Interview by Antti Rimminen | Pictures courtesy of VINTAGEART / Riikka Fransila

Riikka Fransila is an artist painting with scissors. “It’s actually quite annoying when you want to cut everything you see – but you can’t.”

Please tell us a little about your background, how and when did you start making collages?

I have been interested in various forms of art throughout my life. Traditional surrealism, Pop-art and Dada inspires me particularly. 4-years ago, I had a sad period in my life and I needed to find a way to focus my thoughts into somewhere else. I decided to try collaging and got hooked on it immediately. Now it´s like my private mindfulness therapy – a secret place where I am forced to slow down and focus my wondering mind after a busy day.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Being self-taught, I have tried various techniques and materials. After many experiments, some innovations and many – many failures, I think I have found the style that suits me the most. I love to work with scissors and paper, mixing vintage and found commercial imagery and finding interesting mixes and compositions. My common motives often include human faces, body parts, flowers, plants and figures. I like to deliver a positive attitude, some hidden feelings and the fact that there is no point taking things too seriously. Angst-ridden creativity is not my thing. I suppose you could call my art modern vintage collage with humorous twist, even though I really don’t want to focus on just one style.

Your pieces have interesting and thought-provoking names and often with some dark humor. Please tell us a little about the process of naming your works.

She is unpredictable and a handful to drive
She is unpredictable and a handful to drive

I usually start with a base image that I find interesting in some way. It can be great colors, good posing, funny look or just nice shape. Then I collect more images and after some cutting I start playing around with them to compose the collage. It´s like painting with scissors. I try many – many pictures and composes until I am satisfied with the final piece.

The name comes with the process and is a significant part of my art. It often includes a teasing or has some twisted meaning. Name ties the story together and comes to my mind randomly. Still, quite often I notice that what popped into my mind wasn’t entirely accidental – it had happened to me or my friends in the past.

Where can we see and buy your work? Any exhibitions coming up?

I’m one of the artists invited to take part at the current Our Scissors exhibition in Design Museum Helsinki. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Some originals are sold at my Etsy-shop, World of Tre and in my Pop-Up Shop at Vallilan Stoori in Helsinki. I have also had some very interesting inquiries from all over the world. There has been discussion about taking part in Collage Art Exhibitions next year in Orlando USA, in Norway and in Berlin. There are also plans to have my own private exhibition in my favorite gallery Rupla in Helsinki. Let’s see which one really happens.

You do original pieces using magazines, old books, print ads and photos. Where do you source your materials from?

I collect material all the time and from everywhere. I see treasures in another people’s trash, I scour flea markets and antique shops. Magazines from 50’s are most wanted but anything you can cut is possible source material.

What projects are you working on now?

Even though traditional cut-and-paste technique is my true love, I have started to make some digitals too. I have collaborated with a photographer and we have made some fun projects mixing his cool fashion photos with my vintage elements.

There has been also some commissioned work from people’s own photos. That’s a new and fun challenge for me too. I have been contacted by some artists and art students with suggestions on collaborations – and I am really interested in seeing where these contacts lead.

Dear Diary vol.1
Dear Diary vol.1

How has your work developed since you started?

Less is more nowadays. I like to keep things simple instead of loading lots of materials or images into one piece. The simpler the work is – the harder it is to compose.

Where do you find ideas for your art?

Everywhere. It’s actually quite annoying when you want to cut everything you see – but you can’t. Instagram is a great platform to see what works and what doesn’t. There is this great group of artists from all over the world sharing the same enthusiasm making collages. They share their ideas and knowledge and give you support, which is very important.

Have you seen anything surprising lately?

The most surprising thing for me is to see how globally you can work from your own home. I have had so many surprising contacts from all over the world. If you just believe in yourself and do what you love – great things happen.

What are your dreams career wise?

Collage art is a big part of my existence these days and I can’t imagine it any other way. Still it is more a way of life than a career. My dream is to find more collage-orientated artists from Finland. In Brooklyn, Paris, Berlin or Moscow there are whole collectives of people making collages in their free time. They get together to share their passion, have a glass of wine and make art. That would be so great!

Seeing the world through flower glasses
Seeing the world through flower glasses
Nothing comes between me and my cactus
Nothing comes between me and my cactus

Our Scissors
7 Sep – 29 Oct 2017
www.designmuseum.fi