keskiviikko 29. helmikuuta 2012

Artist of the Month. Maiju Salmenkivi.

The Waterway. 2011.

I was going through my list of artists who I want to talk about and I noticed that illustrators were taking a lead. I like illustrations, but it could get kinda boring if all I talked about was smexy illustrations (oil, acrylic, grapics)etc. This was the moment when mom brought me a newspaper article about Finnish fine artist Maiju Salmenkivi.

Salmenkivi was born in Espoo, Finland and currently resides in Helsinki. She studied at the Academie van der beeldende kunst, in Holland, but came back to Helsinki in 1997 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Salmenkivi received her MFA in 2003 and has been teaching and making art since. She also has contributed to several art events and is the chairman of Galleria Huuto.

In the article, the reviewer says that Salmenkivi's latest work is by far her best. I'm not familiar with her previous work, but I agree that her newest paintings really got something. 'The Waterway' (image above) was in the article and I just fell in love with the colours ^.^ I agree with the reviewer that this painting is the embodiment of battle and cope. He says that it's up to the viewer to decide whether 'The Waterway' tells of surviving or devastation. In her other paintings Salmenkivi is looking to express drama and energy. She fills the scene with paint and brings out only selected details. Her paintings tells of familiar subjects, but the scenes are not trying to capture the whole moment/scene. I reckon Salmenkivi leaves a lot of room for the viewer to interpret her paintings as they see fit.

To me 'The Waterway' tells of devastation. Even though it has very lovely colours which may suggest surviving and brighter future, but all I see is that even after new day has come, devastation and pain will not go away. For some reason my mind goes for more depressing things when I look at this painting. In day light everything may look prettier however that's also when one can really see the damage of the situation. It's such a lovely painting that I'm amazed how all I can think of is 'who is going to clean that mess?' Obviously the painting is (slightly) about Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Hence in a way it tells of surviving and the emotions one person may experience if put in the painting's situation. That would be a mixture of sweet relief, and agony one probably has never experienced before.

Dark Pasila. 2008
I'm actually quite impressed with how Salmenkivi uses mediums. She mixes acrylic, tempera, alkyd and oil colours, like in 'Dark Pasila'. Pasila is an area in Helsinki, mostly known from its old train halls and tracks. Even without the title I could tell this place is Pasila. Salmenkivi has captured the view from Pasila's bridge perfectly yet manages to make it look unique. I'm not too sure about the massive fumes (I'll be looking for those fumes next time I cross this bridge), but I really really like the colour combinations. I can't put my finger on how exactly she achieves this look. I could have a guess or try a few methods and combinations, but I think she has her own look going on and it would be useless to try to mimic it. This view from Pasila has a dream like quality to it and  I'm sure that many of us who has now seen this painting, will look at Pasila differently from now on. To me 'Dark Pasila' is a dream. The scene looks like what someone would expect to see in a dream. I feel like I'm flying across Pasila and above me are the challenges, pain and doubt this city and its people bring me.

Musta Joutsen. 2006
I think that many of Salmenkivi's paintings have dream/fantasy elements in them. They look almost liquid or milk-like. Especially 'Musta Joutsen' (on the left) looks like Salmenkivi mixed the colours in milk. Perhaps this is what the reviewer ment when he suggested that it's now possible to drown in paint. Salmenkivi gives us her take on landscapes and people and without warning drowns us in paint. Perhaps it really is possible to drown in her paintings. Her landscapes suggests that don't you think?
Salmenkivi has done portraits such as 'Musta Joutsen', but I think that her true uniqueness lies in the landscapes. Her portraits are actually rather eerie and perhaps too simple compared to her landscapes. To me her portraits look little too simple and I'm like 'It's a smudgy painting of a person. What am I suppose think here?' However I do like the technique she has used on 'Musta Joutsen'. It's actually kinda cute painting =^.^=

Escape/Pako. Installation. 2007-2009.
Sadly I missed her show which was earlier this month. I was just about to plan my shifts around it when I noticed that I had missed by that much. Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary and Google of course have some good pictures of Salmenkivi's work, but I would really have wanted to see her landscapes personally. I bet they are even more fabulous in reality as they are on photographs. Hopefully she'll have another show soon.

Hope you enjoyed my little review. Thanks for reading and see you soon!


keskiviikko 22. helmikuuta 2012

My first Tattoo, The Experience.

This friday (24.2) is the anniversary of my first tattoo grin Yup come friday, have had my pretty tattoo for one year. When I was planning to get my first tattoo the first time in 2010, I read many 'first impression' kinda entries and guides on what to expect when you go under a tattoo needle. It may sound like really geeky, but I was anxious to learn what the first time would be like. So reading about other people's experiences and researching the subject made me feel that I can go through with it. So this entry is about my first impression on getting dat first tattoo.

The first time I started planning a tattoo (seriously) was in spring 2010 when I was on exchange in Australia. One day I just decided that I'm going to design a tattoo and have it drawn on me. I still have that design and I have been thinking over and over again whether I really want it on my body. It was inspired by Jim Henson's movie 'Labyrinth' (I'm crazy about David Bowie), well more like inspired by the movie and Bowie's lyrics. 
But that image would have to be, well not like large large, but bigger than I'd prefer. So I designed this little leaping bunny (3cm). It was supposed to go on the top of my left boob, and I wanted it to be white with pink outline. Long story short, I couldn't go through with it. 
A. because it was sooooooooooooooooooo expensive O_o around 60€ for a 3cm bunny and 
B. because the tattoo artists said that white and pink design wouldn't work. The bunny would look more like a scar, than a tattoo. So I dropped it. I'm glad that I didn't get that bunny. I know that if I had gotten it, I would still love it, it's just that I don't think a white-pink rabbit on your boob would still look as nice when you are 40, as oppose to when you are in your early 20's.

The 'Labyrinth' design came back to me in late autumn, when I had returned to the UK. But again, I wasn't sure if that image was what I really wanted. I couldn't pinpoint a location for it because I really didn't want it to be seen. I know most people who get tattoos want others to see them. I'm more like 'If I'm wearing a lovely dress or a gown, a tattoo will probably ruin the entirety'. No matter how pretty or interesting the tattoo would be, I still think it would ruin any elegant outfit. Inner thigh has been my nr.1 location for a long time, but I reckon that's too sexy for the Labyrinth tattoo.

Again long story short, I finally designed my perfect tattoo and went to a tattoo parlour in Worcester. I had a chat with one of their artists and I was very surprised when he told me that my design wasn't going to work. I had drawn a resting bunny and behind him a lipstick stain sunglasses The artist told me to pick only one of them because together they wouldn't make as bigger statement as they would separately. It was hard for me to separate them because I wasn't sure if I wanted to have more tattoos or just this one. But in the end I made the right decision. Now I have been wondering where to place dat bunny...
Overall I am very glad that he encouraged me to choose only one of the characters. He was the professional and knew what would work and what wouldn't. So when you go to consult your artist, listen to them. I know you must have this image and idea of what the tattoo should look like, but if your artist is a professional, they will give you their honest opinion. You may feel that you shouldn't have to compromise your design/idea, but you wouldn't want to have a bad tattoo for life, right? 

I gave myself 3 weeks to prepare mentally (yeah the artist was surprised that I'd want to wait so long). It was truly a pretty spring day (yeah it was spring in the UK already) when the day came. I wasn't really thinking about the ordeal ahead. Though when I put my loose trousers on and left the flat, I was kinda grinning nervously and felt butterflies in my stomach. As I reached the parlour my friend was already waiting for me. Right then and there I started feeling scared. Of course she had to ask me if I was scared 'Yeah, a little'. 'I'm scared for you too' she said (random note: she got her first tattoo from the same place a year ago). That made me even more scared squint It wasn't like I was going to throw up or bolt, it was just excitement mixed with fear. We stepped in and were taken to this little room where the artist was preparing his equipments. I was soo happy that we didn't start straight away. His version of my design had gone missing so he was looking for it, like 10min or so. I was so relieved that I had time to calm my nerves and relax as much as I could. He found the little piece of drawing and once I had approved it, we were left to dedice the colour. I had told him before that I wanted it to be red and I quickly settled for a shade of red that was somewhere between Vermilion and Crimson.

By now we were ready to start. I dropped my trousers halfway down my legs and got onto the chair (must have been pretty cool for my friend to see my bum upset). The tattoo was going on to my left bum cheek/buttock. I asked the artist if he could like draw a little bit and then let me take break, to feel out the experience and junk. I was so so so nervous grin He began to fill in the outline and when he stopped I was like 'I can't feel a thing, please go on'. It was pretty much like that the whole 5-7min it lasted. The only time I like reacted was when he was outlining and the drawing like moved on to my buttock. That's when I said 'OW' and was like giggling at my friend. That was the only time it 'hurt' (I reckon plugging eyebrows hurts more than that brief moment of pain at the parlour). And then he was done. BANZAI! sunglasses I was so happy when I saw my very first tattoo in the mirror. The artist then binded my tattoo and told me to wash it gently with warm water in two hours and cover it with Bepanthen. I felt a little surreal when my friend and I stepped outside the parlour and left to have tea in a cafe.

This was my first tattoo, the experience. I have read my first impression stories on tattoos and asked my tattooed friends about their experinces, and most of them have said that getting a tattoo hurt. The reason why I didn't go for the inner thigh area was because research says that the areas that have bone or thin layer of skin, will hurt more than areas that have fat and muscle. I didn't know what kind of pain to expect, except that it would sting and burn. Again, I must sound like really geeky that I research how to get a tattoo, but knowledge is power to me and it guided me through my nervousness. I looked at like tattoo charts on the areas that would hurt less and bum/buttock was one of the areas that would barely hurt (plus it is very covered area). I didn't want my first tattoo to be an unnecessarily painful experience. And it wasn't  grin

As you can see, it wasn't like I had this philosophy on getting a tattoo and that that tattoo would have a big meaning and such. I play the sexy factor, my tattoo is only ment to be sexy. Like with the inner thigh, I'm looking out for sexy spots for my tattoos. I thought having a tattoo on my bum would be very sexy curly lips and you know what, it really is.
There is a picture of my tattoo on my personal Fbible account (if you intend to befriend me on Fbible, send me a message along the invite. I don't befriend strangers. Thank you).

Just a couple of advices for you guys who are thinking about getting a tattoo for the first time.
If possible get the tattoo before you take a break from work or you have a learning week or something. That way you'll have time to tend your tattoo and make sure it starts healing properly. I scheduled my appointment 3 weeks away 'cuz I knew I would have 4 days off from Uni around that time -> so my fresh tattoo could start its healing in peace.

Eat well before you go, it minimises your chances of fainting. It is a scary situation and even if you have wanted a tattoo forever, it's doesn't mean that you can't be scared. I brought a lollipop with me, incase my bloodsugar would drop and I'd need a little boost up. Remember to breath and if needed ask to have short breaks once in a while.

Tend to your tattoo, seriously. Apply Bepanthen as instructed and keep it covered if you are on the move (pfff I wore thongs the whole 4 days and only put pants on when I ventured to the kitchen). Air and water are the best antitode for your tattoo. If you wash your tattoo with warm water 2-3 times a day and apply Bepanthen afterwards you should not face any complication and your tattoo should heal in exactly 2 weeks. Tattoo is a wound after all.

 All I can say is that select the location for your tattoo carefully. I mean instep, tramp stamp (lower back), shoulder blades, legs and all bony/thin skin areas will hurt. However it's difficult to predict how your body and mind are going react to the needle. I have some full figured friends and they told me that tramp stamp was their most painful tattoo (even if there was fat there to cover that area). Just be aware that it will hurt. Afterwards try to get some rest and tend to your tattoo correctly. 

I hope my first impression was atleast a little helpful in case you are thinking about getting your first tattoo. And even if you already have tattoo/s I hope you enjoyed my little story grin
Any questions or comments, put them in the comment box below, thank you!
I will talk about my first piercing a little later. I got my navel pierced in September around 5 years ago, but again some people might need some in sight on what it's like to get one. Believe me that story is more amusing that this one because at that time I was scared to death.

See ya all later!


torstai 16. helmikuuta 2012

The truth behind animal abuse. Part one: Fur Farming.

Meanwhile in China.

Now isn't that a cute little picture. It's dead foxes and look, some asshole Lollywood star or your mother is going to be wearing them soon.

Isn't that nice?

Later that same China.

Oh look it's the skins of foxes and dogs and minks and bunnies and...other animals that have fur.

Isn't that nice?

Donna Karan, Autumn 2011.
 Oh look, it's models for Donna Karan. I wonder which animals they are wearing.

I took a tram to the city centre today. At some point I noticed that a fur collar was 'rubbing itself' right in my face. Suddenly I felt this awful rage build up inside of me and I wanted to punish that old woman, scream that she was a bloody murderer for wearing fur. Winter is tough all the fur accessories and trims I saw today, around 60% was real and 40% faux.

This entry will be tough for me. I had to research a subject that I loathe and want to cure the world from. Fur is murder, there is no denying it and the only way we could rid the world of animal murder for fashion's sake is when everyone stops demaning more fur. If nobody would buy fur, designers wouldn't be featuring fur designs and there wouldn't be fur shops. I have no idea what these old hags and rich-bitches (and occasional male rappers) are thinking when they buy fur. Do they think that wearing butchered animal's skin is cool and so beautiful? Is it a vanity thing? It must be because we really don't need fur to keep us warm for Christ's sake! We've got warm jackets that no animal suffered to make. If one won't wear one's dog, why would one wear fox? If one wouldn't butcher one's cat why would one have mink butchered for one? What difference is there between my pet and an innocent animal? They both have fur and still people are perfectly happy to have an animal unknown to be butchered so that they can wear its skin. Ever thought they could use the money more wisely than spend it on someone else's skin?

The reason I'm writing this entry is to spread awareness of what goes down in fur farms. It'll be as tough to read is it is for me to write. I know my friend's won't believe this, but I am a very sensitive person. This subject breaks my heart and I can't shake the metal images of those innocent animals suffering and dying in vain in farms. I'm not going to spare anybody's feelings because fur business is awful and reprehensible. By knowing how much these animals have to suffer for one fur coat means that you are achieving a new level of awareness and thus can began your journey as a sensible consumer. Hopefully after reading this entry you will be boycotting the designers I've listed here. The only way we can atleast decrease fur consumption is to stop buying stuff from stores and designers that feature fur items.

Bad Guys                                                          Good Guys
Chanel                                                                 Ann Taylor
Christian Dior                                                     Benetton
Christian Lacroix                                                Calvin Klein
Donna Karan                                                      Gant
Dolce&Gabbana                                                Guess
Versace                                                               Juicy Couture
Armani                                                                 Lacoste
Givenchy                                                             Ralph Lauren
Gucci                                                                   Robert Rodriguez 
Jean Paul Gaultier                                             Stella McCartney  
Hermes                                                               Tommy Hilfiger
Jill Sander
Karl Largefeld
Luis Vuitton 

You can imagine that the bad guys list goes on and on. Designers who don't use fur are
under a rock. Luckily such stores as Forever 21, Topshop, American Apparel and Lindex for example do not sell real fur. It is important that if you have the possibility and chance to look up which stores and designers don't sell real fur, go for it. I'm on the verge of deciding whether I even want to buy cosmetics from designers who feature fur products anymore. It's ironic that designers who don't test their ingredients or products on animals, say 'OK' to fur. I'm going to be talking about animal testing in Part Two.

It can't be more than little over a year when UK banned all fur farming for good. I was so happy to hear this and I wish all fur farming would be wipped out from Finland too. However...this brings up other nasty issues. 
As we all know, when someone wants to produce something that is illegal to do in EU or in USA, where do they go? They go to China obviously. It's comes as no surprise that fur is produced in China. Below is our ever so lovely Tim Gunn kiki giving a message for designers and consumers about the cruelty of fur farming. The video is heart breaking but I encourage you to watch it. 

There is really nothing more I can say what Mr. Gunn didn't already say on the video. But let me begin with rabbits because rabbit is my favourite animal in the whole wide world. After I visited PETA's "Donna Karan: Bunny Butcher" website I went a little bonkers. You can just imagine what my Fbible wall looked like after that. I signed atleast 5 petitions asking DK to stop using bunny fur in her coats and accessories. 'Tim Gunn himself asked DK personally to stop butchering bunnies. And for a little while she did, but last year, suprise, fur in her designs again. PETA has taken Karan under their thumb and are doing their best to make her stop butchering bunnies.
Have you ever heard a bunny scream in agony? I have.
It is common that rabbits are often skinned alive. As seen in the bunny butcher video the chinese butcher just carves the rabbits skin off, totally ignoring the bunny's screams. At some point they take their time to drain the rabbit's blood to keep the fur as clean as possible. The rabbit, if unlucky, is alive even after his or her skin has been carved off. Rabbit can live up to 10min before passing away, after he or she has lost his/her skin.
Another method the butcher uses is electrocution. With female rabbits the wired are squeezed through her vagina with males through his anus. The butcher literally fries the rabbit's entrails from inside. 
Much more traditional method I suppose is simply neck snapping. But for some reason the butchers are always eager to use one of the first two methdos to kill the rabbits. 
These methods aren't restricted to rabbits only. Other animals like minks are electrocuted by sticking the wires in their mouths. Foxes are just as well skinned alive as rabbits are.

Fox animals and dogs are beaten first before the butcher starts the skinning. They kick the animal in the head and stand on their neck to kill them before skinning. It's no surpirse that many of the animals are still alive and writhing whilst the butcher starts to skin them. Some animals even wake up while they are being skinned.

Other animals are poisoned with strychnine, which suffocates them by paralyzing their muscles with painful cramps.

But before the killing even begins the animals are locked up in small cages, left outside in the boiling sun and freezing nights without food or water in the hope that they'll simply die. Many animals go insane for the lack of space and the constant stress they are under. The frustration the animals go through often results in self-mutilation or cannibalization. With rabbits you can imagine that the mother rabbit's only job is to deliver as much babies as possible. The babies are born to become items. The animals live in filthy wired cages where they have no chance of pursuing their natural instincts. Parasites and disease run rampant on fur farms. The animals'  urine and feces burns their eyes and lungs making the animals' already miserable lives even more unbearable. Like I said before, in China animals have no rights. There are no federal humane slaughter laws to protects animals on fur farms

In China dogs and cats are stolen from their beloved owners to be sold to fur farms. Up to 20 cats or dogs are crammed in one cage and transported hundreds of kilometers to farms. The cages are then tossed onto the ground often breaking the legs of the animals inside of them. China is very good at bypassing EU and USA laws. Any fur from China is often mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to countries and then sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores. It's bad enough that people are wearing fur, but they will never know which animal's skin they are wearing. Lost your dog in China? You just might be wearing him.

Megan Park for PETA.

 In USA and Russia wild animals are caught with traps. This finding totally was the cherry on top of my cake of animal misery research. I had no idea traps are still used to capture animals. I thought that that was a thing in the past. But no, millions of raccoons, coyotes, beavers, otters, and other fur-bearing animals are killed every year for the clothing industry by trappers.
The steel-jaw trap is the most widely used. Luckily this awful device has been banned by the European Union (kudos for EU) and a growing number of U.S. states for example Arizona does not allow the use of steel-jaw traps on public lands. *When an animal steps on the spring of a steel-jaw trap, the trap's jaws slam shut on the animal's limb. The animal frantically struggles in excruciating pain as the trap cuts into his or her flesh, often down to the bone, mutilating the animal's foot or leg. Some animals, especially mothers who are desperate to get back to their young, attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limbs. This struggle may last for hours. Eventually, the animal succumbs to exhaustion and often exposure, frostbite, shock, or death. (*direct quote from PETA) I feel so awful for those mothers who want to get back to their babies, but instead they won't be seeing them ever again (I'm seriously crying here). 

Another cruel trap, the Conibear trap, crushes animals' necks, applying pressure. It takes animals three to eight minutes to suffocate in these traps. *Because predators mutilate many trapped animals before the trappers return, pole traps are often used. A pole trap is a form of steel-jaw trap that is set in a tree or on a pole. Animals caught in these traps are hoisted into the air and left to hang by the caught appendage until they die or the trapper arrives to kill them.
(*direct quote from PETA) Like with fur farm animals, the trappers stomp or strangle the animal to death.
Every year, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals, including endangered species, are crippled or killed by traps. In some states there are regulations on how often trappers must check their traps (apparently trapping animals is legal in the USA), but it can vary from 24 hours to one week.
Meaning that the animal will most often suffer in agony (and heartbreak, come on the animal misses his/her family) before he or she dies.

Remember it takes about 10 animals to make a trim and 30 animals to make a coat.

Sophie Ellisbextor for PETA.

It goes without saying that fur farming and any other production that brings harm to animals should be made illegal. I have no idea why fur farms etc haven't been banned already. UK has made a huge step forward and is making the country a little more humane. As I recall, Finland is looking to banish fur farming by 2025. (That's not good enough!). However this brings up other serious issues. In EU fur farming is monitored to some extend. So if all fur farming leaves EU and USA where do you think the producers go? You guessed it, to China. As I said before, China has no animal right laws whatsoever. if we can't ban fur forever, we should ban fur from China. Bring fur back to EU or USA where it could atleast be produced under somewhat-humane surveillance. But EU, USA and designers are too-goodie-two-shoes and let someone else do the dirty job for them. Some furriers even try to convince consumers that pelts are "eco-friendly." (Dear God!) Eighty-five percent of the fur industry's skins come from animals on fur factory farms. It doesn't take a genious to recall China's animal right- and enviromental laws...woops they haven't got any! *Waste from fur farms is poisoning USA waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency has also filed complaints against companies involved in fur production and transportation for illegally generating and disposing of hazardous waste from the processing of pelts. In Denmark, where more than 2 million minks are killed for their fur annually, more than 8,000 pounds of ammonia is released into the atmosphere each year.
Furs are loaded with chemicals to keep them from decomposing in the buyer's closet, and fur production pollutes the environment and gobbles up precious resources. Producing a fur coat from ranch-raised animals takes more than 15 times as much energy as does producing a faux-fur coat. (so this is basically just like what I talked about in my vegetarian entry. When one buys a fur item one is not only endorsing murder, but one is also polluting the enviroment, wasting precious resources and exposes oneself to toxic chemicals)
Fur is only "natural" when it's on the animal who was born with it. Once an animal has been slaughtered and skinned, his or her fur is treated with a soup of toxic chemicals to keep it from rotting. Various salts—along with ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and other chromates and bleaching agents—are used to preserve and dye fur. Furriers claim that the carcasses from animals skinned for their pelts are used for animal feed, but often they are simply dumped into landfills. (At any rate, many animals on fur farms are killed with injections of poison, which makes their flesh inedible.). (*Direct quote from PETA).

Like with any other stuff we may posses, it always comes with something else too. Plus can't exists without minus. Personally I have no idea who would want to endorse murder. I'd like to send all the designers who use fur in their designs to fur farms for a week to experience first hand what it's like to work there. Better yet, I'd like to ask all the butchers how they can kill innocent animals day after day and still go home to their families. It's like during the holocaust, how could the nazis kill all those people day after day and go home to their families afterwards?

By now you may have a vivid idea of what I am like as a person. You couldn't be further from the truth my dear reader. Just because I write an entry on fur farming, doesn't mean that I am an anarchist who goes around breaking into fur stores, throwing paint on old hags who wear fur and attact fur farms and release the animals. In Finland we don't have such a big animal rights organization like PETA so we don't have protests against fur farms etc. If there was a march/ public protest I would attend it, as much as I would march for gay rights and attend the slut walk. I believe that everyone, even animals have rights and that they should be made universal. I'm not trying to tick off China by saying that they have no animal rights. I hope to inspire people.

My actions to help animals are small but practical. I sign petitions against fur, animal testing and meat eating. I sign letters that ask designers and consumers to stop buying fur. I don't buy fur products or from retails that sell fur. I don't buy products which ingredients or finished products have been tested on animals. I try to spread awareness of the cruelty of animal testing and fur farming by writing a blog and talking to my friends in person or on Fbible.

It's small things like these that finally make the stand. If we all said no to fur, there would be no need for fur farms or trappers. In the end it's us, consumers, that have the final say.

I hope you found this entry informative and hopefully you'll sign PETA's bunny butcher letter and pledge to be fur-free ->
For more information on fur farming and how to be fur-free go to for more information.

Charlotte Ross for PETA
I'd much rather show my buns, than wear fur. How about you?

See ya next time!


Chester Bennington for PETA.

I have ink, not mink.

Poster by Ilse Vandecappella, Belgium

Vogue, Italia.