Artist Interviews

Q&A with Vesa Kivinen

Experimental artist Vesa Kivinen pioneered 'Artevo': a new form of art combining body painting, oil on canvas and nature photography. We caught up with the artist just after his most recent exhibit at the Biohacker Summit in London, quizzing him about upcoming projects and the inspiration behind his works...

By Teddy Hall | 24 May 2016

Vesa Kivinen is an experimental contemporary artist who combines several disciplines to create large-scale abstract artworks. He is nspired by the human condition, using philosophy, science and art therapy to inform his intriguing projects. We caught up with the artist just after his exhibition at the Biohacker Summit in London, getting a glimpse at his expansive career as an artist thus far...

Vesa's 'Take me to California' project on exhibit

When and how did you fall into the world of art?

I started banging on pots and pans as a five-year-old driving my parents nuts. This urge to create and mix things up was there as far back as I can remember, but the tools and techniques I was using to do it kept changing. I’m involved in film and photography separately as well as what I do with a combination of them, and a good representation of this connection is a film I made called LUX: A Culture of Radiance.

Where did the idea for Artevo come from?

This process of mixing things up came to a crux when I began to experiment by combining various artistic disciplines in a way that I hadn’t seen done before. This seemingly complicated combination soon solidified into a repeatable method, which still left enough breathing space to explore it fresh each time. The process needed a name, so I devised a portmanteau word combining art and evolution. It might be a bit Captain Obvious to some but it describes it perfectly.

Vesa's model Veena Malik presenting the works on BBC World's Impact Show

When did you first try body painting and how did you discover it?

After being mostly involved in moving image and photography for 8 years, I came to realise my purpose in life was to facilitate and explore transformational moments. I came across NLP as a way of moving on from some painful events in my life, and discovered that there was a science behind it that could be utilized in art. Experimenting with my earlier art photography by oil painting alongside some photographs of an English forest from 2008, I was able to achieve something new. The Share series that’s available on Rise Art uses this method. Bodypainting was the last missing piece of the puzzle, and luckily a woman named Sofia was crazy enough to take a shot at it with me.

Leif Segerstam collaboration at the Finlandia House

Is there a consistent message or theme that you’re exploring through your art?

Nothing is ever really gained or lost. Life is a constant process of transformation and nothing is missing even if we can’t always perceive it. I am constantly striving to know who I really am, and in pursuit of discovering my real interests above the expectations of other people. This way my authentic visions can become a reality to be shared, instead of a repetition of something someone else already did. It is about the question: “how can I add real value, not only to my experience, but to the lives of other people?”

Who are your 3 main influences?

This leaves out people in music, healing arts, film, social dynamics and science but I suppose I could say my family as one entity would be one. In truth there are so many because research / resourcing is one of my favourite things to do. The work of Dr John Demartini has influenced me a lot lately, helping me to see the balance in things. The philosopher Alan Watts is there as well as Dali in terms of visual expression. Both were very inspired people whose flaws were well documented as well as their triumphs. Knowing about their flaws levels out the playing field. They helped me realise I could also achieve what I wanted to express despite being a human being.


Work in progress: Vesa in the studio photographing a painted model

Any advice for young, emerging artists?

If your art does not yet have power; you need to discover your source of it whatever it takes. In your heart you know what is right for you so be courageous and follow it instead of settling for an illusion of safety. Find your balance and know you are just another form of life; not better, not worse than anybody else. Your authentic point of view is emerging now and once you know who you are the world will know you as well. The quicker you get rid of imbalanced resentment, pride, blame etc the more the world can accept your contribution and offer you value for your efforts. Strive to be able to give and receive in equal measure.

Vesa performing & exhibiting at the World Bodypainting Festival, Austria 2015

Your art in 3 words?

A transformational process.

You’ve just exhibited at the Biohacker Summit in London, what’s the story?

I’ve been interested in holistic health for a decade now and these guys are figuring out some pretty cutting edge stuff. The organizer Teemu asked if we could work together on the visual design of the event as well as exhibit one of my bigger projects as a whole for the first time. I collaborated with a Bollywood actress Veena Malik a couple of years ago and I’m very grateful that we were able to show these works to this audience. It is always best for me to be among people who are curious and ready to discover new things instead of constantly resisting change. The values of this event are the same as mine; it’s about honouring the past and forging our tomorrow now in the best way we know how.

Vesa Kivinen exhibiting at the Biohacker Summit, London 2016

Vesa Kivinen works on several ongoing projects, each as intriguing as the next. Check out his portfolio on Rise Art to see a mixute of his large scale original works, alongside more affordable limited edition prints. His works are vibrant and sanguine, making quite the statement!



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