Without seeking them, Finnish artist Jenny Rope finds forms and compositions that become the basis of her body of work, while creating rhythms to configure a piece of art to stare and admire. She defines herself as a very aesthetic person that can't stand living surrounded by ugly things. Drawing from this premise, Jenni's imaginary is full of bright colours and well-composed structures. So Jenni goes through life looking for inspiration without realizing, collecting shapes in her imaginary that she then applies unconsciously in her work. Welcome to the visual universe of Jenni Rope.
Tell us how your ideas emerge. Where do they come from?
I'm a very aesthetic person, I'm constantly finding things I like in nature, on the street, art, fashion, architecture, books, blogs, and actually I don't really notice collecting these visual things! But, when I start working with a piece, it all comes out of my brain in an intuitive way. That's the best way I can explain it. As a downside, I can't stand living with things I find ugly, so it can be a problem sometimes.
You say you are interested in accidental compositions that are obtained through shapes and colors. How do you provoke these accidents?
I like to find new shapes in leftover materials: if you cut a piece of paper, the leftover is quite often much more interesting than the piece you cut intentionally. Or the composition that you do when not really thinking about it can be much more natural than something that has been thought over too many times. I also like learning to use new materials that I'm not so good at, that's how I can make mistakes and accidentally find something that I wasn't even looking for.
With a background in graphic design, which is such a mechanical and digital discipline, what made you evolve to create things with your hands?
I've been going to kid's art school from a young age, where I have had the possibility to try and play with all materials, from clay to developing photos in the dark room. So I feel that the basis for being very interested in creating things with my own hands came early for me, and I knew that some kind of art was my thing. I decided to go to a graphic design school because of my interest in book design and illustration. I don't think it is mechanical and digital only, of course I've learnt to do that side of it as well, but all good design comes from sketching and drawing first. I think graphic design is very much about compositions, trying to find the rhythms and balance of the big picture.
Does it happen to you that, when you imagine a specific form, you automatically relate it with a concrete color or vice versa – like some kind of synesthesia?
Well, the form and colors are not the only things I think of, the material is very important too, so if I'm for instance painting elements for a mobile I need to think what material this color makes you think of, and if the contrast to that real material is good or bad.
Do your pieces have a therapeutic approach?
I did not plan to do therapeutic works, but as I was in the process of building my first mobile, I noticed I could just sit and stare at it for a long time, as it was slowly moving in the studio. So yes, the mobiles create a very meditative space that I'm using to develop an installation for my upcoming exhibition in September, at Huuto Gallery in Helsinki.
You develop your ideas in publications too, which specific options provides the book format?
I love books and the way they can create a room inside the pages. A book can be a little traveling exhibition everyone is able to afford. And they last longer too. I just enjoy the medium, and I'm very happy that the art book fairs are thriving around the world at the moment.
And you are the founder of a publishing house named Napa Books. Tell us a little bit of the main goals of this editorial project.
Napa Books has evolved from publishing comics to publishing art books and flip books, and at the moment I do mainly flip books. The concept is perfect, because it's bringing three of my favorite aspects together: illustration, books and animation. And the medium of flip-book is very special, I've been lately arranging some workshops with Napa Flip Book Kiosk and seeing kids making them is so much fun!
And to conclude, which is your favorite place in Helsinki to find inspiration?
I enjoy spending time reading at the beautiful Rikhardinkatu Library. Sometimes seeing other's works, even if they're something totally different than mine, can solve knots that I have in my own work, so a gallery tour around the city centre is my favorite thing to do.