IN CONVERSATION | PAINTER- JUKKA VIRKKUNEN

23.07.20

“So I think having these kinds of spaces where there are other people around; I think it creates a nice community and environment for you to also have a dialogue with other disciplines.” – Jukka Virkkunen

Jukka Virkkunen is a painter from Jyväskylä, Finland. In 2014 he graduated with a BA in graphic design from the Universidade Norte do Paraná in Brazil and in 2020, he received his MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in the UK. Through his paintings he explores emptiness and physicality through minimal mark-making on monumental monochrome canvases. He creates his own architecture- a volume of colour held inside a space or over existing structures.




What is your definition of studio space? 

That’s a tricky one, I think it’s where you feel comfortable in creating. And it has to feel almost like home. Like it’s a safe place to experiment with new stuff. Yeah, I think it has to be like a comfortable place where you want to go everyday and cozy.

Collaborative/communal studio spaces are on the rise. Do you believe this formula can work? 

Yeah, currently I’m studying at the Royal College of Art. So in my space where I’m in, I’m sharing with one other person and I think that’s working really nicely. We have a nice, nice atmosphere. So I think like being an artist and being a painter, I think it can get lonely. You’re always stuck in your studio and by yourself. So I think having these kinds of spaces where there are other people around; I think it creates a nice community and environment for you to also have a dialogue with other disciplines. I think it’s a good idea to have these kinds of spaces.

Do you believe that London has an impact on your art?

Yeah. So I’m originally from Finland and I think, definitely,  before coming to London, I was living eight years in Brazil. And I can see the shift from my work in Brazil when I went back to Finland and now when I’m in London, I think the chaos and hecticness of London definitely affect my work in a positive way.

Would you consider moving outside of the city?

Yeah, I think I could. I always dreamed of living by the ocean. I think that will be something I could do but at the moment I really enjoy living in London and I enjoy the creative community that I’ve been living here for two years. I like the people I’ve met and having other makers and knowing that there’s a nice community here. Short term I think I’m going to stay in London.

How do you think it would impact your work if you were to move out?

Yeah, I think that depends on the place. But you can’t really replicate the energy of London anywhere else. So I don’t know how it would change but it definitely will change.

What do you think the future of studio space looks like?

Yeah, I think these I’ve seen around London I think it’s like Thame-side studios. And there are some other like, organisations that are very much artists-led this kind of thing, taking buildings and remolding them to be studio spaces. And I think also I’ve seen some projects where they have homes, v in the same space videos or very close by and I think that’s something really interesting. Because in London transport always takes a long time. So if you’re able to live, live and work nearby, have your studio and your home near each other, I think that’s something really interesting. I’ve seen some of those things happening also in London.

How do you believe we can ensure artists remain in London in the future?

Yeah, I think that the biggest challenge is to have affordable space and your range of housing and then studio space they’re both really expensive in London. So I think if there’s an affordable way to have studios, then definitely I think London is going to be the still the place, because there are so many galleries and exhibitions happening. So I think people will want to move and live here.

How do you think artists can collaborate and communicate with developers in London to try to maintain that cultural community?

And that’s a good question. I think like, from my part, it feels that there’s no way at the moment to have a dialogue. Like I haven’t come across how to meet developers. But I think to have this kind of what you’re doing, having an initiative where you’re interested in hearing from artists. I think that’s a good way to start. And I think we could have an online platform/website where we could, you know, more openly talk.