Diary

The rain cries a little pity for one more forgotten hero / and a world that doesn't care

Ok Diary, we need to talk. Relating to my previous post. I did some reflection in the darkness and realised that I am the light that must not be let to fade away. As long as there are warriors of the justice, peace and love the darkness will never conquer the light. And that’s what’s like the whole purpose of life.

As I was closing my website I checked the visitor count and it was 1215 individuals this year. Much, much more than I had thought. All over the planet. Me, dying or letting go of my practise would mean a small victory to the things I have fought against my whole life. Ever since scaring school bullies away from their victims when I was 6 to me going unarmed between a man hitting a woman in a tram to standing up against more abstract ideas like domestic violence. I cannot say it isn’t a lonely place, but what else would I do instead? Watch it and take selfies? 

For me, the work of an artist is to preserve humanity. Beyond one’s own. Give hope. Deliver beauty. Provoke thoughts. Ideas. It is not something you put a price tag on and add to your resume. I had just forgot that when I slowly began to understand that my works are impossible to sell. I had increasingly started believing that my value, as a human or an artist is to be measured in money. It is a sad, sad idea. While that thought took a deeper grip on me, I slowly drifted away from the main thing. Suddenly I was so far away from my practise, that I couldn’t even see it on the shore anymore, me being in a rowboat going to the wrong direction at the open sea. I missed my work, my practise, the people to whom I pull my 20-hour working days for - I had started thinking money. Money, like the most common and stupid agreement in the world. I would need it though, to be able to afford my physiotherapy that would eventually make me able to walk again without pain, so I forgive myself, the last time. I could have been anything, but I chose to become an artist. I thought I would be most useful in that profession. 

So the darkness, attack me with everything you have. I might bend, break and sometimes even lose my will to live along with my dying hope, but something is always greater than me, or my own little life and that's love. After fighting so long alone I have forgot that there are still many beside me.

While I was writing the previous paragraph, I got an email from a gallery in New York that they offer me a three weeks solo show free of charge. I am not sure is this the Christmas miracle but I suddenly feel like there’s much more hope in the world that I had ever thought.

So darkness. We have chatted before but you only ever make me come out brighter, shinier and more polished than before. So I’ll be seeing you around again.

Leena

(Listening to “Streets of London” by Ralph McTell, my favourite song year after year. It has been the main inspiration for my practise, ever since I could call my working that. There are so many we don’t look in the eye. I try to, in my work. And life, because I have been them.)

Blind Child (2014)

Blind Child (2014)

I was doing fine without ya, 'til I saw your eyes turn away from mine

Dear Diary,


You’re going to kick my ass if you ever manifest into a real book with feet and mind other than I have given you but I am heartbroken and need to move on. I don’t know what is harder, letting go of something I love or letting go of someone I loved. It feels appropriate and bittersweet to start working from a broken heart, heal it with these four years and close the circle with breaking it again, and listen to the silliest song in the world ”The less I know the better” by Tame Impala while writing these last paragraphs to my diary.

The thing is, that I had a fling outside pictures, and this morning I went to my studio and told my practise ”I met someone else”, in the sense that for a moment I loved something more than photography or anything and as these things go, they never go well so I have no place to go in my life that would still feel like a home. 

I have suffered several massive hits in my life to this day but never took one to my instrument before. I don’t know who I am anymore without it. But I can now choose. I can choose to be something else than me now that the fundamental part of me is broken. So I will withdraw from photography until I feel safe again to be in the wilderness. I may never come back anymore. It is what hurts the most. Today I took my last picture with my camera and the idea of it was no longer my greatest love, it was just a mechanical object. I have been together with my practise half of my life and today I looked at what’s left of it and me and felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I couldn’t even cry at the funeral because what was buried was my spirit. The less I know the better.

“So goodbye”.

Leena

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"Had it been another day I might have looked the other way"

Dear Diary,

I opened a new key in my visual composing. I gained A-major back, haven’t been able to use it in 11 years. Someone came and took my broken eyes, turned them back to me and the light he reflected made me see again. It’s amazing. Have you noticed that people smile? They hold hands? Like before I met this incredible person, all I saw around was crying babies and dying birds, like things that are beyond consolation or help - now time is standing firmly on its own feet again, without me having to lift or carry it, difficult to explain… Like I can move smoothly in time and space, no need to push it, I just… glide.


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***

Took a decent picture. It’s about love, snow angels and eternal light. I look quite beautiful in it. Hadn’t noticed that before either. Long exposure, 15 seconds, I think I lost two or three toes while standing in the snow, I am not sure yet. We’ll see.

I actually shiver, random tears of joy touch my headphones as I am listening to music while writing this - I have always loved ”I’ve just seen a face” on Help! (by The Beatles) because of its incredible rhythm and beat, like it’s just one of those super tunes to listen to while you dream about finding the love of your lifetime by looking outside the bus window and someone would just stand there and you’d know. I have scanned the crowds for over a decade, but hadn’t seen the face. I just knew, that when the time comes, I know. Without hesitation, being in zenith of calm, like I could take it as a fact. I’ve just seen the face.

***

Besides me having found a soulmate, other incredible things have happened too. All this took place in Helsinki last week, the filming also in Joensuu where I live, gonna talk about it later, just hold on… An American film-director found my works (!) online and he emailed me some time ago whether or not I’d be interested in making a feature length documentary about me, as he really liked my stuff - he had also stalked some of my videos on Facebook, which he found fascinating, so he actually flew from London to Helsinki to meet me, and then later took a train to this dead-end town Joensuu in Eastern-Finland to film, and it was great. I mean, CRAZY, in its superlative, so intense, so challenging, so rewarding, so… new to me. The documentary will be released internationally and despite my awful fearfulness of cameras (and people) the director said I did good job in the interviews!


Going quite well for a small-town girl, huh?

X,

Leena

"All my dreams, all my dreams fall like rain on a downtown train"

Good heavens, I am knackered. Absolutely exhausted. I just finished working on “Realistic Love Doll”, and pulled a full-blown trial/error-photoshoot on “Guns don’t kill people. Trump kills people” tonight. The first was so tricky to edit, that I almost lost my zen and threw my laptop out of the window and then tossed my body after it. Of course, as I live on the first floor it would have been more like a “cry for help”-thing, so after contemplating all the options I have I decided just continue working on it - it took 26 hours of editing job and 223 versions until I got it close to the point of acceptable. I simulated 2 promille alcohol poisoning by staying up until five AM, listening to the simplest disco tunes from 90s - “Barbie Girl” by Aqua on repeat does something to the brain, just saying.

I think I chose way too plain colour combination on the love doll-picture, yellow on yellow is like so drag, no nuances on the image, so I just kept on pushing it and pushing it - I guess I eventually got pretty close to how I saw it, but I just have to remember not to repeat the mistakes. I shot the key light a tad too close and didn’t check its angle before opening the file on Photoshop. Anyhow, it’s yesterdays news now, and just had to let it go, otherwise I would have gone mad.

Trump was a five minutes-editing job, very little corrections to be made.

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***

I have been thinking about the contest I left an application to - I have no idea how it will turn out. I can usually separate work things from my private life, but if I can be totally honest with you, it loops in my brain. In a way I think there’s no way that I’ll be selected to the exhibition for artists under 35 years, as I am too loud, too colourful, not academic enough (in the sense that I would jerk off my ideas intellectually in a form of an essay and call it part of the work), too much, too little… The results come by the end of this month, I am scared shitless that a) my name is on the list b) my name is NOT on the list. If… I was selected, I don’t know how it would affect on my working, would I get cocky? Like “Hey you peasants, I am one of the chosen artists for this exhibition everyone in Finland wants to get in, kiss my hands, kiss my feet” and drive around Helsinki in a convertible vintage Jaguar I’d steal from someone rich and do the royal hand wave from the passenger seat while my bestie screams “WE DON’T SELL MONKEYS” or something like that, for no apparent reason.

If I am not selected, I kiss my pooch goodbye, go to the woods, crawl into a fetal position and stay there until a bear comes and eats my head.

It would mean so much to me, to get credit for the work I do. I don’t think about the status, or the money (I’d just spend it on tennis balls or something equally irrelevant), only the credit. It would be a giant reward, to me, to get nominated but then again, everyone who applied feels probably the same.

***

Despite Rod Stewart’s few awful albums, he is a brilliant vocalist. It slowly dawned on me while I was editing the love doll-picture. I listened to “Downtown Train” on repeat for at least two or three hours and didn’t get used to the perfection of it. He took me on a journey, and stayed with me there until he gasps the few last high notes - his presence and technique is absolutely flawless. Things like these keep me going. Like finding passion, in a world that is filled with blurred, plastic objects and zero subjects.

Time for bed, I guess… See you soon.

X,

Leena