Embassy Exhibitions: Thank You Steve Salo!

Steve Salo's painting ‘Man in a Boat’,

Australian contemporary artist, Steve Salo held an exhibition at the Embassy of Finland as part of the event program for the Finland's 100th Independence Year celebrations. We sat down with Steve for interview, to more learn about what inspired this collection created during his time Finland.

Born in Australia the surname Salo is a typical Finnish name. Despite this connection, Steve remarkably does not have any relatives in Finland. His childhood was spent painting, which brought about a dream to become a professional painter.

Last year Steve travelled to Finland for a one-month artist residency to develop a series of expressionist paintings inspired by the beautiful Finnish landscape.

His relationship with Finland began when he started looking for an artist residence in Finland. He found a residency in Hämeenkyrö, close to Tampere, where he spent a month living with ten other artists. During the residency, he sketched and painted in the forest, by the lakes, and in his studio from memory and photos.

He fell in love with Hämeenkyrö, enjoying long walks in the nature, especially in the forest. Once he got lost and that's when he experienced the true silence of the forest. This silence was something that struck him and he will never forget it. Even if he was lost for couple of hours in the forest, he felt at peace.

Steve spoke of Finns as a friendly and warm people. He loved how the Finns were not in a hurry and remembers long discussions with strangers in middle of the day. Even Helsinki for such a big city he remembers having the same easy-going atmosphere, and green, with all of the parks, boulevards. Children were even running around the streets playing and people riding their bikes to work.

For Steve he thought this is how all should live, commenting Finns just take a second to enjoy the moment. Life is too short for hurrying and stressing all of the time, Steve says, and that more of his fellow Australians should adopt the Finnish lifestyle.

Then there was his description experience the Finnish sauna. He remembers how the Finns were comfortable being naked in the sauna and how some of the tourists found this really strange. For Steve this was an excellent insight in the Finnish culture, just be you and don't stress about it.

He also liked the connection the Finns had with the nature, mentioning how this connection to the nature could be seen in the everyday life of the Finns. It felt like Finnish people had a huge respect for nature, they enjoyed it but also wanted to protect it. He hopes that more Australians would someday feel just as connected to the nature as the Finns already are.

Steve misses Finland and hopes that maybe one day, he could return back to the country, which had such a huge impact on him. With his exhibition now finished Steve was ever so kind to donate one of his pieces to the Embassy.

If you want to know more about Steve Salo, his collections and upcoming exhibitions, head on over to his webpage http://www.stevesalo.com/

Interview by Jon Järvineimi
Intern at the Embassy of Finland in 2018.


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