To all those who need color
Energy, happiness, honesty, freedom, lips, wings, high-heels – meet Susanna Sivonen, a Scandinavian designer and artist, who flew to us with all her colours from Finland.
People often ask me: Susanna, who are you? Are you doing design, interior design, fabrics, sculptures or are you a painter? I am doing everything. It’s hard to put me in a folder. In Scandinavia, no matter the country, we have this pretty minimalistic, calm style. Sometimes I feel as if I’m a weirdo. While at university, I was told by one teacher that I will never sell my designs because I was simply “too much”. She told me to calm down. But I realised that if I did that, I wouldn’t be myself. I wouldn’t be able to express myself fully, or exactly how I want to. I decided that if there is one person who wants one of my colourful projects, then it’s needed.
Art to me is like drinking water when you’re thirsty. It’s a natural way of living, and colours are the moods life is made of. That’s why I couldn’t choose just one of them. It would be very difficult for me to stay in just one aesthetic line. All the shades are somehow screaming inside me to come out. I also really love details, maybe because to me people are details. It’s impossible to capture somebody’s essence in one word or one idea. We are so much! I don’t want to put people into any categories, I see us in many different ways. All those multiple layers are like notes in music. It’s the same with colours. I need all of them to talk and communicate.
I was born in Sweden, but I also have Finnish nationality. I speak both languages, but my most important language is Art. My art is all about stories and ideas that are important to me. I want to make things that have a bigger meaning – I don’t want to waste time. I even made a sculpture about the value of time. It’s the world’s first hybrid sundial with four computers inside and its own internet connection in order to show the precise time – both in Sweden and in Finland. It’s also a gift from Sweden to Finland to celebrate 100 years of Finland’s independence.
Time is always the same, but our feelings about it change. When you share it, give it to someone or something, keep in mind that it’s never coming back. In Haparanda, a city on the border between Sweden and Finland, there are two time zones with a one hour difference. But in fact, people there live in the same time and are creating history together. Two countries, two cities, but actually one time. I made a statue inspired by this idea. I also wanted people to see how time moves. To realise it, you need to stop and watch it. Time won’t stop, but you need to stop in order to realize how it’s passing by. Then the question becomes, how to use it and how not to be afraid to use it. Everyone needs to make their own choices out of the whole palette of possibilities.
The beginning, an empty canvas, possibility, base. And also a temporary thing. My family is big, I have three daughters and a son, so white will not stay forever white. It’s just a moment. When I mix my colours, white is the one I most often use. It’s very important, but also a bit tricky. When I see it, I immediately think of what could I add. My canvas can be shoes, a T-shirt, a wall. Their white surface is an invitation. My computer – my brain – never stops, I see possibilities everywhere. If I get tired, I go into the woods.
Life. If you take life away from a green object, it will change its colour. I actually don’t use it very frequently in my artwork. I like it more in nature and I need to have it around me. When I look for calmness I go outside and immerse myself in green. The smells of my garden or the woods infuse me with the feeling of freedom.
Impulsive, aggressive, kicking. Like fire during a cold winter brings energy. I think somehow I am a red person. I need it in my life. Having kids, life can be sometimes very chaotic. I am usually very happy and positive, but when I get mad, my temperament makes me all red. In these moments I act with a sense of urgency. Red is often perceived negatively, but it is also the colour of the energy that fires us, keeps us going and allows us to seize the moment. I like to use all its tones.
Calm. Winter. One of my favourites. I love the blue moments in winter when there is so little light and darkness is upon us. This time is necessary to stop and calm down. There are so many different blues. Some may be also scary, like the blue of water when you can not see what is hiding in its depths. It’s also about respect and being one. The blue sky unifies, we all live under it.
Sadness. It’s a very important element of a natural palette of emotions. If you don’t know sadness, you have never been happy. When you know all the tones, including the grey ones, you can be fully alive. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Otherwise it would be just a fairytale.