How did you decide to become a drawer / cartoonist?
As a kid my relatives, friends and teachers gave me positive feedback about my drawings so I guess I felt that drawing was something I was good at and kept on practising. French and Belgian comics published in Ruutu and Non Stop comic magazines in 1970’s and 80’s gave me an idea that maybe I could do something like that too when I’m grown up.
Was it a difficult choice to make? Why?
No, it was easy - in a way it was my only choice. Drawing and comics has been the things I’ve been the most interested in so it came quite natural for me that my only hobby became my profession.
Did you go to a school for drawers or cartoonists?
I’ve got my diploma from University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki. It’s not actually a school for cartoonists but I learned some new techniques there and made contacts with people with approximately same interests. The school also gave a status of graphic designer which raised my self confidence and helped a lot in starting the career.
How do people consider comic strip in Finland?
I think for most of the people comic strip is still only harmless fun or something that is made for kids. However, cultural institutions and people that are interested in art in general consider comics as an art form among the others and that’s a good thing because it helps cartoonists and comic artist to get their share of grants, for example.
What comic strip/artists did have a major influence on your work?
As a kid I was strongly influenced by André Franquin’s and oher artists’work published in Non Stop comic magazine, as well as Pierre Christin’s and Jean-Claude Meziérès’ Valerian et Laureline stories. Of course, later on there’s been several other comics and artists.
Do you still read comic strip? Which one?
I mostly read the Donald Duck magazine I’ve subscribed to my kids (who can’t read yet) and newspaper strips published in Helsingin Sanomat. I’m a familyman… Well, I just bought some new books by various Finnish artists but haven’t had to read them yet.
How could you present your work to our readers?
Quiet, slightly sad stories with a try for a bit of humor…
Has your work been translated yet?
Some of my works has been translated in Swedish, English, French, German… A Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly has published my book “The Fall of Homunculus” and also some other works in their anthology. L’Association published couple of my works in their Lapin anthology some years ago.
What are your current and future projects?
I’m just beginning a book illustration project and some comic book projects will fill up the rest of the year.
Do you think that internet is the future medim for comic strip?
I hope not… I don’t like to read comics on screen. Maybe the electric paper will be a better solution?
Do you still work with a pencil and a paper or have you replaced them by a computer?
I work with pencil and paper but I usually do the colouring by computer.
What is your favorite movie?
I’ve used to answer Ermanno Olmi’s “Il Posto”, although I’ve seen it only on TV years ago and can’t really recall it very well anymore. I liked the atmosphere in that movie.
What is your favorite comic strip?
I can’t mention just one strip… I’ve liked almost all what a Norwegian artist Jason has done lately.
What is your most precious object?
Maybe it’s my dad’s 45 years old Omega automatic watch. I got it fixed and now it works fine.
What is your favorite bar/restaurant?
I don’t even know the new bars in town!… I don’t visit restaurants and bars too often anymore so I don’t have any favorites. Some years ago I used to pop in an Irish pub near my former studio on my way home… It was just by the bus stop so it was quite handy.