An evaluator’s late-night meditations

It was a surprise to be asked to assess artists’ applications. In fact, I said: “What on Earth?” After all, I’m critical and plain-spoken – I bow to no one. But that’s exactly why I was wanted, they replied.

Assessing the applications has been quite challenging. Some applications even appeared late at night. I’ve thought and thought. There’s been a large number of high-quality applications.

All of the applicants have value – even those not currently being awarded a grant cannot be regarded as bad. Far from it – it’s just that some applications have to be chosen from among the others. I’ve tried to do my best – unfortunately, many good applications have been left by the wayside.

I’ve regarded the standard of content as the key issue. It’s not a matter of whether the project is big or small, but what it contains. I’ve also attempted to pick out artists of various ages, although what’s important is how the project arouses interest. Overlaps were also found in abundance, as well as similar types of themes. Distinctive applications stood out, or were there to be found among the others.

Art is a challenging field. It plays an important role in terms of the image it casts on life and embraces the whole of life itself.

Youth, vigour and a competitive spirit have impacted on the arts, and the artists and art students within them. Nevertheless, as the core of all this I would recommend dedication to your personal perspective, as well as recognition of the fact that you can work as an artist multi-dimensionally. Strong nerves are needed, not to mention an iron will and the confidence to allow yourself to develop as an artist, human being and persona. I can also see that some applicants are still seeking content for their art – in time they will find this.

Art flows through the present moment, the future and previous centuries. Artists engage in time travel from the past to the future, as well as to the present – it was also possible to see this in the applications. Art never ages: rather, it expresses the same things through the use of various tools already present in works from thousands of years ago

Superficial artistic trends enjoy only a two-year boom and then recede into the past. A personal artistic imprint and direction, and brave achievements, need not mimic the work of others: rather, these are the elements that create a personal foundation for what you do. At the end of the day, artists are creating vision of the future of art in Finland too. To make marginal art visible, all we need to do is provide the prerequisites and freedom for various projects.

I see cooperation between various countries as necessary and regard visibility abroad, which is still too minimal, as crucial to Finnish art.

Enabling the long-term efforts of artists is important to securing the existence of culture and its development. For this reason, sponsors – especially politically non-aligned ones – view the content of art as more important than political players do.

Freedom also means being able to create art from the inner being of artists themselves. I consider it vital that support from the Kone Foundation be opened up for long-term artistic projects. From the artistic perspective, this is a good springboard for achieving a high-quality outcome.

It was very interesting to review the artists presented in the applications. Thanks to all of you for this. Life goes on – whether or not a grant is awarded. I know this from my own experiences, whenever a grant has not come my way. I continue with the creative work I do regardless of this: in other words, a word to those who have not received a grant: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK – you should never give up! Art, creativity and imagination are always a source of joy. Art also lives during times of financial uncertainty. Certainty itself is quite rare: nothing is 100% predictable.

My warm thanks to all of you. It was a pleasure and a challenge to make this journey with you.

Art adds to our life experience. Life goes on!