Creative Living: Interview with Maarit Hänninen

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One of my favourite ways to stay inspired is to read about how other people put their creativity into practice and learn to live creative lives. Every so often, I’ll be interviewing someone who is letting their creative light shine. Hopefully, these folks will inspire you as much as they inspire me. 

Maarit reached out to me recently to see if I would be interested in collaborating and I instantly fell for her work and had to say yes. She's a linocut printmaking based in Amsterdam and had a similar struggle as mine with not getting started on her artistic journey until her mid-twenties. Now she produces stunning drawings and prints and has made this gorgeous video documenting her process. 

What sort of creative work do you do?  

I love making all sorts of stuff with my hands and experimenting with different mediums. Most recently I've been focusing mainly on linocut printmaking, but I also make commission portraits here and there.  

Have you always thought of yourself as a creative person? Why or why not?  

In visual arts, not really, in other crafts maybe more so. I loved drawing as a child, but because my older brother was better at it than I was, I felt like I could never compete with him, so I pretty much just gave up. But secretly I always kept dreaming about being good at drawing.  

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How did you get started?  

I left Finland and moved to Amsterdam (NL) in my early twenties. I had never really found my thing, so I felt like I had to see what else is out there. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by all these young artists, and a culture that supports and feeds creativity in a different way than what I was used to. There's art everywhere in this city and I wanted to be part of it. I realized that the only thing I've ever wanted to be really good at is drawing, and that I just needed to follow through with it. So, I started doodling. 

What’s your process like?  

When I come across a theme that I like, I usually start by just sketching some quick thumbnails to get the idea and the composition on paper. I don’t always use these sketches right away (or at all) – it might take me months to return to them. During this time the concept slowly grows, and sometimes I end up combining different sketches with one another. Once a design is finished, it's ready to be turned into a printing block and so on.    

What or who inspires you? 

People who are able to ignore their inner critics and create art that feels right. Children are a great example of this. 

What’s your biggest creative struggle and how are you coping with it?  

I'm very critical about my work and find it sometimes hard let my creativity flow. I try to be less technical and trust my intuition more. But at the same time, I'm aware that without my critical nature I would not have the drive to keep improving my art. It's a double-edged sword.  

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What’s your # 1 tip about everyday creativity?  

Practice every day. I know I don't always do this myself, but when I do, it just comes easier. It's hard to get back to the flow after long periods without practicing. 

What are you working on next?  

I want to continue printmaking. There's so much I'd like to try with it: printing on textiles, making more linocut videos, creating bigger pieces and using multiple blocks to add more colors. I'd also like to do more collaborations and maybe even licensing.  

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Where can we find you online? 

Website

Instagram

YouTube

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