Artist interview: Antti Männynväli

Antti Männynväli is an active urban artist whose roots are in the streets, but as a grown-up, he has mainly focused on indoor art. He has exhibited in galleries, bars, and restaurants. Männynväli has started making art at a very young age.

– I have started making art since about age 14, in different forms, but consistently and with various techniques. I haven’t gotten any formal education.

Stylewise Männynväli is very versatile as an artist and pursues to evolve constantly.

– Basically, I have many styles. On the other hand, I like to do simple and very graphic style but then again “realistic with a twist” type of style. Both have evolved through time and hopefully will continue to do so in time. You can’t be ready as an artist.

Männynväli says that he gets inspired by many things that interest him and raises one inspiration in particular: T-Bone Slim. Männynväli has a series dedicated to T-Bone Slims writings, and his mural at Keran Hallit is part of the series. T-Bone Slim was an American-Finnish hobo, poet, songwriter, and a labor activist, who wrote at the beginning of 1900 to the local papers dedicated to these lines of businesses, Männynväli tells.

– If I find something in general that interests me, I attempt to show it in my art. T-Bone Slims texts are very wild and colorful with a message, but they are also humoristically hilarious.

Männynväli’s process is planned but strays from this according to his mood and sometimes just works without planning. His work at Keran Hallit required the planning process.

– I often plan pretty much in detail on paper what I will do. Something graphic can be done with a feeling. Then I don’t need a particular idea, but I have to let the flow take wherever. This artwork is the kind of style that I planned in detail beforehand. I sketched it on paper in a manner where there’s recognizability with the text. The layout was made pleasing to my eye and then with some kind of artistic freedom executed on the wall.

The inspiration to the artwork at Keran Hallit for Männynväli was T-Bone Slims texts with the headline “Get a Better Boat Boys” and the quote from it: The economic power is the only power the workers have- only workers have it. Parasites are using borrowed power -our power, our lawnmower. Let’s make them return it. The world needs a haircut. This metaphor was specifically the inspirer of the artwork, Männynväli says.

Working on the mural went pleasantly, and the large size of it was exciting for Männynväli.

– I have made a few artworks with the same scale, but this is probably the biggest regarding height. For sure, the scales intrigue me. It is great to make large artwork! Indeed, the possibility of rain was frightful, and I had to have some breaks because of it. Otherwise, here [at Keran Hallit], everything was organized very well so that as an artist, it was easy to arrive at the site and focus on the essential.

According to Männynväli, the experience was pleasant, and he wishes to meet someday the visitors of Keran Hallit.

– It was a great experience! I’d like to paint more here. Meeting the other artists was nice, and hopefully, meeting the visitors will be possible at some point.


Picture: Katariina Kolkki
Picture: Katariina Kolkki