20 September 2012

Helsinki Comics Festival 2012

The 27th Helsingin sarjakuvafestivaalit took place from 07.-09.09.2012, but it took us some time to recover, so only now we give you our photo report.

It all started with a tough workout. If you've ever attended a comics festival you know it is physically very challenging and you have to be very well prepared. So we went to the outdoor fitness park at Lake Töölönranta.
There was like a huge I-pad with instructions how to get fit.

We tried to read the app in Swedish: Kom i form! Sanita was quite successful...

 ... while David realized he might not be 100% ready for the festival to come.
So after this not completely succesfull preparation we went to meet our host.
Petri Koikkalainen, one of the festival co-organizers, turned out to be a rabbit. Unfortunately we didn't bring him any Latvian carrots, but will remember it for our next visit.
So while we had some well-deserved free time before the festival really started, some of the artists were already hard at work drawing giant comics. Above you can see Mattias Elftorp from Sweden. And below Elina Beekmann is making sure that Latvian Ingrida Pičukāne keeps working.
We went further to see the city. One of the most remarkable things in Helsinki are the clubs.
But instead of watching God Given Ass we decided to stick to our plan and visit the opening of Dominique Goblet's exhibition. The third option was going to sauna, where the invited publishers were sweating and eating fish soup.
After seeing this very impressing exhibition we went to eat local Nepalese food and then visited the Kuti party. Good that we didn't take any pictures there - don't remember anything what happened there, so it must have been fun!
The next day it was time to work, meaning, sitting in the huge festival tent and representing kuš!.
We had the pleasure to have a table next to Marcel Ruijters, who was filling up his sketchbook.
Also at the same spot were Herr Hinz, Max Baitinger, Ward Zwart, Søren Glosimodt MosdalZven Balslev, who we didn't manage to capture in picture. But above you can see our table neighbors Sindre Wexelsen Goksøyr and Bendik Kaltenborn from Dongery gossiping with Jyrki Heikkinen. (Don't you just love all these funny sounding names? And we didn't even yet mention comics specialist Harri Römpötti who co-curated the Kiasma Comics show...)
And this is us, happily smiling behind our table for three full days. In case you missed us there, you can still buy our komikss from our webshop, but if you are more interested in the soviet buttons, like most festival visitors, then you need to wait for the next Helsinki Festival.
The following evening we spent at the Eyballing exhibition in Kiasma. Certainly one of the highlights of the the festival. Unfortunately we missed most other exhibitions, as the days we spent behind our table.
 This is an embroidered comics by Hanneriina Moisseinen.
 Here you see Paula Bulling in front of Marko Turunen's work.
And here is comics traveler Gregor Hinz looking at a huge work by comics poet Jyrki Heikkinen.
 Finally also eyeballs... by Kati Kovács.
And what would a contemporary comics exhibition be without unicorns? Katja Tukkiainen's unicorn also moved it's eyes! There were many more great works there which we didn't shoot. The full artist list of the exhibit you can find here: http://www.kiasma.fi/calendar/eyeballing/artists
The next day we had a great breakfast-brunch with Patricia Hansen-Wagner, Juan Echeverri and Magda Nowicka at the Goethe Institute. Hopefully the festival can convince them to make breakfast everyday next year!
But the main reason for the breakfast was the opening of Paula Bulling's exhibition of her excellent Book Im Land der Frühaufsteher. The blurry photo represents our blurry eyes in the early morning.
Remember the wall paintings? Well, here they are finished! Ingrida Pičukane is proudly posing in front of her monumental work on Lasipalatsi.
Mari Ahokoivu blew up two big panels from the tiny š! #8, our special Finnish issue, which we made for last year's festival, but only came around to present this year.

Well and there were also events, where we didn't take pictures and also lots of lovely people we met who were either too shy or not so photogenic. However, it was a very amazing festival with very great books and a bunch of great happenings. David also talked a bit about Latvian comics history and kuš! in Koikkalainen's super comics show and another important event we took part was a panel discussion with Kalle Hakkola about the upcoming CUNE comics residencies. The comics residencies are for artists from the Baltic Sea Region - Baltic States, Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands and they will take place next spring in Helsinki, Tallinn and also Riga! Find more info and apply here.

What else happened in Helsinki? A lot of quality time we spent in the orange metro. In the following picture you can hardly see Estonia's comics legend Joonas Sildre...
...while Latvian legend Ingrida tortured Petri's duct tape guitar...
... and Paula (did you already click this link?) was drawing Sanita.
The last evening we enjoyed a round table local Chinese food dinner together with a dozen of other guests, all of whom didn't fit in Paula Bulling's sketchbook:
From left to right there are Patricia Hansen-Wagner, Martin Ernstsen, Gregor Hinz, Mattias Elftorp and Heidi Somero. Good food and a good company, that's what a great comics festival is all about.
But we only left Helsinki after Turkish Peber shopping with our old buddy, local comics artist and candy expert Mikko Väyrynen (he even makes some of his comics with candy! click click).

Well that's it! We enjoyed it a lot and managed not to spill vodka in anyone's face this time and of course we are already looking forward to the 28th edition of this very inspiring festival! Paljon kiitoksia to everyone who made this happen!

 Generously supported by Nordic Culture Point

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