First of all, how very typical of me: create a new blog to keep your art babble separate from your personal babble; then quit the art babble before it even started. Last time I blogged here was months ago, and recently I've seriously been munching whether I'd better just delete this blog once and for all. Nevertheless, I'm going to give it another chance and see if it leads anywhere. In all honesty, I am an extremely disorganised person/artist/student/whatever hence no matter how much I'd like to keep some sort of a diary or log about my progress and ides I never seem to succeed. You see, most of my projects begin as a massive, tight lump which I start to unravel and take in parts to see what it holds. It's like I know what I want to achieve in some ideal, abstract level but to actually get there, I need to de-construct the idea. Not sure if that makes sense but there you have it - I suck at explaining myself.
I currently am working on two very different projects, the success of which is very much in the mist. I do not know if either of them will some day be something worth showing but I guess that's the case with pretty much everything creative.
But enough with the mindless rambling and to the point.
Both of my projects are untitled as of now mainly because I suck with naming things. Well, I have a possible name for one of them but I'll see about that when (if ever) it is finished.
Le Untitled Project #1
So, Finnish mythology has never been a point of interest in my head up until recently. And I can't even tell you why now. It just happened. I suppose it is the sum of several things in my life in the course of the past year. First of all, I got a friend in my university course who is interested in wiccanism and witchcraft and all supernatural. She sometimes talks about that stuff, and while I don't quite buy all of it, admittedly it is fascinating. Then I have another friend back in Finland who's drawn to nature religions, archaeology, mythologies and all that stuff. In addition, she is the kind of person who won't cease to be hyped over the things she finds awesome, thus getting at least me excited as well. Lastly, my own search for some inner peace and balance has lead me back to yoga and through Eastern philosophy to their mythology which, alike traditional Finnish religion is polygamous.
Not having conducted a major collating research between Eastern and old Finnish religions I don't count myself qualified to inform you whether there is anything else along with the aforementioned polygamy that binds those two together so let us leave the subject right there.
What comes to Finnish mythology, I have acquired some knowledge of its anatomy and characteristics in a time span of a couple of months using both the lovely friend of mine, and the excellent library collections available in my home town as sources of reference.
To start with, Finland is a geologically quite a big country, whilst its population reaches just under 5,5 millions. So basically we have few bigger cities, a lot of tiny ones and then forests and lakes. Even the so called 'bigger cities' are just fractions of what the world's buzzing metropolis are, and everything is just covered with those trees and lakes and fields according to what part of the land you are exploring.
Historically, Finland has never been in a state of power and wealth, nor in the front line of doing anything great (except for giving women the right to vote, and staying away from the Soviet Union, hooray!). The control of this area has been either in Sweden or in Russia but from my comprehensive school history I always got the impression that the Finns rarely gave a damn about their kings. And I also, suppose that whoever was the ruler mainly took the Finnish folk as simple, harmless countrymen (which probably was quite right too). Anyway - as I'm drifting from the topic - Finns have somehow managed to preserve their special relationship to nature through different times. Also, being a wide area, there isn't such a thing as one true Finnish mythology since everything that we know about the subject today is a mixture of the beliefs from the West, the East and Lapland (the Northernmost parts), not to forget the early Christian influence that also arrived from both the East and the West with the crusaders some time in the 900's.
Seriously, I need to google these details all the time since I never concentrated in my primary school history classes.
However, my point of interest isn't what Finns believe in today, but what they used to believe in before Jesus became their spiritual guide.
I said that we - or rather our ancestors - didn't have one organised belief system. What we do have instead is something called a national epic, The Kalevala, which brings together the oral folktales and beliefs form all sides of Finland. The guy who wrote down all those stories, songs and spells was faced with the same problem as I am now that I've looked deeper into the spiritual world of ancient Finns: there are countless gods, goddesses, mythical creatures and such who have many names and many beliefs associated with them. So, what this guy, Elias Lönnrot, was bound to do, was to draw some lines together and create archetypes that could be presented as the main characters of the Finnish myth. Obviously, today's ethnographers and whatever those guys are called, don't appreciate this simplification too much because The Kalevala only shows one man's interpretation of the ancient religion in Finland. Fortunately, I am not a historian/someone who ought to know about these things proportionately more than I do, but a photographic artist or art student whose job is to present her interpretations about things she finds remarkable.
I also don't know how to be concise and how to summarize so bear with me.
What my books have taught me so far is that in the core, the mythological world of the ancient Finns is built upon respect for some sort of a mother Earth; not one mother but several womanly beings who have birthed and care for everything that is alive and growing. I won't go into details about these goddesses because defining and separating them from the sets of characteristics occurring in old tales and spells and whatnot is still in progress for me.
And as I've emphasised - there are no specific characters recognised throughout the old religion of the folks of Finland. I understand that villages and bigger areas used to have their own special tales to tell and rituals to follow. To be able to make up whole characters demands merging together stories from different origins.
The important point here is the - perhaps unusual - female foundation of the mythical universe where the men might be the heroes messing about, but the sky and the earth are being taken care of by womanly, motherlike beings, goddesses.
In my project - we're finally getting there - I intend to produce first and foremost beautiful and fantastical portraits of personifications of chosen Finnish goddesses. As they are almost exclusively protectors and creators of nature and living things I want to embrace the environment in the photographs as well. This being the grand plan, I've been searching for suitable scenes for those mythical creatures to appear in - have even found a few. I have an eager model to portray the characters, with whom I need to go for some prop shopping as soon as possible.
All in all, I think I have all the bits, I just need to tie them together and cross my fingers for good results.
And now I can't be bothered to talk about that other project because I've been sitting here attempting to unpick my great idea and deliver it in a literal form with as little success as you can experience yourself.
Visually, what I'd like to achieve The Loveliest Girl In The World is a project that really hits close to home. Conceptually it is completely a different thing since I'm just some art student but that book is actually like art therapy, empowering photography being the correct term here. Go have a look.