it's as if I always have to use my capacities to the fullest. It's also one of few occupations in which following impulses are an important part of the work. (Most situations demand some kind of reliability, responsibility and predictability of me). The emotional swings can be tricky though, something might feel great one day and really bad the next. There aren't really any stable reference points. On one hand, I have to trust my emotions to be able to do the work, on the other; I have to distrust them if I'm getting into an overly self critical loop. 

Is this your first time in Finland?
I've visited Finland quite a few times, since it is so close to Sweden. 

What kind of expectations did you have about 
Finland/ Joutsa? 
I like 
Finland a lot. It's similar to Sweden, but somehow different. Joutsa is about the size of the village I’m originally from. It feels strangely familiar, although the nature around here is much more idyllic. 

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 
It's so great to have a period of time away from the everyday life, too meet other artists and to have a possibility for concentrated work. 

What are your plans after Haihatus? 
At the moment I'm preparing a video for a video wall at an American university, which will be screened in the summer. Besides that, I´m sketching on some ideas, but haven't yet decided which one to go for. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
I love it here, it's welcoming and relaxed! I´m here for one month, but would have liked to stay longer. 

Leave a comment.


Monday 12/5/16 time 9:56 AM


Background as an artist? 

I have been a practicing artist for 10 years (after graduating from art school) and have been working with media such as video, photography, printmaking, drawing, collage. My work has been shown in various international group and solo exhibitions.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I never really sat down to chose my media, I became more drawn to some more than others: collage because of its playful capabilities, drawing because of its direct linking of eye/brain to paper via the hand and print making because of the multiple images it creates. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? 

The best part of being an artist is having the freedom to pursue topics and ideas that interest you.

The worst part is having to sustain a level of discipline and motivation throughout the year.  

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa? 

I have been in Finland before and I have always found it very inspiring. I did not have any particular expectations about Joutsa, but have been very pleasantly surprised by the amazing natural environment, the friendliness of the people and the delicious food.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? What are your plans after Haihatus? 

An artist residency is great because you don't have all the everyday commitments such as working at a job, commuting or even distractions like exhibitions to go and see! One can just concentrate on working and thinking. A new environment is also very helpful, as it allows you to see your work afresh and  from a greater distance. Most importantly, the time at a residency is continuous - there are no interruptions. I remember thinking in Haihatus that I could actually remember exactly where I left off the previous day and that this sort of continuity then puts you in a very productive mind frame, where ideas flow more freely and and it's easier to experiment or try new things. 

After Haihatus, I plan to continue with the work I have started there, to create a whole body of work. More generally, I plan to apply to more residencies in the future and perhaps return to Haihatus one day! 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 

Haihatus was my first residency experience, so I didn't have any expectations really. I loved the whole experience. 

There was complete freedom in what type of work we would make, so it felt like there was no pressure to make a certain amount of work. This allowed me to work at a slower, more deliberate pace. It also allowed me the freedom to experiment- in the middle of the residency decided to do a site specific installation, which was a challenge. But I had the time and the freedom to experiment and try new things, and this allowed me to create the installation. 

The environment of Haihatus was very inspiring- from the gorgeous forests and lakes in the area to the different buildings and spaces on the Haihatus complex, to the spacious studios and to the warm, supportive environment in Haihatus. I was particularly inspired by a shed in the backyard, where I ended up doing my installation. 

It was also great to meet so many wonderful people- both the organisers of the residency and the artist friends. It was great to have a group of artists working together in the same space. Even if some days you didn't feel particularly inspired or you were at a loose end, the creative energy around the studios was motivating and energising. 

Leave a comment.


Thursday 11/17/16 time 5:03 PM

Languages bring their own colors for the everyday life and communication in the artist residence. Sometimes the body language, gestures, images and machine translations are worth of gold.

The language barrier was challenged by Japanese Marie´s artist interview and that is why it was decided to leave in Japanese-language and machine translations left as they are with all the incorrectness for the reader to interpret :)

Click here to read a presentation of a great artist Marie Doi

Marie Doi: My body, my brain


Leave a comment.


Wednesday 10/19/16 time 10:22 AM


Background as an artist

I’ve always liked to make things. I began drawing when I was a little thing and began painting as a teenager. I painted and painted and painted until recently, when I’ve started to make sculpture and mixed media pieces. I went to school one time & so have a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I don’t know that I chose to be a painter, it’s just always what I’ve been. I also make books and I discovered that particular joy on accident, through a community college class – it’s an awfully useful skill for making the perfect sketchbook. In addition to making things, I’m an avid reader and a large part of my work combines painting with literature – either conceptually or physically, in the form of borrowed words or pages. My sculptural pieces are almost always made out of found wood, construction or shipping waste, usually. I like to sand it down and make it silky-smooth and dress it up in gold.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best part of being an artist, for me, is being able to make ideas manifest as objects. The worst part is crushing uncertainty and a predilection for depression.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This was my first visit to Finland, and now I must visit again and again and again and…I love Joutsa & Haihatus & Finland too. I didn’t know what to expect but I was so happy in the big yellow house and in the little town and spending time in the forest among the trees and water.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The best part of residency is the uninterrupted time to think and to make. To be taken out of the crushing capitalist routine (of America, for me) to concentrate on creativity and on living more holistically. Also, having the opportunity to experience a different culture and to gain insight and inspiration from that. Plus, all of the wonderful people from all over the world, who are also on artistic journeys.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I must work and work and work. Also, I will make work. I’m considering graduate school for an MFA and also trying to figure out exactly how to spend the next five years, including as many residencies that I can cram in.  

Leave a comment.


Tuesday 10/4/16 time 1:30 PM

Louisa Viljoen, Sara-Jeanne Bourget and Johan Bronkhorst in front of their joint environmental art work "Bypath"

1. Background

I am a 23 year old emerging creative, based in Cape Town, South Africa; currently specializing in sculpture and installation.

2. Choosing media

As most kids do, I absolutely loved drawing and painting (literally) at all times. I grew up in Cape Town and took "art" as a subject throughout school. During that time I was introduced to conceptual painting that I took very seriously and ended up in art-school. 

During my time at university I felt that the media (painting) wasnt challenging me enough and that the art felt dead or dying. I developed a need to challenge the process of creating as well as challenge the interaction between art and the viewers, buyers or collectors by making interactive art-pieces. I found that art should become integrated in an active manner through a "viewership". That is why sculpting satisfied my creative side. 

3. Best and worst of being an artist

The best thing about art as a career choice is the ultimate freedom it provides its thinkers. Whether it is curatorial, event- or studio-based, it provides a platform to inspire new means in any direction. Art could be anything and about anything. I love how it provides me a space to not only be understood, but to innovate.

I would say that the worst thing about being a creative is that there are many uninformed individuals that want to buy art (for decoration purposes), but wouldn't even give the media a chance to broaden their thoughts. As an emerging artist, I feel dissapointed in the manner in which galleries or collectors go about working with their chosen artists. The art-world became more occupied with money and value and less with concept and innovation. To explain myself, I feel that the aesthetics and the meaning of art are becoming more and more removed from one another. If it looks good, it sells. An artist is there to "create", not "produce" - a word I hear too often.

4. Expectations about Finland

Yes, this is my first time in Finland and I would say that Joutsa met more than my expectations. It is a great residency and working environment. Every artist there provides a different approach of the process of "making" and I found it inspiring to have met such great people. 

Joutsa itself is a small town surrounded by forest. The hiking, late-night fires, weekends away. (and roadtrip to Lapland!) provides the ideal space for someone that wants to take a step back from the world and put all their energy and focus into a month or more doing what they enjoy. I especially enjoyed "forgetting" about my own work or art-bubble for a week and doing a collaborative piece at the residency. It was one of the best unwinding art-moments I have had all year. 

5. Best things about residencies

Residencies provide an international collaborative working space for people working in so many different media. It also allows artists to both travel and create - which sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Residencies provide a rich cultural and practical learning experience. If you are able to travel, I don´t see why anyone wouldn´t.

6. Plans after Haihatus

I´m thinking of event-planning from a curational approach in the future. I would like to provide a platform for artists that meets their needs. Think of art as a social space instead of an opprtunity to make profit. My immediate plans, however, is to do my MFA and other post-grad in curational studies.

7. How does haihatus meet your expectations

As I mentioned before, Haihatus met more than my expectations. I was provided with a well-equipped studio, indoor and outdoor exhibiting space, a lot of nature and air, a spacious room and frindly, helpful people. I would even go so far as to call it a home for the time I was there. Even if you are more on the introverted side, you cannot help but make great frineds. I loved my time here and I would recommend it for anyone with a need for adventure!


Leave a comment.


Thursday 9/29/16 time 2:24 PM


Background as an artist

I have recently obtained my bachelor degree at Concordia University in Fine arts. It’s onlytowards the end of my studies that I found a direction to my art, thanks to one of my drawing teacher. I have a studio in Montreal where I work and socialize with friends but the real work mostly happened outside, when nature has the kindness of having me. I am still developing ideas, thinking about my process and understanding creative patterns I have. I am taking things steps by steps, applying to projects, residencies and exhibition, maybe considering a master degree.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

First of all, I make a lot of fires - I got very interested in the making of charcoal, which led me to use my production of charcoal as part of my artistic process. It is important for me to be fully aware of the medium I use. Also, I don’t think I am hurting the environment too much with my burnt branches!

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

Best sides: Banality is rare. Community is the key. Solving technical problems is awesome.

Worst side: Having a regular job on the side

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

It’s my first time in Finland. I can’t recall if I had any expectations but I am more than satisfied about what the Finnish nature has offered me.  Joutsa is a tiny town but it is so nice to get to experience life outside of big cities. It is harder to blend in with the people living (especially because of the language) but people are always kind and helpful. Also, I didn’t expect to see all those reindeers on the road up north, so many of them!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

Getting out of the daily routine is what’s most important. An art residency offers you time and space to create and meet fellow artists with whom you can elaborate projects and converse about ideas. Travelling is also the best way to get you out of old habbits and it puts you in a situation where everything is new. In my case, it refreshes my ways of thinking, makes me hungry for newness; all opportunities for experiences, social connections, sharing moments become extremely relevant. The introspection part of it is important as well. You come alone in a world of unknown and it is the best time to get to know yourself a little better.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Well, to be honest I will have to find a job. But as soon as I can, I will apply to an art residency again. I am also planning on applying to projects that suits me in order to exhibit my work. My studio is waiting for me, I have plans to embellish it and make it more appropriate for my desire of making very large drawings.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus was wonderful, peaceful, inspiring and filled up with all resources any artists would need. The people who run it are so kind and caring, it does feel like home as soon as you step in. It was such a needed break from urban life, having nature right at the doorstep. I am sad to leave but will surely bring with me amazing memories and a couple new good friends!

Leave a comment.


Tuesday 9/27/16 time 1:32 PM - MojoHHphoto600.jpg


Background as an artist

I am a self-taught musician.
A performer, emerging producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter/arranger.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I chose music because is it food to my soul!

I’ve been a performer and a singer-songwriter since 2009. I have performed with various ensembles, from folk, pop-folk, blues, swing jazz and jug band music ensembles. I have been a member of the Muddy Basin Ramblers for 3 years now. I am one of the vocalist, the clarinetist and the bass clarinetist.

This coming year, I am taking part in the recording of my 3rd album with the Ramblers. Working with the jug band is a sacred soul-filling thing! We sell medicine at our shows to cure all ailments. It’s called Music! Music is medicine for the soul!

I chose to shift from acoustic singer-songwriting to electronic music production because I like the versatility of the medium. I became more interested in music production after attending music festivals, and meeting inspiring producers. I love to feel the power of music and to dance, sway, move to the vibrations.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side of being an artist is having the freedom of expression. I enjoy being independent in my work. I learn what I need to learn when I want. Another great side of being an artist is the traveling and meeting interesting people. Collaborations can also be lots of fun.

One downside of being an artist is the infamous doubt. I can speak for many: I walk a less beaten path and it can be difficult sometimes. I stumble, I fall, I lose faith. I start to wonder whether I still have the energy and the love to push my vision. I also fall into the mindset of ‘seeing results’, especially ‘seeing satisfying results’ that are worthy to my peers.

But… Downsides are also part of it all. I keep learning more about living happily with the unknown.

The worst moments are thankfully only written in the fine print. I create music and art because I enjoy the process. I learn a lot about myself, learn a lot from others, and from the world around me.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, it is my first time in Finland. I came here fully open to what the adventure would bring and I am delighted with what has taken place. Haihatus has fulfilled my needs!

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The best sides of being at an art residency are meeting fun and interesting people, working with others on projects, and focusing on my art. A residency also allows me time for perspective… on my music, on myself, and on the human condition.

Lastly, another great side of doing an art residency is to travel and discover a new culture and new environments.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus, I want to continue honing my skills. I also want to keep creating and following my vision. I’d like to continue receiving feedback that can help me improve.

Once I am back in Asia, I will also continue performing with the Ramblers and other fellow musicians on the beautiful island of Formosa.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus has met my expectations by being in the countryside and close to nature. Haihatus has allowed me to meet and connect with awesome people, and has allowed me the space (a cozy bedroom, a big kitchen and common space, a sauna, a work-inducing studio, galleries and art to see, a lovely locality called Joutsa,…!) to live comfortably and to be inspired.

Haihatus is also managed by wonderfully generous, helpful and friendly people. I am grateful, Haihatus, for your welcome and love. Thank you!

Leave a comment.


Friday 9/23/16 time 12:37 PM


Background as an artist

I have always liked art very much but I didn't start making art myself until recently (about five years ago). It was one of those things I always wanted to do but I think I was too scared or I thought it was too difficult or that I wasn't talented enough. It started like a hobby, by teaching myself photography and taking short and evening courses (mostly on drawing) while I was at university studying a completely unrelated subject. I soon realised I wanted more and I ended up doing what in the UK is known as a Foundation course, which is an introductory course young people take before studying art at university (I did the version for grown-ups). I then decided I needed more training but I didn't want to put myself through another degree so I did a 2-year painting diploma instead in a small London school. I finished in 2015 and I've been practising and trying to establish myself ever since.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

Painting was not (and is not) the only media I'm attracted to but I've always loved looking at paintings and when I decided to train I realised I had to specialise and focus on one technique. Painting is slightly scary in that it is a very flexible media, in the hands of a good artist it can be beautiful but it can also be very mediocre and, personally speaking, I know that I am capable of producing very bad paintings (as well as good ones sometimes).

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is being successful with your creativity, when you achieve positive results at the end of the creative process and your confidence gets a boost. The worst side is the uncertainty I think, both in terms of how difficult the creative process can be and also the uncertainty in the real world as it's so difficult to promote one's work let alone make an income from art.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes it is my first time in Finland. I was attracted by the landscape around Joutsa, the forest and the lakes, which looked like they would be beautiful (and they are!). I was also attracted to the idea of focusing on my work for a whole month leaving all the other distractions behind. Because of the surroundings I decided to focus on landscape painting for the duration of the residency which I had never tried before (I usually work on the human figure).

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

It is great to be able to focus on work without distractions and it is really stimulating to be in new surroundings, especially in a beautiful location like Joutsa. It really helps you look at your work (and lots of other things) with fresh eyes.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

To continue painting using the lessons learnt this month. I'm sure I will apply to other residencies in the future (or to come back to Haihatus!) as the experience has been really positive.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

The experience of coming to Haihatus has been incredibly positive. I love nature and the outdoors and the change from London to Joutsa has been amazing. I think I'm gonna have a hard time adjusting when I get back home. I will really miss the forest! From the point of view of painting the experience has been really positive as well, my studio was great and I found myself thinking about my work in a different way. I only wish I had more time as a month looks like a long time but it goes by really quickly. I think the residency provides everything that people need and everyone has been really welcoming. A big thanks to everyone at Haihatus.

Leave a comment.


Tuesday 8/9/16 time 8:42 AM


Background as an artist

I'm a Brazilian photographer and video maker. I hold a BFA in Social Communication from UNIMEP, Brazil. In the past I've worked producing feature films and documentaries in Brazil, along with the Núcleo de Cinema de Paulínia. I also co-founded Mariachis Audiovisual, a small production company, and I worked as the production manager and cinematographer for short documentaries and other video works. In 2011 I moved to New York City, and then I begun developing my vision as a photographer. Lately I’ve been creating my portfolio, and working as a freelance photographer.


How did you end up choosing your media? 

In school I was immediately drawn to film, particularly cinematography. I began working in small productions, short films, and then feature films as well. But I realized that I needed a better understanding of photography in order to improve as a filmmaker. And then I began shifting to photography. I fist focused on dance photography, and street/documentary. And later on, by finding artists that I admired, I begun creating long exposure photos, and focusing on landscape. This whole process was mostly self-taught, and it happened through research and practice.


What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

For me the best part of being an artist is the chance to express myself and to explore how I can see the word trough a different perspective. I love photography and film, and this admiration made me pursue this life path. But the worst part is understanding the value of my own work. If I value what I do, am I being a narcissist? But what if I don’t? I struggle to find the balance to appreciate my own work while still challenging myself everyday, and accepting failure as a necessary part of the artistic process. 


Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This is my second time in Finland! The first time that I visited Finland was back in 2013 when I attended Loikka dance film festival in Helsinki to show “Last Stop”, a dance film that I co-directed and created with my partner (and wife) Carol Mendes. As for my expectations, I came here in search for nature and peace, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Joutsa is a lovely place, very quiet and surrounded by beautiful lakes and woods. I’ve been wishing to come back to Finland since my first time here, and I’m a huge enthusiastic of this amazing country, with such educated, kind and welcoming people!  


What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

The best thing for me is the chance to focus 100% on my work as a photographer and video maker without the interference of problems of the regular day life… like surviving! My last 5 years living in NYC were an exciting and creative time, but there was a lot of pressure to produce work and to have immediate results. This scenario is really overwhelming. I was at a point professionally that I didn’t know for who and why I was creating new work. During my residency here in Haihatus I was able to spend time structuring my work, organizing my material and just reopening my creative mind. 


What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus I’m spending sometime in Lisbon, and I plan to stay here in Europe to grow as an artist and challenge myself as a photographer. I’m currently in touch with some school programs that I’m interested in. I’m working hard to find solutions to live a more international life. It’s a lot of work and research regarding visas, and country mobility. I’m also applying to artistic residencies in different countries, and I’m waiting to see which path will open up ahead of me. 


How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Everything that I was looking for I’ve founded here. It’s really inspiring to live for a period of time in a shared artistic house among very creative people from different countries, cultures, and fields of art. I’m really happy to meet and become friends with other artists in different points of their career. This experience has blown my mind and it opened my eyes to new horizons. There are so many enriching art experiences happening in so many diverse parts of the world, and it’s amazing to see them come together in small town rural Finland. 

Leave a comment.


Tuesday 7/26/16 time 9:01 AM



Background as an artist

 am an artist who Engaged in wide range of subjects and mediums such as Drawing / Performance - Video / Installation - Sculpture and an educator.

graduated in 2013 with hig honors  honors from the Faculty of Art rt HaMidrasha at Beit Berel Academic College in Israel. 

Since then I held a solo exhibition at Beit KanerMunicipal Art Gallery,Rishon Lezion and have been working various art projects in gallery and  museum exhibitionsand as an educator ofart.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it? 

My artworks are based on multi layered processes of Mediums exploration including painting, sculpture, VideoSound and botany. am interested in the confluences between techniques and mediums in order to explore the interactions. 

Usually I have a vision and then I decide which media will serve it on the best way. It allows me to stay free and to be faithful to the idea that I would like to express.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?  

I believe that words can't always describe or convey everything I want to express as an artist. Therefore the best part of being an artist is having the ability to express your thoughts and feelings through physical or visual mediaFurthermore I love the freedom of the creativity, there are no rules or limits to chain you. To see and to hear how the viewer experience  my artwork is definitely one of the most fascinating things for me in this process. 

One of the hardest thing of being artist is making yourself a framework. I find that the creative process forces you to explore, work and develop constantly.  

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?  

Tget out  from my comfort zone and to be able to concentrate in my artwork. 

The opportunity to live and talk with other international artists or locals.  I’m very much enjoying soaking in their unique presence and learning a bit about their culture, art and food:).

Haihatus is a  special place surrounded by beautiful nature which  allows a relaxed and creative spirit . 


What are your plans after Haihatus? 

Go back and teach art with the inspiration I got from here and to complete a new series of paintings based off the work I’ve done here and submit it for exhibition at a few galleries. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

So far, all my expectations were met and more

There’s a very relaxed and creative spirit here; the incredible nature is really special and ispiring. I got the chance to meet all of those amazing people and artists, which was so fun to create next to them and to hang out with!

Haihatus gave me the opportunity to deviate from my normal routine back home and get my art practice in order. The house is really amazing and Merja really helped  with whatever I needed.


1 comment .


Thursday 7/21/16 time 9:48 AM


Background as an artist

I studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design, in Ireland. I graduated in 2012, have been exhibiting regularly both at home and abroad since then, and had a solo show in April at Inspire Gallery, Dublin.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

My original training was in ceramics, and I was used to approaching an idea with a 3D outcome in mind. However, when I moved to Korea in 2014 I no longer had access to a kiln, and started to experiment with other media. This led to the mixed media format I work in now, using inks, paints, found materials and embroidery on paper.

Overall I enjoy the freedom I have in painting. I had limited formal training as a painter, so I can experiment and use whatever is to hand without overthinking the process; something I struggled with when working in ceramics. It can lead to some surprising results, as I am often discovering the material as I use it. However sometimes this lack of formal training can work against me, as I can struggle to realise a project to the standard I would like.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

I find it much easier to coherently express my thoughts on a page, and enjoy producing something and seeing how an audience responds to it. In my opinion the most difficult part is constantly questioning yourself and your work; wondering if you’ve just finished a really nice piece or if you’ve just wasted the entire day!

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, this is my first time here. I came to the area without overly researching Joutsa; I wanted to see and learn about the area first hand, especially when I knew I would have the time here to really get to know the place. I find the landscape here fascinating, the relatively flat open spaces hemmed in with seemingly endless trees makes an interesting contrast to the mountainous countryside in Switzerland.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The time you have, to really focus on your work without distractions. I don’t think it shows in a finished piece how much thought goes into the concept or the making of an artwork, and that the hours spent creating something are a much more involved process than just doodling on a page! Having a month to sort through my ideas has given me a clear idea of what direction I want to follow in my work next, and has allowed me the freedom to experiment with materials also.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus I will go back to Switzerland. I am hoping to exhibit my work more regularly in the coming year, as well as apply for some residency programs in Ireland and Europe.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

This was the first time I completed an artist residency, and already I feel like I would like to stay longer! The peaceful surroundings and relaxed atmosphere make it a very productive place for me to work, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience here.

Leave a comment.


Friday 6/24/16 time 7:14 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren



Background as an artist:

I graduated the Australian National University, School of Art in 2013 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours. Then in 2014 I completed two artist residencies in Canberra which lead to my debut solo exhibition in Sydney last year. 

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

My artistic practice is conceptually driven. First I choose an idea and then the  appropriate media. The best side to working this way is the freedom to choose any media depending on what my concept is. However, in working this way I have potentially closed the door on “art for art’s sake”. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

There is a great venn diagram floating around the internet. At the centre of the venn diagram is the word ART on the left it reads ABSOLUTELY NARCISSISM on the right it reads CRIPPLING SELF DOUBT. I feel these are the best and worst sides to being an artist. It’s a constant balance between self confidence and self doubt.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes it is my first time to Finland. I had heard the forests and lakes are beautiful and indeed they are however I didn't know much else. I spent a lot of time researching and interestingly enough this research became the concept for the work.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

The best sides are you have a chance to make a new body of work in a completely different context. I think it is good as an artist to always be pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and asking fundamental questions . It’s also great way to build overseas connections and experiences. 

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I am entering the work I have made during this residency into a number of European based art competitions. I am also planning to show a sample of this new work in the group residency exhibition at Haihatus in  November.  I expect the ideas and environment of Finland will lead me in new directions. 

-How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus has more than met my expectations! It's great to have a team of such supportive and creative people all in one place. I feel very lucky and honoured to have be offered such a great opportunity.


Leave a comment.


Thursday 6/16/16 time 4:11 PM - interview by Terhi Dahlgren, photo by Marie Desoubeaux

-Background as an artist: I studied studio art and art history at Reed College, and kept painting in oil after school. 
-How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it? After a few years of oil painting, I switched to digital art. I think the best side is that it only requires electricity and my computer or iPad, so I can do it anywhere, no need for messy materials and lots of space. The worst side is that the tools I have are so powerful, and I'm basically still just painting and drawing with them. I know the potential is so great, so I always feel I should be pushing myself to do more complicated projects.
-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? The best side is doing things like this, since I've been here I've only had to eat, sleep, and make art, and that lifestyle is really working for me. The worst side is I'm going to have to find some way to make money again soon.
-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa? Yes, first time! I expected Finland to be strange with the long days in May and June, and it has definitely been weird to still see light outside all night. Joutsa is so safe and peaceful and cute, those were all my expectations.  
-How's your average day in Joutsa? I wake up very late, because I've been staying up at night. My schedule is probably very unhealthy, but I'm still productive.
-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? There's no pressure here at all, except internal pressure to make good art.
-How does Haihatus meet your expectations? The three cats are very nice and international friends all here for the same purpose is so refreshing to be around. Above my expectations: having BBQ for dinner and going to sauna at least once a week are so good!! 
-What are your plans after Haihatus? I'm doing another residency in Berlin, and applying for grad school there.

Leave a comment.


Monday 5/30/16 time 1:15 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren

-Background as an artist:
I trained as a dancer from the age of 6, in a conservatory in Normandy (France) and move to Paris for my studies after I graduated from high school. I kept on training there and abroad, following my travels and wishes for workshops and projects around Europe and China. Since 2010, I got really interested into the performative field and Instant Composition process. I created and directed a platform dedicated to both those forms between 2012 and 2015, before getting into my own material as a director this year. 
-How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?
I wasn't really much attracted by theater when I was young, it didn't really fit my profile to talk on a stage, and I was already into dance studies back then. 
I recently work in the process of a featured movie, and it made me realize again why dance has also been my media for so long: I guess I just like to have a straight access to my instrument, without depending on an object between me and my way of expressing. Plus, I think I really have a somatic body, which talks to me a lot when any emotional force happens.
I like to put the body in the center of expression. I would say it has been hard to keep the energy and desire of dancing all those years, and I sometime go into phases where I don't have the curiosity to move any more. But it always comes back, and then I need to go extreme with it and dance a lot for a while. I guess I have trouble to stay stable with this, but I guess this is also how I work with it now. 
-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?
I love being an artist for the freedom of thinking that it offers. I feel it sometime puts me into a very nice position to be a link, a thread, or to go to very different fields of life and interest.
I recently had a big brainstorming with me and myself (!), to wonder if I should stay in the dance and artistic area as my main job. But I'm not sure I could really get away too long from that world, for the diversity if offers (or the diversity I take from it). For the worst side, as I guess many artists would say, is to find the right frame and conditions to be working as you wish for. 
-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?
It is! My coming to Joutsa was actually so spontaneous and last minute made that I'm not sure I had time to have a lot of expectations from it... I quickly borrow a book on my parents' library about Finland, and just had the time to read its people were shy but welcoming at the end..! 
I have always been very much attracted to Scandinavia and Northern countries, and it that aspect it really fits the atmosphere I was expecting from it. I couldn't really picture Joutsa the way it actually is, but I found the environment to be just perfect to focus and get some air for and from your work.
-How's your average day in Joutsa?
I tried to fix some rituals for a basic daily day in Joutsa but it didn't really work that much! I tried to follow the flow as much as possible, without closing anything.
I have been working a lot, just in many different ways. I usually get up around 8:30am in the morning (after waking up around 4am to answer the sun's greeting...), get a good breakfast and coffee, listen to french news on the radio from time to time, and sit at my desk in the dance studio to work.
I haven't danced much, but I discovered I was actually in a different process this time, that involve more of gathering, making links and thinking through than actual dance experimentations.
Afternoons are usually more dedicated to reading or trying to find some other way to work and getting some fresh air, but it can also be the other way around. I try to get out at least once a day. I go to the lac and the wood paths around the house. I went a couple of times to Myllykoski, which is such a nice place to walk and get into the woods by the lac. Sometime I just go out to buy some food at the supermarket, or knock at the guy's doors to ask them to go out for a beer with me in Kellari's pub at night. 
I stretched, had some very creative naps, went out a lot to see Kari and Tehri working in the garden,...
SAUNA has been also a very nice place to finish the day, and get fresh (hot?) new ideas for the next day!
-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 
It offers you the frame you need to deeply focus on your work, even when you feel stuck with it! It allowed me to sometime let go of the writing process itself, but still be able to let the seeds grow.
You never get out of your process in a way, even when you're doing something else. It is like having a place where your daily life has been put aside just for a moment, to allow you to work, but also to empty the space around for your work to rise.
-How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
I feel a lot of freedom here. Haihatus was just what I was looking for: a place to focus on my own work, alone, but surrounding by people.
The spaces here are huge, and you can really get your own private space to work in, but it is also very easy to connect with people in the house, and get friends and company around you when you just go crazy with you and your thoughts! 
-What are your plans after Haihatus?
I was accepted for an other artist residency in Iceland, where my project is also rooted. But meanwhile, I will first go back to Paris, and start to work with my dancer in the studio to keep on going with the project I was working on here. I have a piece that is still touring from next month starting, and I will also be working for a festival in Paris this summer. 

Leave a comment.


Monday 5/30/16 time 12:46 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren


How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

Music started out as a very constant source of curiosity growing up. I was always encouraged to be curious and the interest always developed and progressed in a very natural way as I got older. I think that desire to expand and learn more while exploring new ground is what really drives the whole creative process to begin with. Once you have the curiosity, the rest of the details seem to choose you. Music was something I was just always drawn to and the guitar became a tool to help discover and experience it.

Having the opportunity to get close to music or musicians that inspires you is a really important thing to experience. I think that’s how I fell in love with the steel and slide guitar later on…just sitting in front of really good players in a really quiet room and thinking “Wow, that’s what I want to do now.” Those are the times that stick with you. Hearing and feeling that raw, acoustic, physical, and emotional side of simple wires and wood is where it all starts for me. All of a sudden good music feels so ancient and mystical and powerful.

The pedal steel guitar is maybe not the most typical instrument but I’ve been lucky to meet and play with many different musicians over the years. I love the invitation to sit-in with a project I’m not too well versed in for a recording project or a festival gig, whatever. You can meet all sorts of great friends and connections that way. That’s one of my favorite parts of what I do…the spontaneous improvisatory aspect. You call tell a lot about a person from playing music together and I’ve made some life-long friends that way.

Hmmm, the worst part is…you have to carry all this heavy gear everywhere! It can feel like a lot of work to get everything ready on a stage somewhere for a gig. The pedal steel weighs about 60 lbs. and then there’s the amplifier, speaker cabinet, sound processors, cabling, power supply, chair, and all the maintenance that those can require! It’s all worth it though. It’s all just part of the process.

-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is there are no rules to it! It’s completely detached from the world of mindless tasks and social distractions. I think the challenge becomes not just being driven but staying driven and always chasing.

The world of pop culture doesn’t really nurture the mind of a creative thinker or an innovator. There’s a lot of self-motivation and a strong work ethic required to push the envelope and keep the ball moving.

At the same time, I try not to take myself too seriously and know I won’t feel fulfilled if I put too much pressure on myself. There’s the inevitable crippling-self-doubt from inventing too much expectation. Having patience and working hard seem to be the best combination to staying on track.

-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This is my first time in Finland. It’s been wonderful. I think if anything, I was expecting more of a big city feeling in Helsinki once we arrived there. I was shocked the city center isn’t flooded with a mass of neon billboards and bad traffic. For some reason I was expecting more of this “hustle-bustle” vibe but was pleasantly surprised by it’s eclectic nature yet down to earth feeling. Everyone seems so laid-back and patient which we don’t always experience back in America. It’s amazing how clean everything is; no trash anywhere.

I had heard only a few things as far what to expect like…it’s not typical to greet strangers in public and everyone loves milk and fish, haha. I don’t know, maybe there’s some truth to a few stereotypes sometimes, but everything makes sense after you’re here awhile. It’s an easy adjustment to be here and feel comfortable.

-How's your average day in Joutsa?

I’m usually one to wake up a little later than the others (laughing). I definitely take my time being lazy in the mornings. I have to check the baseball scores from back home, make coffee, and respond to e-mails. After breakfast, I’ll go to the Fanstasia house and work on a lesson plan for the day. After a few hours, I’ll come back inside and maybe take a walk with Melanie or ride to the market.

I enjoy breaking up the day of working by moving around and coming back to the guitar throughout the day. We like going to the Kellari pub to watch a hockey game or sitting in the sauna at night. There have been a few BBQ’s with the other artists here too which is a fun time to relax and tell stories over beers and dinner.

-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

You can do things however you like here! It seems like the easiest place in the world to reinvent your sleep schedule or deviate from your normal routine back home. It’s rare to be an adult and feel such few responsibilities!

Everything is Joutsa is very close on bike and it’s like a little utopia commune here where everyone does their own thing yet still makes time to hang and socialize. It’s a good balance to be in.

-How does Haihatus meet your expectations

Well, it’s funny...I really tried to not have any expectations before arriving! I didn’t want to invent Haihatus or even Joutsa in my mind before I got here and be discouraged if it has somehow different. I knew there would be enough space around to not feel cooped up in a tiny room all day long so I wasn’t too concerned with other details as long as I could get this heavy guitar here in one piece! I am happy to have this experience. It’s been a great place to retreat in.

-What are your plans after Haihatus?

I’m heading back to Asheville, NC where I live with my wife Melanie. There is work at home waiting for me when I get back. I’ve made really good progress here and can’t wait to take what I’ve been woodshedding and apply it this summer and beyond. Time to turn the page! It will feel good to get back into the swing of things after this time here at Haihatus. We hope to finalize on buying our first home together when we return as well! It’s an exciting time.

Leave a comment.

« Newer entriesOlder entries »

Site Meter