Weekly Bubbling is a new Helsinki Design Weekly series of articles presenting up-and-coming talents in the design world. The first in line is Helsinki-based illustrator and graphic designer Milena Huhta, known for her colourful and quirky pictures.
Welcome to read a whole new series of articles in Helsinki Design Weekly!
Weekly Bubbling brings up the talents that are sparkling just below the surface of the design world. We interview both newcomers and long-term professionals – most importantly focusing on their talents and potential. We are interested in people who are bound to become the next talk of the town. The person behind the stories is journalist Mimmi Pentikäinen.
The first in line is Helsinki-based illustrator and graphic designer Milena Huhta, who creates worlds of colours and dreams of illustrating an erotic short story.
How did you become an illustrator?
As a child, I always drew monsters and wedding couples, the groom always half the size of the bride. I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, so there is no single moment in my life of which I could say: “That is when I became an illustrator”.
At first, illustration and sketching were my way of self-expression. Now art is my way of digesting and redressing the world. I address melancholy and sexuality in a cute but quirky way.
What is your working method?
Ideas come to me quickly, and I need to write them down immediately because I am so forgetful.
I always start by collecting reference pictures, whether of a personal style I’ve seen on the internet or a particular environment. Sketching takes most of my time, and I attend to this phase carefully in order to make finalisation fast. I draw by hand using a felt pen or pen and ink. After that I scan the drawing and colour it on the computer. I do most of my colouring digitally.
How does it look at your studio right now?
I work at home. The best features of my studio are my home and my fridge. I am currently working on a joint exhibition with Eero Lampinen to be opened in the autumn. This year has been the year of collaboration, which is fine.
Do you have a style guru or an artistic idol?
I am a fan of many Japanese artists. The first that come to mind are Yoshitaka Amano, Takato Yamamoto and Junko Mizuno. It is particularly important for me to create a narrative in my illustrations, and each of these artists is a master at that. I am fascinated by Amano’s expressiveness and freedom, and I bow to Yamamoto and Mizuno for the unique worlds they have created and for their attention to detail.
My favorite modern illustrator is David Rappeneau. I admire his quirky fish-eye perspective, apathetic storytelling, and his use of colours.
What kind of images and prints do you like?
I am attracted to dark, gothic esthetics and related cliché-like visual subjects. They involve tempting drama and mystical, sententious somberness. I scoop plenty of inspiration from popular culture, especially cinema. My favourite film genre is science fiction. Fashion, paranormal and folklore imagery are a boundless source of kicks for me. I want to leave a print that speaks to people with a unique, quirky voice.
What do you dream about, professionally?
I wish I would get a chance to brainstorm and illustrate an erotic, visual short story for women. Most of the existing erotic content is targeted at males, so there is a clear need for this field of thought. I do not yet have an author for the short story, so collaboration initiatives are welcome!
Are you black and white or colourful?
Colours mean a lot to me, but my relation to them is contradictory. I love the abundance of colours, but at the same time, I’d like to completely ignore them in my work.
I mainly dress in black, my favourite colour. Pink is my comfort colour, conveying security and strength.
Who do you follow on Instagram?
I mainly follow the illustrators whose works and style I love. The best of them are @eerolampinen, @katritikkanen, @cult_of_dang and @jonnnynegron.
What is the most important thing in your life right now?
Love and self-expression. To be able to be myself. I dream of faraway countries, lunch breaks, and, optimistically, a fabulous future.
Helsinki Design Week’s theme this year is Better. What kind of a world would be better for you?
A typical question for a Miss Universe contestant! A better world would lack capitalism, misogynism, and all types of discrimination based on sex or sexlessness.
I hope that future will take place in a world where food and clothing can be sustainably produced without any livestock farming.
The illustrator me would be happy about a future where dreams come true and deities come alive and integrate with technology.