Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Day of the Dead...in Kokkola? - Kuolleiden päivä ... Kokkolassa?


Howdy. This is playwright Bryan Stubbles. Finally, my first blog entry from the interesting, yet relatively quiet town of Kokkola. I’ve spent my time exploring Kokkola, writing a lot, learning Finnish, making friends here and figuring out which supermarket is the cheapest. 


Terve. Olen näytelmäkirjailija Bryan Stubbles. Viimeinkin, ensimmäinen blogikirjoitukseni mielenkiintoisesta, mutta suhteellisen hiljaisesta kaupungista, Kokkolasta. Olen kuluttanut aikaani tutkimalla Kokkolaa, kirjoittaen paljon, opiskellen suomea, ystävystyen ja ottaen selville mikä supermarketti on halvin.



I was told to write this blog whenever I felt like it. Last week gave me something odd enough to write about. Well, odder than everyone assuming I’m Swedish when I try to speak Finnish. 


Minua pyydettiin kirjoittamaan blogia aina kun siltä tuntuu. Viime viikolla koin niin oudon tapahtuman, että siitä piti kirjoittaa. Kuitenkin oudompaa kuin se, että kaikki olettavat minun olevan ruotsalainen, kun yritän puhua suomea. 




I was meeting a friend at Café Stiina - when I arrived, three women were chatting with the owner. 


They wore costumes and make-up. My first thought was that the women were going to a Halloween party. Finland seems to have absorbed some superficial Halloween traits from the US.


Tapasin ystäväni Café Stiinassa – kun saavuin paikalle, kolme naista jutteli kahvilan omistajan kanssa. 

Heillä oli puvut ja he olivat meikattuja. Ensimmäinen ajatukseni oli, että naiset ovat menossa Halloween-juhlaan. Suomalaiset ovat näköjään omaksuneet joitakin pinnallisia Halloween-piirteitä Yhdysvalloista. 

I found the following in Kokkola: 
Löysin seuraavia asioita Kokkolasta: 

Nothing says "Halloween" more than Halloween-themed chicken nuggets.
Mikään ei ole niin "Halloween" niin kuin Halloween-teemaiset kananugetit.



Or Jack O'Lantern fries. 
Tai kurpitsalyhdyn muotoiset pakasteperunat.


Kids' stockings? 
Lasten sukkia?
Satanic Fanta, Kokkola-style.
Saatanallista Fantaa, Kokkolan malliin.


Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’ve even written plays about it. And blog posts on my own blog

The women were speaking English with the owner, so I thought they might be foreigners. I told them their make-up and costumes looked really nice. They said they were doing a presentation at the local library about Day of the Dead. This is a Mexican holiday that lasts from October 31st to November 2nd and can be found in the US, as well.


Halloween on juhlapäivistä suosikkini. Olen kirjoittanut jopa näytelmiä siitä. Ja blogikirjoituksia omaan blogiini.

Naiset puhuivat englantia omistajan kanssa, joten ajattelin että he ovat ehkä ulkomaalaisia. Kerroin heille, että heidän meikkauksensa ja asunsa olivat tosi hienoja. He kertoivat esiintyvänsä paikallisessa kirjastossa aiheesta kuolleiden päivä (Day of the Dead). Se on Meksikolainen juhla, joka kestää lokakuun 31:stä marraskuun 2:een ja sitä juhlitaan myös Yhdysvalloissa.


The following is taken from a website devoted to the holiday:


Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a two day holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (Offerings) to honor their departed family members that have passed. These altars are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favorite foods and drinks of the one being honored. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations!


Seuraava teksti on lainattu nettisivulta, joka on omistautunut em. juhlaan

Kuolleiden päivä (Dia De Los Muertos) on kaksipäiväinen juhla, joka yhdistää uudelleen elävät ja kuolleet. Perheet tekevät uhrilahjoja (ofrendas) kunnioittamaan edesmenneitä perheenjäseniään. Alttarit koristellaan kirkkaan keltaisin kehäkukin, edesmenneiden valokuvin sekä muistettavien henkilöiden lempiruoin ja -juomin. Uhrilahjojen uskotaan rohkaisevan edesmenneitä vierailemaan kuolleiden maasta, koska he kuulevat rukoukset, haistavat ruokien tuoksut ja siten saavat heidät liittymään juhlintaan.  


Don't ever call it "Mexican Halloween." Like. Ever. Though more and more, it is influencing Halloween.

The main woman I spoke with sported Catrina makeup.


Älä ikinä kutsu sitä "Meksikolaiseksi halloweeniksi". Koskaan, vaikka se yhä enemmässä määrin vaikuttaa Halloweeniin

Keskeisellä hahmolla, jonka kanssa juttelin, oli Catrina-meikki. 




Variations of the Catrina makeup done by, modeled by and photographed by the great Jennifer West.
Muunnelmia Catrina-meikistä. Kaikki Jennifer Westin tekemiä ja kuvaamia. 



Catrina makeup is in imitation of a political cartoon from 1913. The point of the cartoon was that no matter how much well-to-do Mexicans copied European ways, death takes us all. 


Catrina-meikki imitoi poliittista pilakuvaa vuodelta 1913. Pilakuvan idea oli, että vaikka varakkaat meksikolaiset kopioivatkin eurooppalaisia tapoja, kuolema kohtaa meidät kaikki.  


The face that launched 1,000 Day of the Dead makeup ideas.
Kasvot, jotka käynnistivät tuhat kuolleiden päivä meikki-ideaa

I said “Día de los muertos” in Spanish. She seemed happy I knew the Spanish name of the holiday. Maybe I should've told her I knew the other name, too.


Sanoin hänelle “Día de los muertos”, espanjaksi. Hän oli tyytyväinen, että tunsin juhlan espanjankielisen nimen. Ehkä minun olisi pitänyt kertoa hänelle, että tunnen sen toisen nimenkin


You can imagine Kokkola, Finland is one of the last places I’d expect to see anything Day of the Dead-ish. 


Voit kuvitella, että Kokkola, Suomessa, olisi viimeisiä paikkoja, joissa odotin näkeväni jotakin Day of the Dead -juhlaan liittyvää. 


They do have pretty badass cemeteries here.
Täällä on sairaan kovia hautausmaita.



I remember the café owner saying something about prefering to celebrate the living.

The second woman had the regular "sugar skull" makeup on.

Muistan kahvilanomistajan sanoneen, että hän suosii elävien juhlimista.  

Toisella naisella oli tavallinen sokerikallo-meikki. 

Sugar skulls. Sokerikalloja.

Sugar skull makeup, made and photographed by Jennifer West and modeled by Tennille Benally and Brian March. 
Jennifer Westin tekemät ja kuvaamat sokerikallot. Malleina Tennille Benally ja Brian March.


Wait, what? "Halloween" masks at a shop here. Do we tell them? 
Hetkinen, mitä? "Halloween" -naamareita paikallisessa kaupassa. Kerrotaanko heille? 

The third woman had a very Halloweenized witch outfit on. I couldn’t tell where they were from, but they weren’t native English speakers. I wanted to ask if I could take their picture, but wussed out. 


We all said goodbye. I threw in “Hasta luego” and the Catrina woman seemed surprised and answered back with that. 


Kolmannella naisella oli Halloween-tyylinen noita-asuste. En saanut selville mistä he olivat, mutta englanti ei ollut heidän äidinkielensä. Ajattelin kysyä saanko ottaa heistä kuvan, mutten uskaltanut. 

Sanoimme näkemiin. Heitin sekaan “Hasta luego” ja Catrina-nainen näytti yllättyneeltä ja vastasi samoin sanoin. 


Later my American friend arrived. I told her about the Day of the Dead women. We decided to go to the library to see their presentation. (From our conversation, my understanding was they were headed to the presentation straightaway) We looked all around the library. Saw nothing. Asked the workers there. They hadn't heard anything about it. Women walking around dressed up for Day of the Dead would kinda stand out in Kokkola's library.


Myöhemmin, amerikkalainen ystäväni tuli paikalle. Kerroin hänelle kuolleiden päivä -naisista. Päätimme mennä kirjastoon katsomaan heidän esitystään. (Keskustelumme pohjalta, ymmärsin, että he menvät esiintymään saman tien.) Etsimme koko kirjastosta, muttemme nähneet mitään. Kysyin kirjaston työntekijöiltä. He eivät olleet kuulleet asiasta mitään. Luulisi naisten, jotka ovat pukeutuneet kuolleiden päivän asusteisiin, erottautuvan Kokkolan kirjastossa. 


My friend and I returned to the coffee shop. The owner confirmed that they had indeed said they were off to the library. The owner wasn’t sure where they were from, but thought at least one was Swedish. 


Maybe I misunderstood something. I don’t think they would play a “trick” - BTW the Halloween refrain “trick or treat?” refers to the older Halloween custom of playing tricks on people during Halloween, especially if they were miserly and didn’t give you any treats. 


Palasimme kahvilaan. Kahvilanomistaja vahvisti, että naiset olivat puhuneet menevänsä kirjastoon. Omistaja ei tiennyt mistä naiset olilvat kotoisin, mutta luuli, että ainakin yksi oli ruotsalainen. 

Ehkä käsitin jotakin väärin. En usko heidän keppostelleen kanssani. Muuten, halloweeniin liittyvä hokema "karkki vai kepponen?" (trick or treat?) viittaa vanhempaan perinteeseen, jossa Halloweenin aikaan tehtiin kepposia ihmisille, etenkin, jos he olivat pihejä eivätkä antaneet karkkeja. 


Maybe they did play a trick on me and simply didn’t want some American guy bugging them.

My mind went over the possibilities of some foreign ladies celebrating Day of the Dead in Kokkola who ominously...disappear into the night. I've already started writing the play.


Ehkä he tekivät minulle kepposen eivätkä vain halunneet jonkun amerikkalaisen häiritsevän heitä. 

Aloin mielessäni kuvitella ulkomaalaisia naisia viettämässä kuolleiden päivää Kokkolassa, jotka pahaenteisesti … katoavat yöhön. Olen jo aloittanut näytelmän kirjoittamisen.




Monday, August 5, 2019

Two weeks in at the Drake Arts Center Residency

This is Justin Serulneck.  I am based out of Los Angeles.  My time in Kokkola has been invigorating and inspirational.  For the last two weeks, I had been working on diagrams while thinking about Martha Rosler's work as well as the nature of diagrammatic artworks.  I produced several digital artworks during the residency using this precious time to focus and concentrate.

The cottage the residency provides is spacious and well equipped with desks and tables and a place to cook.

I've been thinking about the nature of introspection, artistic solitude, and what it means to produce site-specific work as someone from the exterior.

Life seems calmer here than in America and people do not seem rushed.  I've been interested in seeing how people who live here think about their daily life and how they spend their time.

The daylight at midnight has been amazing as the city and buildings remain illuminated by the sky far after sunset.  Kokkola is a wonderful place from which to produce artwork.





Monday, May 27, 2019

Leaving




It's our last day in Kokkola and we pack our bags and clean up the cottage.
It's the last day we can enjoy the sea and the silence of the wood before we return to the noisy city in southern Germany.
I also clean up the studio and think it's so sad that I am one of the last artists to work here. The AIR program is closed for the next season and it's uncertain what happens here in future. I hope the Drake Arts Centre is able to find  a new partner.

Good bye Kokkola, it was a nice time to stay!

If you are interested to follow my work you can visit my website www.meike-lohmann.com and follow me on instagram https://www.instagram.com/meikelohmann/



  

Saturday, May 25, 2019

white nights

Studiotime
work on paper



The last week has come and we will leave Kokkola soon. The time of the white nights have begun and we are witnessing endless days that don't want to end. There is just a very short time of darkness. The lighting mood is significantly different than in my home country but I enjoy it.

While I'm working on my painting, my partner is making an augmented reality project. I've just uploaded a videostill but you should check out this work by Tobias Ziegler at his instagram account https://www.instagram.com/dasbomm/
This Adobetool ist absolutely incredible and I can't get enough.


Adobe project aero






















Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hike and work

a part of the forrest
Lichen
 Lichen

We are now in our third week at Kokkola. Fortunately, it got warmer and we also used the nice weather to do a little hike.
We have discovered a small lake on the map and have laid a route through a fairytale forest.

Striking for me was the strong spread of ice blue lichen on the forest floor, a slow growing plant that covered a large area.
It looked so beautiful that we stayed here really long until we went to the lake.
It has rained so much the last few days our path was very muddy and our feet were pretty wet at some point.
(Maybe we just started a little bit naive and you should always pay attention on good shoes).

the sea at Kokkola

Finally we reached the lake and a few distance ahead the sea.

Slowly it is a pity that we are not very mobile. Although there is a bike but you can not really drive long distances. And I would like to drive to one of the other cities and the public transport is not very well equipped and very expensive.

A painting of the forest - Crayon and Aquacolor on paper
Studioview


Nevertheless I found a lot of inspiration and I love the forest. I had a good week at the studio and painted a lot.












Friday, May 17, 2019

Impressions

Two women, crayon/ aquacolors on paper
Time and memory are central aspects of my work. Memories are a jumble and never completely clear; they are subjective and solitary impressions. Memories travel with us throughout our lives, telling us stories about desire, doom, and prospective.






I was very curious what Finland can offer me on this subject and, in fact, I came across an old ethmythological book right at the beginning.
I found some interesting pictures of people who also gave me an impression of folkloristic clothing.


wooden house, crayon and aquacolors on paper





As so often, I also took a lot of pictures myself and started some small paperworks. I've experimented a lot with watercolors but also used crayons and vinyl paint.

The result is a very light and airy work with which I am quite satisfied.








Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hello Europe

Soon will be elections in Europe.
I’ve already voted before my departure because I am not only German but also European. Europe is great and I enjoy being able to travel to Finland without borders to discover this beautiful country.

What I noticed soon is how relaxed Finns drive car.
Germany could learn a lot. Great are the bike paths resp the walkways are so wide that it’s comfortable and safe to drive there. In addition, the Finns drive unbelievably relaxed car. While the Germans drive often enough w
ith their armored cars over red lights, the Finns think for a pedestrian even if there is no crosswalk. 



I've already done some small artworks and will report a little bit about it next time.



Monday, May 13, 2019

At the studio

Studioview Nordic Art Centre
After some days I feel now very comfortable with my new studioplace and even painted much more than I thought.
An Artist in Residence is always a great chance to turn old proven things upside down. Mostly you have to restrict yourself in the material and can not take everything with you or buy locally. Just the transport limits what you can do.
I decided to work on paper and took colors with me I never used so much before: Watercolor paints and crayons, but also some vinylcolors and tiny acrylics.


Eggtempera








Usually I'm used to make my colors on my own with pigments and I even embroider the canvas.
I've taken some embroidery threads with me but I'm not sure if I will use it here.












Embroidery                                                        

Breaking your routine is a precious experience to focus on the essential of your art. It gives you the chance to deepen your art and find new ways to tell what you want.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Meike Lohmann - New month new artist

Ocean
The sea

Hi,

I'm Meike Lohmann and I'm taking residence with my family at the Drake Arts Centre. I'm a painter from Germany.

The first few days we used to explore our new residental area.
It's unusual cold and we are happy to catch some sunbeams today.


                                                                        
Nordic Art School
Nordic Art School


Today I went to my temporary studio at the Nordic Art School.

This incredible beautiful building houses an art school for children and adolescents. Unfortunately it has shut down but I have the permission to use a room as a studio.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Joel Slotte: Pääsiäinen


Residenssijakson kolmas viikko on lopuillaan pääsiäisen kynnyksellä. Tein lyhyen syrjähypyn Helsinkiin alkuviikosta. Piti käydä erääseen näyttelyyn liittyvässä tapaamisessa ja päättää esitettävistä teoksista. Tapaaminen meni hyvin ja loput päivästä tein kotonani toimistotöitä.

Palattuani tiistaina päivän mittaiselta reissultani menin suoraan työhuoneelleni Pormestarinkadulle maalaamaan. Ensimmäinen maalaus oli jo käytännössä valmis, mutta lisäsin siihen muutamia yksityiskohtia. Olin alun perin suunnitellut maalaavani maalauksen hahmolle otsalle nostetut valkosankaiset aurinkolasit, mutta päätin jättää ajatuksen hautumaan ja ratkaista sen myöhemmin. Siirsin maalauksen lattialle nojaamaan seinää vasten ja keskityin toisen maalauksen jatkamiseen: farkkutakkiin pukeutuneeseen hahmoon, joka tuijottaa melkein katsojaa, vain vähän ohi.

Maalaamisen lisäksi olen tutustunut uudestaan Kokkolaan kävelemällä. Olen pysähtynyt katselemaan teollisuusalueiden myymälöitä, kirpputoreja, lounaskahviloita, omakotitalojen pihoja ja niillä kasvavia jäkäläkuorrutteisia mutta muuten alastomia omenapuita, kerrostalojen pihoja ja betoniastioihin istutettua kanervaa, pihakeinuja, lumen alta paljastuneelle kuivalle nurmikolle aseteltuja muovisia puutarhatuoleja joiden alla on lasipurkki tupakantumpeille, Neristanissa pulua saalistavaa varpushaukkaa, Harrbådan majakkaa, hilseilevää maalia ja Draken residenssin pihalla kulkevia mustavalkoisia kissoja. Olen kuin pesusieni; kaikki nämä vaikutteet imeytyvät minuun ja psyykeni alkaa suodattaa niitä hitaasti ja pikkuhiljaa alan muodostaa suodattuneista ajatuksista kuvia. Kävelyretki Kokkolassa on runsaudensarvi havainnoille.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Joel Slotte: ensimmäinen viikko

Olen kokkolalaislähtöinen, nyttemmin helsinkiläistynyt kuvataiteilija. Työskentelen pääasiallisesti öljymaalauksen, piirustuksen ja keramiikan keinoin. Olen Drake Arts Centren residenssitaiteilija huhtikuun ajan.

Ensimmäinen viikko Draken residenssissä on jo takana. Jostakin selittämättömästä syystä kuvittelin, että aika kuluisi Kokkolassa hitaammin ja että sitä olisi kaikin tavoin vain enemmän, niinkuin mielikuvissani ajoilta kun vielä asuin täällä. Ensimmäiset päivät menivät lähinnä residenssin ja työhuoneen avainten noutamiseen, ruokaostoksiin, siivoiluun ja työvälineiden purkamiseen ja järjestelemiseen Pormestarinkadun työhuoneella. Tiistai-illan vietin tyhjän, valkoisen kankaan kanssa uudella työhuoneella ja lähdin residenssille nukkumaan luonnosteltuani kankaalle muotokuvan, jossa omia piirteitäni sekoittuu tuttujen ja keksittyjen ihmisten piirteisiin eräänlaisen oivalluksen kynnyksellä olevaksi hahmoksi.

Olen itsekin ollut tämän viikon jatkuvan oivaltamisen tunteen äärellä. Haen kai synnyinkaupunkiini uudenlaista suhdetta, sillä kaupunki on muuttunut poissaoloni aikana niin paljon, että on korkea aika tutustua toisiimme uudestaan.

Keskiviikkona aloitin uuden öljymaalauksen työstämisen ja uppouduin koko päiväksi työhön. Torstaina jatkoin maalausta kunnes oli aika käydä Lasten ja nuorten kuvataidekoulun kevätnäyttelyn avajaisissa. Olen itsekin käynyt kuvista 7-vuotiaasta 18-vuotiaaksi ja saanut sieltä paljon kannustusta ja tärkeää oppia tulevaa ammattiani varten, joten oli ilo nähdä niin monen nuoren tekijän hienoja teoksia esillä kauniissa koulurakennuksessa.

Perjantain vietin jälleen työhuoneella maalaten. Hahmo sai mustan t-paidan ja maastokuvioisen liivin ylleen. Illalla vanhempani veivät minut maistelemaan viinejä Olivetteen. Kolmen viinin tasting-setti oli hyvin kuratoitu ja seura erinomaista!

Tänään lauantaina pesin kertynyttä pyykkiä, kävin pizzalla Yksipihlajassa ja korjasin muutamia itseäni häirinneitä kohtia maalauksessa. Onneksi öljymaali kuivuu (ehkä ilmaston eroista johtuen) hitaammin Kokkolassa kuin Helsingissä, joten korjaukset oli armollista toteuttaa.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tatjana Bladt-Cohen. Manifestations.

My time in this wonderful snowy bubble is drawing to a close, and I already know I will miss the beautiful calm and the quiet this space has granted me. With this I have been able to focus in on my work, thanks to the lack of distractions, and also the impossibility of comparing myself to others. While it has been sometimes quite confronting, these weeks have allowed me to become self reliant in this respect and be more confident in the artistic choices I have made whilst here.

I began with many grand ideas, but gradually narrowed them down to the concept of manifestations being my main project whilst I’ve been here. The concept is that by naming a thing, it brings it into being. This originates from many different stories in the past, one of which was the custom in Northern European countries of calling bears ‘brown things’, for fear that naming them would magically summon them to the village and cause destruction.

Then, I overlapped this idea with Finnish folklore of the vedenemo, and will-o-wisps and Näkki etc, and local and personal family history in a series of paintings. The paintings also bring in other layers such as story vs religion, child vs adult imagination, but my overall intention is to create a piece which anyone can connect to and perhaps then use it to contribute to the tradition of story telling.

On my return to Amsterdam I will continue this series, as I am sure there are many wonderous creatures yet to be captured by word, image and brush. And of course taking the Finnish strength with me.


The lovely view from my desk


‘Brown thing’


End of day

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tatjana Bladt-Cohen. Fairy tales, ponderings and more snow.

Working alone in a big building like the Nordic Art School is a funny thing. Despite being free to choose where I work, having the space to work on a massive scale if I so wished, I find myself in the busiest room, working on the smallest paper I have. With a big table filled with delightful plants on one side, easels and chairs on the other, I have placed my desk comfortably in the middle, looking out at the snow gently falling from the opaque sky. The silence of the school, the neighbourhood and my walks in the area has been so different from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, and yet has been very much welcome. This past week I put pen and brush to paper, pulling together stories of my musical great grandmother, tales of Vedenemo (the ‘mother of waters’) and imagery from this beautiful place.

Weekend walk in the brief sunshine
 

 

In the Studio


Prep and planning is key...


Getting started!

 


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tatjana Bladt-Cohen. The beautiful snow effect.

It has been a week.

Already.

A week of snow and seemingly perpetual white skies. Seven days of cold fingers scrunched up in mittens, treading carefully (in my fairly-old, barely-used, now much appreciated fur-lined boots) along icey paths scattered intermittently with gravel to aid pedestrians, but which then freezes again in a rather counter-productive manner, resulting in near collisions between my backside and sidewalks of death as I explored this lovely little town of Kokkola.

My name is Tatjana Bladt-Cohen, and I am a multi-faceted visual artist and writer drawing from a multi-faceted background. Before I arrived as the January ‘Artist-in-Residence’ here at the Drake Arts Centre, I was ambitious. I had enjoyed a lovely Christmas break in the sun in France, and I was ready to start the year running. I had so many ways in my mind that I wanted to connect this small town to the migration of the last 3 generations of my family, to the stories that have been written and those that I wanted to write, and to the beautiful landscapes of snow and isolation.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how this town, the light, the atmosphere, the weather would affect my thoughts and processes. I quickly became aware that approaching my time here ‘running’ was not going to work... Since this realisation it has been interesting to see how my ideas have changed and yet remained constant through this past week. The snow just makes everything quiet. The low light and early sunsets make the days so much shorter and the ice makes (the inexperienced) travel at a slower pace.

And yet. Because of all this, you become more aware. More aware of the fresh snow. More aware of the pink in the sky at 15:00, the darkness at 16:00, and the ice hanging from white branches sparkling in the lamplight at 17:00. And more aware that it is okay to take your time, both mentally and physically, in this special place, because there is magic hiding in plain sight.

Entrance for the Few

The Naked Chill

Frozen in Time.

Tendrils

——————————————-

My time here was aided by the fantastic STEP travel grant from the ECF and CdSP.