We had a little chat with Swedish, London-based artist Jaana-Kristiina Alakoski , read it below:
To begin, who are you, what do you do, and where do you live?
My name is Jaana-Kristiina Alakoski, I’m an artist, I study art and I live in London.
How would you describe your style ?
As a human I have a pretty nice style, much rather being nice and making others feel happy than to see to my own well being. Clothing wise I’m comfortable with a hint of cute. Instagram I think speaks for itself.
What is your creative process ?
I get ideas from whatever input I get or seek up, I work with the ideas by photographing with my phone and drawing in my apps, to then try out the subject matter on different social media channels. When I’ve understood and gotten feedback I sometimes choose yet another medium of execution and make usually some text to the final outcome, or else I just let it be insta-art for ever and ever. But I’m really a newborn art baby – this will probably look very different in just two years. Or 30.
Where do you find inspiration and influences ?
Books, lectures, exhibitions, social media, conversations, music videos, songs, dance, friends, clothes, existential anxiety, language and sociology.
You live in London, but you are from Stockholm, Sweden, how does the fact of living in London is impacting your creativity ?
It spoils me. There is so much going on in London, in a way that you can’t even grasp beforehand if you have been living in Stockholm or Sweden your whole life. It sounds banal but it is true. Living here makes me widen my horizons and think further. It also makes me realize how little Sweden is and how nice of a political climate there is there in some ways, at the same time as it is racist to the core in a way that England is not. This influences me in several different ways of course, because new perspective is equal to new thoughts. Also, I’m 100% less socially anxious here, so that is nice and makes me more creative.
Your mother is a famous Swedish writer, and researches « gender issues », does her work has been at some level an influence to your artistic approach ?
Not her work, but she herself is one of the most important influences on most things that I do, in one way or another. Definitely to my artistic approach aswell.
Who are your favorite artists ?
There are so many!! And as I said I’m a newborn art baby so it shifts pretty rapidly aswell. Hito Steyerl, Jon Rafman and Ryan Trecartin are some that have gotten me going extremely much recently. But then there are also the Instagram accounts of my friends and Instagram friends that I probably look at ten times a day. They must also be said to be my favourites.
We live in an era where most of people on social medias always try to give the best representation of themselves or of their lives, you seem to gogo against the tide, what is your motivation between that ?
Oh I’m happy you think so. It’s hard to say! I guess it correlates with my interests to talk about something else but flawless self representation. Sometimes I think the flawed, gross, awkward moments we share with each other are the most enjoyable, because they create intimacy on another level. But there’s also the fact that it is on the opposite side of what we find awkward, weird or non-appealing, that you can find the ideas of what is not awkward, or non-appealing but « normal ». So I guess am also driven by an interest in that, and a belief that the « normal » has to be scrutinized, or else we’ll end up in a very rigid and possibly dangerous society.
Last week was International Women’s day, how do you define feminism?
As a theoretical body of work compiled over the last couple of hundreds of years from all over the world, that has informed and can inform several different political struggles and pinpoint issues and hidden structures. A set of tools for analysis of human interaction and organization that is crucial both for the problems humans have in large scale communities, and on a small scale in their every day lives.
How does it affect your daily life ?
It makes it a lot easier haha.
Do you think art should be political ?
I don’t know if I think it should, but I definitely think that art is political. Merely in the way that the art world is organized around exclusivity, institutions and a language that is really hard to master without education or a cultural capital, it becomes political. But people rarely see politics with the agenda of the existing power as being political, it is only the underdogs that are seen as political. So if people talk about political art, or if art should be political or not, they talk about isolated examples that are alternative to the dominating politics. I think we should turn our heads against the dominating political system and expose what comes off as neutral, almost natural, as being political.
What makes you happy ? What makes you sad ?
Haha fun question! And sorry for giving a boring answer but my family and my friends make me happy, always, and I always get really sad when I think that I’ve hurt some of them or they are sad. I am a sucker for human relations.
One movie ? One song ? One book ?
Man down, Rihanna because it is story telling at its prime.
The Matrix because I love sci-fi and it is the perfect metaphor for how the universe feels sometimes. Det Kallas Kärlek by Carin Holmberg because it changed my life. It is not available in English unfortunately but hopefully it will be some day.
Which question did we forget to ask you?
What my star sign is. It is aquarius.
Cover picture by Nina Andersson