Born in 1983 in Järvenpää Finland, the Finnish artist actually spent most of her life in Belgium before coming back in Järvenpää these recent years.
Art: from a simple hobby to a career plan
During her quiet childhood and adolescence in Brussels, Anna-Maija was practising art as an extra curriculum activity. Even if she liked these classes, she always considered art as a hobby, in spite of her professors’ encouragements. To every person who asked, the answer was the same: “I will never become an artist”.
Indeed, after graduating high school with an artistic option, the young Anna-Maija had one -official- dream: becoming a managing controller. I burst into laughter after she first confessed me her old desires. I am personally comfortable with this job since it is one of my major in university. However, I had spoken with the artist a few times already and cannot picture her in such environment. Not surprised by my reaction, she explained me her old choice. She liked mathematics; managing controller appears as a stable employment; and this idea pleased her father. It was thus naturally that she went in a management school. Fortunately, she became gradually less and less motivated and starts drawing at the back of the amphitheatre.
Looking for a new path and thinking about reorient herself in Biology, one day has changed her life. At the time, Anna-Maija had created and maintained a website with her drawings. One time, a pizzaoilo liked her work and ordered her a landscape painting. The exact same day, she bumped into an old classmate that told her about his art school and how he loves it. This day was the turning point: Anna-Maija decided to become an artist.
Path in the Royal Fine Arts Academy of Brussels
Convincing her father that art was her destiny was not easy but after a few month of negotiations and preparation for the entrance exam, Anna-Maija entered the most prestigious art school of Brussels: the Royal Fine Art Academy of Brussels. Moreover, her father became a real help and encourages her a lot.
Her studies mostly learned her different art’s technique. As every study journey, Anna-Maija’s one was punctuated with times of doubt and questioning. However some events reassured her with her choice. For instance, she was sometimes chosen to represent her school for art contests.
The Godecharle Prize : another turning point in her artist life
In 2009, Anna-Maija won the first prize at the Godecharle art contest for young painters, architects and sculptors. She participated with three pieces of art.
One of these, the Ebb, which is exposed above a mirror, causes sensation of dizziness. The painter is really proud of this work, which pleased its spectators by the confusion that it provokes. Indeed, the reflect effect let the customer admire the painting as both the see and the mountain.
Anna-Maija Rissanen, The Ebb, 2007, reproduced with kind permission of the artist
At this contest, several spectators and jury told Anna-Maija that her work looks like Chinese art. Since she has never studied or read about this type of art, she was really surprised. Thus, she decided to deep this aspect of her work through reading and finally chooses to spend her winner’s scholarship to study traditional Chinese painting at the China Art Academy in Hangzhou for one year (2012-2013).
Anna-Maija’s current life in a nutshell
Since her identity return in Finland, Anna-Maija’s life is busy. Besides paintings, she is deeply involved in Järvenpää’s art life. Indeed, she teaches traditional Chinese art, as well as Western technique in two schools. Furthermore she presides two associations: the art association of Järvenpää and the Junior Chamber International (JCI) of Järvenpää.
Anna-Maija’s background impacts widely on her way of working, her vision of art and what she likes to explore and share. Curious? Stay tuned for future articles!