The Art Trail

a journey to explore the world of art & creativity around us

Looking Up

I took this photo of Ateneum’s ceiling a few months back. I like finding shapes and angles that surprise me in composition. Although I am very far from being a photographer. I mostly do it for my own mental snapshots. And sometimes also for work.

Sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon, listening to piano sounds and with a coffee close by, I felt like writing again on my own blog. I have been purposely and stubbornly neglecting it for a long time because I have concentrated on writing here instead.

Somehow in my mind it was an “either, or” type of situation and I felt like I need to choose, because the other project is also partly a child of mine. I realized though that I don’t need to choose, because the purpose of my personal blog is completely different. That is, to share some of my thoughts on what I discover – mostly in art, but also in creative spaces, people and ideas around me. To put in my two pennies worth, how the English say.

I also realized that it is not important to me whether I have 2 readers or 1000 a day on my own blog. I have never written paid pieces, it’s not really my style and I would feel uneasy doing so. I do not intend to cash in on my blog and thus have no pressure in gaining readership. If there are a few souls out there who want to share these artsy, quasi-philosophical ramblings with me I am happy.

There’s a lot of noise in media and everywhere around us. Having spent most of my studying and working years in areas surrounding communications, I know how challenging it is to gain any kind of traction today. With every post we post, with every like, with every follow, there is a sense of self-worth that goes hand-in-hand with it. Regardless if the entity behind the post is an organization, a company or an individual.

So perhaps with my own blog I can have the luxury not to have this pressure. To write for the pleasure of writing, but with the possibility to share these thoughts with others who might be interested, unlike writing in a diary.


I was thinking the past few days that it’s such a pity that the concept of blogging became something so commercial. When you say “blogger” there is an automatic association with brands being interested in what you write and ways of motivating you to do so. But there are a number of blogs who do write to promote art or culture or thoughts without the commercial aspect. I admire the people behind them and the time they invest in writing really good quality articles.

One blog that I follow is Brain Pickings – that a friend once introduced to me. At the time I felt completely ignorant for not knowing about it earlier. The founder of Brain Pickings, Maria Popova, writes what I would call essays, rather than blog posts – on literature, arts and culture and she has written for highly respected publications such as The New Yorker.

The readership access is donation-based only and the writer gets some revenue from books that are bought on her blog via Amazon links. It might still have a commercial side, but the content is not paid content. It’s written from the genuine interest and love for literature. I would recommend a read if you’re not already subscribed to her Sunday newsletter.

To come back to where I started – and elucidate the not-so-mysterious mystery of the Ateneum ceiling photo  – I chose it as a metaphor of my own art trail this year, a trail that’s pointed upwards, in discovery and bewilderment.

Ever since January 2016, I have visited many times Helsinki’s museums and galleries, have had numerous, insightful conversations with artists in their ateliers, coffee shops, exhibition openings and other art-related events.

Autumn finally came, with its scent of melancholy and meditation, and brought the urge to look back and be grateful for the fact that I have finally chosen a working path that fits me as a glove. I love what I do every single day.

For that reason alone – yes, things are Looking Up.

/ A bientôt, Alex

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