Artist Paola Suhonen
Paola Suhonen is a Finnish designer, film maker and musician whose art & design brand Ivana Helsinki is known worldwide. Paola lives in Alppila district, near to Linnanmäki Amusement Park. She loves the old, wooden houses of the area, Lenin Park and Porvoonkatu which ends to the sunset.
Paola, you’re internationally renowned designer but also a film maker and an aspiring musician. How would you describe your overall vision of art?
I feel that the most important thing is your own aesthetics. That’s your compass and a map, that you use for traveling on the field of visual tasks, projects, materials and problem solving. For me that map & compass is an imaginary world that is a mixture of childhood memories, Scandinavian purity, Slavic melancholia, Americana and some wildwood oddness.
How do you find time and energy for all of this?
It’s simply a way of living. You don’t separate free time, holidays or a work. It’s all an own universe.
How would you describe yourself as a film maker?
I have a huge love for real analogue film, especially 16mm film. I love road movies, love stories, montages of live. Mixture of surreal and reality. Moving poems.
Tell us about your music project Lone Deer Laredo and especially about its name?
It’s a folk-rock duo and the music is a mixture of traditional songwriting, Slavic and Americana elements. I have a musical background, but that has been put aside because of all other things. I felt for a long time that something was missing and I knew it was the music. I compose the songs and write lyrics with my duo partner, Olli Happonen. We just played at Paris Fashion Week, Madrid plus in Texas SXSW festivals.
The name is a mixture of all the worlds I have put together also in my visuals. Lone is all about Slavic melancholia, deer is about the nature and Finnish forests and Laredo brings the hint of the Americana to it. But what is most important, Laredo was the name of my dad’s first jeans label when he started his jeans factory back in the 60 ́s. I grew up with wearing flare bottom corduroy Laredo pants.
You’re also a founder of Superwood Festival which will be organized in autumn. How would you describe the festival?
It’s an autumn sleepover festival, an adventure and art experience. It’s like a summerhouse weekend in the city, childhood’s forest camp and a Twin Peaks experience put together. The Hotel Rantapuisto, where it’s held, is a monument of Finnish 60 ́s architecture, in the middle of woods, by the sea. There is 24/7 program, music, speakeasy, fortunetellers by the campfire, movies, poets etc… It ́s something to just come and experience.
What are you currently working with?
I just got back from Paris where we had Ivana Helsinki’s 20th year anniversary catwalk show at the Haute Couture fashion week. That was a huge work to put together 100 pieces of handmade clothes. Now doing some after math after the show, then a small holiday roundtrip around Finland and then I start to finish my next feature film script. It’s about men’s rights and real equality.
Which places in Helsinki reflect your design & art brand Ivana Helsinki the most?
For me the best art is nature and silence. Like Villinki island and all the other little islands. The most beautiful place is Kallvik. I also love Marjaniemi district and the whole eastern part of Helsinki: the roughness, gardens, sea and endless cycle of the seasons to be explored.