“I like to express feelings and atmospheres using the poses that inspire me”
Artist Maren Jeskanen loves to paint and draw people, especially dancers. She is also a musician; she currently sells her artwork, sings a duet —The Soul Systerit—and works as a preschool teacher. Maren is from Pori, Finland, and felt passionate about art from a very young age.
Jeskanen doesn’t own a studio, she paints from her living room while she listens to a Netflix show or a movie. She sketches using pencils and charcoals and paints mostly with acrylics and tempera. This self-taught artist started participating in exhibitions in 2004 and national and international galleries have shown her work to various audiences.
In this Q&A, artist Maren Jeskanen shares with PoseSpace how she started painting, how music influences her work, who are her favorite artists and more:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?
I have always been drawing, but I had never painted with oils before and wanted to learn that so I started participating in painting courses seventeen years ago. I started to paint a copy of a photo of two dancers and my teacher, an elderly artist, said: “Erm, you did pick a difficult one indeed.” As I finished the small painting he looked pleased but said nothing. The same thing happened with a few next ones I painted until he stopped commenting on the difficulty of the subjects. A year later he told me that there were not many of his students of whom he could see that they could become artists and I’m one of the few. I decided to be an artist right there and then. I could not get into a school of arts but decided to go on with the hard way: to paint, have exhibitions and sell my art even without a degree in art.
How do you start a work — do you have any rituals?
I have no rituals when I start my work: As soon as I’ve found inspiration from music, movie or a single pose of yours, I start sketching and planning the artwork.
One of your main interests as an artist is people. What is the importance of figure drawing to you?
I love to paint people for loving to catch the anatomy of the human figure the right way and participating figure drawing lessons such as fast life sketching has helped me to improve my figure study skills while starting to work on a painting. I like to express feelings and atmospheres with the poses that inspire me. Having danced for twenty years myself I also find it inspiring to paint dancers.
What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model?
I love PoseSpace and cannot imagine how could I ever go on painting people without the poses of PoseSpace: the high quality and various choices of poses and models make it a perfect tool for us artists painting people. I don’t have a favorite model because the pose itself either inspires me or supports the inspiration I already have from music, movies or dance, but must say that given my liking of strong and emotional poses I do like Irina, Anaiv and Jenni a lot.
You are also a musician. How does music influence your work?
Music is as important to me as making art. I listen to music as much as possible, singing and humming all the time. I’m also performing music in a duo at the moment, playing cover songs both as a cappella versions and accompanied by a ukulele. Quite many of my inspirations for art come from music. The lyrics of a song make me want to express them another way –with my art and I love the way I can find poses for this in PoseSpace.
Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?
My artistic idols are two Finish artists that lived in the nineteenth century (Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela) but one living artist that I do admire is a sculptor Matti Vesanen, whose work I came across on your artwork pages.
What advice would you give to young artists just starting in their careers or creative practice?
For young or starting artists I want to say that If one has an urge to make art and they are receiving positive feedback from teachers and viewers of their art I strongly encourage them to proceed with their artistic career. I also encourage them—however— to get a degree on something else they love because art will provide a living for only some of us, that’s just how it is. As for me, I’m also teaching children—which I love to bits and would not stop doing even if I had an opportunity to make art full time— so it’s a good thing that one can do many things they love. I, myself, paint in the evenings, weekends and holidays.
Interview by Andrea Miliani