Creative Leaders in Tampere, Finland: Janne Laine

(Image above: “Burning Sky III” by Janne Laine, 2011)

Last Friday, I was invited to stop by Janne Laine‘s workshop and chat about the arts scene in Tampere.  Tampere is known for having a unique cultural scene and to be a supportive and hospitable city for artists.  Janne was born in Tampere, started as an art technician in 1992 at Himmelblau, and attended the Tampere School of Art and Media from 1992-1995.   After school, he was founding member of Rajataide Association.  He currently works as a Master Printer at Graphic Workshop Himmelblau and is in his final year of a 5-year State Grant awarded to the top artists in Finland.

So I just had to ask him, what makes Tampere’s art scene so special that he has stuck around for over 20 years?

“Somewhere in between breathing in and breathing out V” by Janne Laine, 2005

When I first started working in the print workshop here in Tampere as a print technician, I was making portraits of my gay friends as a criticism of the [Lutheran] church.

Then in 2000, I went to Iceland for a residency, and I found the landscape.  When I went there, it was like coming home, and since then I’ve been there every year.  While I am there, I am searching for a primal image, something before and after mankind.  It’s not scenery, but more like a mental landscape.

The heliogravure photography technique I use is from the 1870s.  The more difficult a process is to do, the more interesting I find it to be.

I’ve been working with Outi Heiskanen since the late 1990’s, and in 2003, we started doing collaboration work.  Her creatures are set in my landscape, and in tandem, they become something totally new.

“Mitä jää” by Janne Laine and Outi Heiskanen, 2008

The galleries and museums are tourist destinations, which give the artists political power, but the community is quite divided politically about the role of the arts and how much money and space should be set aside for it.

After art school, I worked on many art association committees to lend a hand to help Tampere become the “cultured” city it is trying to be.

There are a lot of graphic artists here.  Artists in other disciplines may move to Tampere,  but quite often they move to Helsinki within a few years.  The majority of the art sales happen in Helsinki, but there is so much competition there.

Compared to Helsinki, Tampere is much more warm-hearted.  We don’t have to be anything besides what we actually are.

The artists who live in Tampere rather than in Helsinki don’t have to be as focused on making a big living.  They are able to make the art they want to do rather than be business-oriented.

“Forgotten Journey III” by Janne Laine, 2011

On April 20 – 21 there are Open Studios in Tampere region, and Janne will be at his studio in Pyynikin Trikoo, Pyynikintie 25 Y14.  He will also have a private exhibition opening at Galleria Himmelblau on April 12th.  Be sure to check out Janne’s website — — to learn more about his upcoming exhibitions.


2 responses to “Creative Leaders in Tampere, Finland: Janne Laine

    • Reminds me of the reaction that Durham artists give when asked why they aren’t working in NYC, LA, or Chicago. 🙂 The quieter cities give artists more flexibility and an intimate network is more likely to care about them as people rather than commodity-creators. But, I tell ya, I can’t wait to hear why artists choose the hustle-and-bustle of Berlin!

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