Mirka Hokkanen

Nature and animals have always been fascinating to Mirka Hokkanen. Since she was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1979 and could walk, she has played in the woods and explored the variety of wildlife that existed around her. After moving to Illinois, USA, from Finland in 1998 her appreciation and closeness to nature grew even more as an international student far away from the lakes and forests that she was accustomed to.

Mirka took her first printmaking class as a freshman in college and hasn’t stopped printing since. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rockford University, Rockford, IL, in 2002, and Master of Art (2004) and Master of Fine Arts (2006) degrees from University of Dallas, in Irving, TX. (All degrees with a concentration in printmaking.) Since graduation Mirka has worked as a fulltime artist exhibiting work both nationally and internationally. In addition to showing her work on a regular basis, she has attended art fairs, been on panels at conferences, curated exhibitions and taught a variety of classes and lectures in printmaking, drawing and art history. She currently lives in TX with her husband and two wild kids.

Hokkanen uses a variety of printmaking, drawing and painting techniques in her art; depending on what media she thinks will best convey the message she is trying to communicate. Currently the main media employed in her work is relief printing; linocuts and wood engravings. Through her work Hokkanen hopes to convey her love and fascination towards nature and wake up the viewers senses to it. She is interested in the shapes animals make, the relationships we have with them, and capturing undulating and swirling fur/feather patterns. In addition to images of animals, Hokkanen’s art is often imbued with a second dimension of subtle humor that reflects her personality. As a whole, her body of work is varied and particular attention is paid to all the hands-on technical aspects of creating an original hand pulled print that will delight the audience with its skill and wit.

The subject of my art has always been animals and nature. Living inside air-conditioned boxes and noses buried in our lives many of us don’t take time to venture out into nature and discover what it has to offer. Little sublime moments are strangely sobering. I will never be able to capture how awesome, beautiful and varied creation is around us, but I am doing my best to make footnotes. These little studies are well translated from my head to paper in detailed engravings, relief cuts and sometimes drawings. I am fascinated by; the shapes created by animals as they live, the relationships we have with them and the undulating and swirling fur/feather patterns. Through printmaking I hope to turn the viewers senses on to the wonderful living things around us.

Amanda Fortinberry