Jussi Valtakari (FI)
Jussi Valtakari started forming his artistic expression and interest in wood carving from the age of four, making his first toys and figures. Today, this has developed into making fiction portraits. Carving figures out of wood is building on a long standing tradition from ancient times and connects the works of Valtakari with this classic tradition. The figures are often based on his observations of local people, he also gathers images from different forms of media. Valtakari carves from memory and makes a kind of diagnosis of our time in scale models from past and present. At the same time it is almost as if the sculptures observe you, if you look closely they look back at you.
about Jussi Valtakari (by GHA )
Jussi Valtakari has many strings to his bow. He is a sculptor and carves wooden figures but is also a painter, street artist, and performance artist.
He says that because the wooden figures are small and doll-like they have to be approached by standing close to them. They are incredibly rich in detail, and if one look close enough the figures seems to be looking back. There is a historical touch to the figures, yet they are very modern and innovative. Valtakari notes that wood has history in itself, and that just like people wood has roots. He has carved them by using hand tools, a technique he was taught when he was a child by his father. Some of the figures have been coloured with casein tempera, a way of painting that was used in ancient Egypt.
“Cherry”, one of the figures has graffiti in the form of poems on her dress. Valtakari created the poems by randomly taking words from baking books and technical car magazines. The figures are very distinct, each one looks as it has its own strong character. Valtakari tells that they are fictional portraits but that since he has a good memory the figures include personality traits from people he have met.
It should be added that Valtakari is a street artist, and at the places he visits he will sometimes leave wooden objects. Maybe you can find some of his works around Berlin, take a good look!.