Here is one example of the meaning of Applied Visual Arts. Juha Ryynänen took part in the AVAUS – Applied Visual Arts and US exhibition with his work Pohjansiilikäs. The work is a visual presentation of a design process in the environmental art project. As I have had conversations with Juha about AVA I really understand the importance of careful investigation of the place, the fragility of nature and the importance of sustainable thinking. First is in Finnish and the next part is in English. Translation is done quite freely as I was trying to sum up the thoughts of the Finnish version.


                 “Soveltava kuvataide monialaisuudesta johtuen on mielestäni tärkeä  yhteisöjen kokoaja ja hyvä keino saada ääni kuuluviin, herättämään keskustelua ja mielipiteitä yhteisöjen ja yhteisötaiteen keinoin. Lisäksi soveltavan kuvataiteen monialaisuus avaa mielestäni uusia polkuja tulevaisuuteen juuri kestävää kehitystä silmällä pitäen ja antaa paljon uusia mahdollisuuksia avata keskusteluja ja herättää tämän ajan kysymyksiä mikä on arvokasta juuri tulevaisuuden kannalta. Yhteisöllisyyden täytyy mielestäni toimia ilman rajoja kansalaisuudesta riippumatta. Ihmiset ovat mielestäni joka paikassa saman oloisia, samat tarpeet kaikilla elämisessä ja olemisessa, joten yhteisöllisyys on tärkeää ja koskettaa meitä kaikkia, jos haluamme jättää jälkipolville esimerkiksi puhtaamman luonnon. Soveltava kuvataide voi taiteen keinoin olla hyvä ajatusten ja ideoiden kokoaja ja esityskeino pienellekin kyläyhteisölle.”


                 “I find that Applied Visual Arts is an important channel for communities to get      together. With its various disciplines of community art it is a great way to give a voice, create conversation and opinions. I also think that the wide range of activities opens new paths to the future with sustainable development in mind. AVA points out what is important to consider right now while aiming to the future. There are no borders between communities when thinking the basic needs of existence. The people are the same everywhere so taking care of the communities is important if we example are trying to leave a cleaner nature for the future generations. AVA can be the place and way to gather ideas and thoughts into presentation even for the smaller village communities.”


The Installation Spotting AVA - Interpretations through installation is part of my master´s studies in Applied Visual Arts; it is the artistic part of my final thesis/a visualization of my master´s thesis research. The work can be seen as a visual presentation, an audit trail mapping the research journey I have been taking during my studies. The research focuses to the concept of AVA, and how it is seen in relation to the fields of art and design. Another aspect of the research focuses to the value of visualization in AVA research for which I mostly wanted to create the installation. The working process of the installation has been a long process, starting from 2011 when I first came to Rovaniemi and got interested in rivers, inspired by the river Kemijoki. River as an element is fascinating and in some level I knew that I wanted to work with rivers, though I did not then know what is was going to be. After that I have been working with RiverSounds – JoenÄäniä-project, which is also presented by documentary pictures in the exhibition. I spend the spring 2013 in Ayr, which is located in the west coast of Scotland, doing my exchange studies. As I found out about river Ayr, which streams through the town Ayr, the decision was made to include rivers as part of my research. In Scotland I was working mostly with sounds and photographs, creating a soundscape-map from the town as I heard it. I was following the river, which splits the town and collecting sounds and photographing the surroundings. I started also to write the rivers into my final thesis as they seemed naturally to find their places there. When I returned to Finland and to Rovaniemi, I started to collect materials from the river Kemijoki and at that time the two rivers (Ayr and Kemijoki) had already taken very central places in my research which can be seen in the installation. The installation connects the two places (Ayr and Rovaniemi), through place-specific elements (photographs) and through bringing the two rivers visually together. The work explores the places by showing place-specific elements from both places and bringing them together by an interdisciplinary bridge. The process has been very precious to me and even more precious when I have come to realise the strong connections between my research and the installation.

Today is the rewarding day of the seminar and the exhibition opening. In Kemi art museum we share our experiences and stories. In the seminar we have interesting speakers giving their perspective on Applied Visual Arts. Welcome! Graphic design of the poster: Elina Hollanti

Pheew, today was a long day. The second day of setting up the exhibition started out nicely for we got the milk dock of Riitta Johanna Laitinen’s On a Milk Dock Journey into the museum space. Oh, how many stories it can tell and how many emotions it can connect. Everybody worked really hard and the exhibition is almost ready for the press and opening. The thing which is great in our group of artists is the communication and the fact that we are actually interested in what’s happening in each ones life. Even the difficult parts of setting up and building went along nicely when everybody was chatting and catching up the gossips 😉 .

One of the talks today, we had almost in the end of the day, was the reason we, applied visual artists, are doing our works and now the exhibition. We are definitely not putting the huge effort into the artworks because of money. We are not even sure that do we sell the works which are now presented in the exhibition. The artworks are the realization of something else, of a process, of a mutual experience, of a story or all of them. Documentation, however, is not enough. We are professionals in aesthetic and visual fields. We also want to share as much as we can about the feelings, about the places and about the whole projects.

At one point, in a situation when we understood the amount of hours we put into our artworks, we were wondering out loud: “Don’t you think there has to be something weird in a person to do this voluntarily, and to do it always?” One person, who we thank so very much for all the help in getting the photos straight and lights right, asked us then :”Well…You are not doing this for money, right?” And no, we are not doing our applied art because of money. However, we are planning to make a living too. Luckily, we don’t have to rely on always selling the artworks. We are selling our skills and expertise, and those we have an awesome variety in this group!Image

Today most of us and most of the works arrived to the art museum. It was a kind of Christmas when we opened the packages and the works had survived the journey to Kemi. The willow bird for example had to travel over 100 km in a car, with its head sticking out. Some of us also saw the final prints and canvases the first time today. Whoo, happy day, they turned out nice. We are so excited to set up the exhibition and see it as a whole. Applied Visual Arts rocks!