Nepal - KIAF - From Kuhmo to Kathmandu

Old piano - Kuhmo, Finland 2011

Some time in the summer of 2011 way up in the middle of Finland I started working on an artwork that was a bit of new direction for me. Using my iPhone camera was rapidly becoming my favorite way to work spontaneously. It had all the advantages of a small compact camera, except it was smaller and more compact!

My wife is a flea market junkie. I am not. I tolerate them when we are together, and can even engage in 'people watching' when the mass of seemingly unrelated contents of the tables become too much to focus on.

But on that bright and sunny summer's day in that remote Finnish music festival town of Kuhmo I found myself with a new passion - and a new obsession.

There are of course several flea markets scattered around every Finnish town and village and if you have the 'nose' then finding them isn't a problem. In this particular one I was drawn into a blue room, radiant with the penetrating summer sun and discovered several trays filled with children's toys.

Portrait of an Amazon Arrow Frog - Kuhmo - Finland 2011

And so I started taking portraits - untangling the mess of jumbled up animals, dusting them off, finding a small corner of a shelf or tray away from the glaring light and finding their 'best side' for a shot. It wasn't long before the frustrations of a low battery put an end to the session and I was off to a local cafe - but the seed for my work was sewn that sunny afternoon between those delightful airy chamber music concerts, and for several months I found myself wandering through dozens of these flea markets in search of abandoned toys.

In all the process took about 5 months, but the idea for the name 'Endangered Species' came sometime during those dark autumn days. And then the notice for submissions to the 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) came to my postbox - and even before the work was finished I had put in the application to take part in this exciting collaboration with artists from all over the world.

And so tomorrow the flea market junkie and I depart for Kathmandu to take part in this great festival on the theme 'Earth, Body, Mind' and explore as much of Nepal as time permits. 'Endangered Species' has already arrived - several weeks ago after debuting with Epson Europe at Photokina in Köln.

'Endangered Species' at Epson - Photokina 2012

Just how I decided to put this thing together I'll tell a bit later. For now its still time to pack a few things and print some small gifts. Its getting dark here in Finland and as I write this the days are still getting shorter and the snow can't make up its mind whether to stay or not.

Map of Nepal
Tomorrow we are on the move - a short hop to Sweden, then Qatar and on to Kathmandu. See you next in the foothills of the Himalayas!

Check out the web pages of KIAF - 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival 2012