Himmelblau Printmaking Studio artists
Janne Laine is known for using a rare traditional form of photogravure etching called Heliogravure. This process of printmaking lends his traditional landscape works a dreamy surreality. His landscapes are informed by the romantic vision of the sublimity of nature. Without tying the subject to a specific place or time the artist projects a vision of nature that is unrecognizable and possibly more associated with visions of the subconscious. His work could be seen as an ongoing search into the tradition of landscape depiction; evidence of the vitality of one of the most essential subjects in art.
Juho Karjalainen is a virtuoso in etching large aquatint plates. His human figures are often depicted from behind, slouched, concentrated in their own existence or trajectory. Karjalainen avoids overtly narrative details. In Karjalainen’s works, the plane of the back and the depression of a hip are ambiguous landscape elements. Light cast on the shoulders, the top of the head and the hollow of a knee acquires a magical quality. The image has the velvety softness of aquatint and the greys and browns present themselves in numerous different shades. Karjalainen’s works emanate classical, rudimentary beauty. Compared to the usual size of prints, his works are large and thus demand their due space. His figures have a highly tangible presence.
Jaakko Mattila is a renowned artist from Finland, however, he has spent the greater part of his career studying and exhibiting within England. A graduate from the Surrey Institute of Art, Jaakko Mattila combines the simple aesthetics of Finnish design of the modernist golden age, and the language of coarse arctic natural form. His intaglio prints play games of shape and colour harmony in multi-layered colour plates.
Tiina Kivinen is one of the most interesting artists in the new generation of art graphic makers in Finland. Her works are spacious and luminous. Earlier Kivinen was mainly known for her nature subjects but lately the human figure has emerged as a more important theme. Quite often she depicts things and creatures that are small and hard to notice and therefore get neglected and mistreated. An intensive, velvety black is usually the key element in Kivinen’s work. The dramatic, mythical colour is produced with mezzotint technique. In mezzotint the metal plate is systematically roughened with special rockers so that the ink holds well. Then some areas are smoothed so they appear lighter. Kivinen also uses monotype and etching techniques.
Inari Krohn (1945–) is one of the few European graphic artists to utilise the very demanding Japanese woodcut technique. Krohn combines metal graphics with the classic watercolour woodcut works. She describes nature in a way that is universally understandable. She depicts trees and other plants with rich detail, yet manages to create a simple impression. Her landscapes are timeless and independent of the present moment. Yet, they cannot be summarised as fairy tale images; the atmosphere makes the subject matter almost sacred.
Marika Mäkelä (born in 1947) became one of Finland’s most famous contemporary artists during the 1980s. Opulence has a very central role in Mäkelä’s works. Her art is mainly non-representational, but both her paintings and her graphics have references to representational topics. Most often, these are in the form of signs, cultural symbols and ornamentation. Nature experiences and the expression of light have been especially important for Mäkelä. These new prints use photo etching and aquatint as techniques. They also use glitter, which is typical of the artist but unusual for the intaglio technique.
Himmelblau Printmaking Studio is located in the heart of Tampere, within the historic Finlayson factory area. Founded in 1989, it has a handsome workshop with a spacious gallery, featuring changing exhibitions by outstanding artists. Editions of fine art prints are created alongside the assistance of professional printers – works by masters of the tradition of intaglio, as well as works by artists of a new generation of printmaking. Artists are often invited to the workshop to create new work. Himmelblau specializes in copperplate intaglio printmaking techniques, and occasionally uses other methods, including woodcut. The gallery has changing exhibitions, alongside a vast collection of prints by artists who have worked with Himmelblau over the years. By 2013 Himmelblau has published 1600 editions.