A tingling sensation on the skin.

Hello, who are you?
My name is Salla Järvinen, and I am a painter from Helsinki.

Where did you study? Was it a nurturing experience for you?
I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. And yes, I feel really grateful towards the school. We had great teachers, ample space and resources. Working periods were totally flexible -some people would work throughout the night- and rules were few. Artists could follow their inspiration freely.

What are your pursuits, artistically?
At first I was interested in sculpture (plastic, ceramics) and then I concentrated on painting. I’ve always been motivated by color. I have tried different techniques through the years, but I feel I can get the most out of the light (sheen and brightness) through oils. I use them in my own way, employing many transparent layers to bring out light at its maximum power.

And thematically, I’ve shifted between nature and what I call inner landscapes, or color-scapes. I first began with explorations in color from inspiration. Then, while living and working in Greece, I began focusing on existing landscapes and using them as gateways to find colors and forms which exist in my inner world.

Is it a form of transition from impressionism to abstractionism? A simplification, perhaps?
No, I wouldn’t say that. Perhaps it’s more of an amplification. I use landscapes as a starting point, a means for my color-scapes to break through. I also don’t want to run in circles after my own fixed set of colors, so I take hints from real landscapes, I let them guide me and energize me.

Obviously you care a lot about light and color. Having mentioned Greece, with its mountains, the Mediterranean, and all the light you can possibly want, how do you survive creatively the dark, cold months in Finland?
I travel as often as I can (laughs). The south of Spain, Italy, Greece, Thailand, India…

Do you find it easy to express yourself in Finland, or do you ever feel the need to go abroad in order to get “permission” for your art to come out?
The culture here can feel a bit cold sometimes, so yes, going abroad in search of warmth (both in terms of weather and human interaction) revitalizes my work.

Any particular artists or movements you feel drawn to?
Hugo Simberg for his powerful symbolism… Edvard Munch for his amazing use of color to express emotions. William Turner for his landscapes, beautiful skies and empty spaces, so expressive. And as for movements, I would say probably the Impressionists. But as I said, I don’t particularly feel obliged to recreate images faithfully. I take landscapes as launching platforms for my own personal explorations.

Speaking about the properties of light, many artists spend considerable amounts of effort observing and trying to pinpoint the energy, the vibration of light on surfaces in varying conditions. Are you on a similar quest?
Definitely not, since a cold study of light does not interest me. My approach is more… feminine. My goal is to work with matter and transform it, somehow; to try to create a sort of transparency that lets the air and the spaces emit their energy through color.

What sort of effect are you trying to elicit in your viewers?
Positive feelings, certainly, and very little intellectual response. A tingling sensation on the skin, if I can manage it. To get viewers to detach themselves from literal thought for a while, and merge with the colors. That’s how I feel the paintings myself.

Where can we see more of your work?
My website is under construction at this very moment, but Taidelainaamo has some of my work, which can be borrowed (if you live in Finland) and purchased.