FEATURED ARTIST: Interview with Finland Artist, Sami Mikael Kivinen

Sami Mikael Kivinen

Illustrator | 35 | Lahti, Finland

We are are pleased to have, Sami Mikael Kivinen, as our Featured Artist, he is an amazing artist that creates some visually stunning digital illustrations that are filled with awesome references from pop culture, you’ll definitely appreciate his art, so go check it out, and while your there show your support for a fellow artist and hit that follow button!

How long have you been an artist? What is your specialty? Where do u find inspiration?
I have been drawing as long as I can remember. At school I was always doodling something on the paper during the class. Copying characters from comic books and movies. Age 17 I was accepted to graphic design school and I had a short career on that field. A long time I didn’t really draw much, but in 2010 I got a commission to do this one painting. I had never really done anything with paint & brush, and at first painting was hard and time consuming for me. After a while I started to get better and was excited about all the possibilities in painting. So, I think 2010 was a turning point for me, and started the road I’m on now.

Last summer I did this time lapse video of my inkwork and posted it on Facebook. Next day my phone was going red of all the notifications. That video went viral in Finland and reached about 430 000 people. It was a lucky shot, but really gave me boost to keep doing what I love.

My specialty? Diversity. My stuff is all over the place, from cute animals to gore. I like to do most of my work by hand, then scan them and if needed, do some touch up and coloring on Photoshop. I mostly like to use Ink, water and brush on my work. Also, different markers like Pigma Micron Fineliners ect. Doing it old school.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I am constantly looking at the world visually, as images. Sometimes I get an idea and start to draw it right away. Sometimes I pick pieces from something that is visually interesting and let them circle in my head for a long time, until they start to form a clear picture.

I’m also highly influenced by pop culture. Movies, comics, TV-shows and music.


Do you have a job in the art industry? If So, what’s one thing you don’t like about it? If no, where would your dream job be?
At the time being I’m studying at the Institute of Design in my hometown. I should graduate as an Graphic Designer in 2020. I’m hoping that in the near future I’ll be working as an illustrator for different media platforms and making my own books and comics.

Do you have a favorite Artist?
I read a lot of comic books and my favorite artist are: Jim Lee, Rafael Albuquerque and Ashley Wood. I also love classical art, like the works of Italian painter Roberto Ferri and Finland’s own Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

What is one accomplishment you’ve had in your life? Does not need to be art related.
My two amazing daughters.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
Drawing, painting and enjoying my life.

If you could meet and talk to any person in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’m a rocker at heart, so night out with Dave Grohl could be fun.

How is one way you make money with your art?
By doing commission work. Portraits, paintings… I also do Album covers, logos etc. Just did a small ABC-book about my hometown.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
So many places to see…I think at the time it would be Scotland. There’s just something about those moors, castles and culture. sucking it all in and using it to my drawings.

What is your favorite brand of art supply? Whether it’s a brand of pencils or brand of camera or software
Derwent pencils, Shakura fineliners, Canson papers, Winsor Newton inks/paints and Hanart brushes. Wacom tablet and Photoshop.

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Any advice for young artists?
I always meet people that say to me “lucky you, I can only draw stick figures”. That’s a pile of… Even in kindergarten you have drawn animals, rainbows, vehicles etc. Its all about practice, about passion of doing something over and over again and getting better at it. Someone can spend countless hours of mastering a trick on a skateboard, I spend my hours to figuring out how to draw that skater. Keep practicing, and some day you might land that trick, or end up making a living of your art.

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