Marika Rosenius is an autodidact wood artist originally from Finland, currently living and working in Zurich, Switzerland. Her paintings are inspired by the nature scape of her native land, Finland. The paintings are ‘botanical illusions’ which resemble traditional paintings but on closer look are three-dimensional with a vivid and illusory texture. Her artwork as she says, “is deeply influenced by the chaotic order and the complexity of Nature which is the inspiration at the core.” The paintings are representations of beautiful forests with Marika’s intuitive process on wood bringing out beautiful flora and fauna which is further finished by painting layers of acrylic colours to give that traditional painting touch.
Since I started painting, I wanted to work with wood in some way and Eureka, there it was! I had finally discovered my own unique style by combining my two great passions, my love for working with wood together with painting as a form of expression.
In the current scenario, where many of us are disconnected from Nature, Marika’s work is sure to bring a sense of tranquillity and calming energy. Her work is a reflection of deep harmony with Nature, “a bond that goes well beyond language” as she would say. The ‘illusory nature scapes’ are Marika’s brainchild, inspired by her native Finland, filled with an earthy colour palette and giving positive and warming vibes. In our interview with Marika, she shares how her journey started, idea conceptualization and how Nature has been her biggest inspiration.
AN EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MARIKA ROSENIUS WITH ARTS TO HEARTS PROJECT
1. Marika, Can I say your artwork is a ‘wood spell’? They resemble traditional paintings but on closer inspection, the surface is three-dimensional with an illusion of texture. How did it all come together, from a Cabinet Maker to a Wood Artist?
My creative calling started in 1998 in London where I studied cabinet making and found working with wood pure magic. After relocating to Switzerland in 2000 I found a job as a carpenter, however, it came with a lot of
challenges. It was physically often very challenging, also I was not enjoying working with man-made boards which is, unfortunately, the trend nowadays. A few years later, I found myself on a painting course by pure coincidence and had difficulties grasping why on earth I had signed up for something which I had absolutely
no skills for or at least I was told this by my high school teacher. It turned out that this painting course was a tremendous revelation for me and came to change my entire life. I was fortunate to have a very creative teacher who inspired me to experiment with everything and anything and to think outside the box. It took me quite
some years until I understood why I had signed up for this course. I believe everything happens for a reason and in my case, it came to my rescue during a very challenging time in my life. As I see it, sometimes frustration and challenges are necessary for life. In 2016, after some years of experimenting with various materials and techniques on canvas, I was given the opportunity to exhibit my works at a major art fair in Montreux. The only
problem was that, up until 6 weeks before the exhibition, due to a creative block, I had absolutely nothing to show that I could have hung on the walls. I was so furious at myself that I went into my studio where I found a piece of wood and started hitting it with some sharp tools quite vigorously. Since I started painting, I wanted to work with wood in some way and Eureka, there it was! I finally discovered my unique style by combining my two great passions, my love for working with wood together with painting as a form of expression.
2. Marika your artworks are charming, creating magic with wood. How do you conceptualize your ideas?
Conceptually, my interest in landscape as an artistic theme is to remove it from its reality, thus giving it another spirit, a different reality, frequently with a mystical ambience. I want each piece to develop intuitively and express emotion, movement and energy with spontaneous gestural marks. I usually try to have an approach of capturing everything with a sense of urgency before it vanishes. This somewhat rushed approach is arguably born out of my general lack of patience when it comes to starting and finishing a painting. There is always an element of the unexpected, which is an aspect of the process that I love. I have learned to trust myself that the flow of not planning too much in advance will eventually lead me to a result that I am satisfied with.
Just as life experience etches itself on the human body, the knots and the intendations of a tree represent how it too has weathered over time and this makes each tree unique.
3. So you give texture to your paintings by carving wood and using wood shavings for a 3-D effect. How do you think ‘Nature’ inspired your work?
I`m a full-time wonderer of nature and find it the most amazing artwork itself giving me a lot of energy but also calming me down. I still have strong roots in Finland. Nature there is so special and beautiful; it awakens and fine-tunes my all senses. The clear light up in the North is special, those colours, the earthy smells, the flora and fauna. Every stroll out in the wild fills me with so much energy. I need that connection. That is where my source is, where my art stems from.
4. So, Marika, you work with different tools to give the ‘illusory texture’ to your artwork. I am curious to know, What collection of tools do you have in your atelier?
There must be more than 100 different kinds of chisels, saws, knives, steal brushes and planers in my atelier by now. I love to experiment and find new tools. Whenever I´m visiting a hardware store I always seem to find more exciting and interesting tools to work with.
I sense an inseparable bonding with nature – a bond that goes well beyond language. It is this silent gesture that I strive to incorporate in my paintings which are constructed from fragments of thought, feeling, and memory
5. So, ‘ Workshop with Marika’, How would you describe the experience of teaching this magnetic work to your students? Do they need to have any prior knowledge? Please share some details.
As a former carpenter, my workshops consist of making wooden frames for artists. Frames usually can be a huge investment but in my opinion, gives a piece of art a professional look. No previous knowledge is needed and I will teach how to saw a mitre cut (45 degrees angle) with both a hand saw as well as a circular saw. Glueing, assembling, sanding and the option of painting or varnishing follow and the goal is that the students can make their frames independently afterwards. The safety measurements are of course of utmost importance, I would not recommend learning this skill online from a video.
Explore more about Marika and her artwork