Like something out of a dream, Pete Revonkorpi’s art is both magical and innocent, drawing from childlike ideas to create a mystical world that seems to lie just beyond our grasp. He tells authors Linda Hellfritsch and Daryl Wise in Secrets of Corel Painter Experts, that although he’s been drawing his whole life, professionally he started painting quite late in life – at the ‘tender’ age of 22.
“I have always wanted to be a writer and tell stories. When I realized that the kinds of stories I wanted to tell were what people call ‘children’s stories’, I also realized that I would need illustrations,” he explains, “So I decided to learn how to illustrate—to learn how to tell stories through pictures. Since then, my works have been published in numerous Finnish newspapers and magazines. I have also created other illustrated works, such as CD cover art.”
His work has an ethereal quality to it and beautifully emulates the textures and shadings of real life canvas paintings, creating waves of air between fluffy, pink clouds in pieces like A Sea… and Knitter. The simplicity of his work is a wonderful rarity in this day and age, with so many exciting colours and complex designs bombarding us on a daily basis. And it’s not just an outworking of his personal style or taste. Revonkorpi himself believes in telling a story with clarity and innocence.
“I try not to put anything extra in my paintings — only what is absolutely necessary,” he explains. “I try to strip my thoughts and emotions completely naked. Although I often use clever concepts in my paintings, they are not really what the painting is all about. It is all about the emotion the painting evokes — or doesn’t evoke. For example, I can use the colour blue to create a sad feeling in the painting, but I can also use a sad concept to do that. The concept of a painting is really just another one of its colours.”
But that’s not all this multi-talented man is capable of. In 2009, the Finnish artist began working with a musician to create what they call ‘living and singing paintings’. Together they combine live, digital painting with live music to tell a story both visually and aurally. And if you thought this was unique, there’s more. His creative process seems to have the same fluidity to it as his otherworldly paintings. As he explains to Animation World Network:
“I often start with a little idea of what I am going to do. I might have a certain shade of colour that I want to use — but anything beyond that is a mystery to me. I usually just start to slam colours and shapes together without care, and pretty soon some blob of colour starts looking like something — maybe a boat. Next, I ask myself questions about the boat. Is the boat sinking? Is it just drifting, or is it going somewhere? Who are the passengers? And so on. So, actually, I don’t really paint a painting; I just try to find it under all that white.
We can learn much from Pete Revonkorpi’s creativity and view of life, too, it would seem. When asked where he derives his ideas and inspiration from, he shares perhaps his greatest secret: “Anything can be inspirational. As long as you can see the invisible side of things, there is magic everywhere.”
Vanishing Act I
The Falling Leafs Girl