TEXT: MARI KOSKINEN | PHOTOS © HANNU HILLI
A life-long career as an artist has taken Anneli Hilli through many phases. She gets her inspiration from the colours around her and experiments with new techniques with a passion, having taken part in many art exhibitions all over the world.
“I am intrigued by new materials and techniques,” Hilli explains. “It might take a few years of study until I feel that I am ready for an exhibition, and sometimes it does not lead to one. But yet the process is vital to me as an artist.” One of her newest experiments is using fish skins as printing material. “I catch my own fish with my partner. I like to think that I give the beautiful fish skins a new life by tanning the skin and using it in the art. It is still in early stages, and only time will tell if they will end up in an exhibition,” she says.
“Currently I have an exhibition at the Gallery Joella in Turku, which is showing until 10 March 2019,” Hilli says. “The inspiration for this exhibition came from colours, like it often does for me. I remember when I was just five years old, I got a box of coloured pencils as a present, and I fell in love with the intensive colours of them. But it was a disappointment to draw with them; the colours were thin and pale,” she sighs at the memory. “However, I think this triggered my interest in strong colours, as I remember that so vividly.”
She continues: “Today, I grow my own flowers at our cottage in Köyliö; both for us to enjoy and for our bees to forage. Our cottage is situated just outside a small village and the nature comes up very close to it. Once, there were five wolves just under our window, and I have also seen many deer and elks. It is a strong and primitive experience to see wildlife come into your own garden.”
In October 2018, Hilli was the artist of the month at Grafoteekki in Helsinki. Grafoteekki presents the sales collection of the Association of Finnish Printmakers. The collection is maintained by artists themselves, which guarantees its quality and reliability. “My exhibition at the Grafoteekki included abstract art inspired by mothers, or actually a line of 12 mothers since the 16th century.”
Hilli works both in her current hometown of Espoo and in Köyliö, where she has renovated an old school building into a studio that functions also as exhibition space in the summertime.