Creative Leaders in Hämeenkyrö, Finland: Ilona Raipala

(Image above: “A Meeting” by Ilona Raipala, 2012)

Recently, Ilona Raipala and I sat down with cups of tea to discuss her work.  She lives in Hämeenkyrö, which is where Arteles is located and about 30 minutes away from Tampere (the third biggest city in Finland).

My family is from Hämeenkyrö, and I moved here to live in an old country house in the middle of forest and fields, near to nature.  I easily found a great workshop, which is what kept me working here.

In Hämeenkyrö, there are many active people and a lot to do, if you are open to possibilities. There are not many art museums or fancy night clubs here, but it´s not dead culturally. It´s just a small town. One can go to yoga classes, act in a amateur theatre, play ice hockey, and so on. There are many intellectual people also around the area. The nature and the countryside inspires many kinds of people, and what is common for them is that they enjoy the peace and quietness.

“Still Life” by Ilona Raipala and Laura Mäkelä, 2012

I exhibit my work often in Tampere, Hämeenkyrö, and many other places.  Exhibiting is fun and challenging!  My goal is to create a deeper connection to my inner self, and the audience can find different things from the artworks. That´s one reason why it´s interesting to talk with people: to expand one´s own perspective. People can have quite surprising points of view, if one can hear what they are saying.  It´s not so important, if they find out what the artist “meant” or not.

Seeing art is emotional and nonverbal… it’s not something you can explain.  Art is an experience. It´s not linear like words.  (Although words can also mean many things, often mixing and confusing the original meaning.) Art can be just anything, depending of who you are.

I will be teaching a summer course on landscape painting in the countryside because there are lots of people who need a possibility to be creative in their free time.  Some might just need a little kick to make it happen!

“Sininen” by Ilona Raipala, 2008/2010

Learn more about Ilona and see more of her artwork at her website  Ilona is also exhibits with the group Avarataide.  Marius Olsen´s and Ilona Raipala´s lithographic studio in Hämeenkyrö will also be participating in the Open Studios even in the Tampere region in April.  Their studio is located at Kyrel, Jaakontie 1, Kyröskoski.  The website of the event is:


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