The passion of visual artist Björk Hijoort, living in Helsinki, is introducing art to the public sphere and unconventional surfaces. The more visible the location, the wider the wall or the larger the window, the better.
Of Swedish and Greek origin, Björk uses painting as her primary medium and is known for her colorful works that often depict female or animal figures, plants, or fairytale moments.
Her next work of art will be featured on the display window of Marimekko’s Aleksinkulma store during the Helsinki Pride week. Working on the window painting, Björk is in her element, as she wants to bring art out from the galleries and the walls of private residences for everyone to see.
“Art belongs to everyone. You don’t have to understand art to enjoy it. Not all art is meant to be enjoyed, as long as it evokes emotions,” she says.
For Björk, the creative process is an abstract vortex that can be set off by the scent of morning coffee on the metro, for instance. Scents are great reminders of something familiar: a situation, story, or question.
When planning a piece, Björk may dive deep into herself or get to know symbolism or history. The outcome is a work of art with a massive amount of thoughts, ideas, and discussion behind it.
“My pieces are like zip files. They are packed with so much information,” she laughs.
Queerness as a strength
Being a queer artist provides Björk with a wider spectrum to play with. Through her art, she can take up space, express herself, and be vocal about these issues.
She describes the queer community as a safe place for her for building her own identity as well as being heard and seen as herself.
“Creatively thinking, the queer perspective makes me better. Queerness is not a choice, but even if it were, I’d choose it. I’m aware of how privileged I am to think like this.”
Encounters is the theme of Helsinki Pride 2022. The concept is prominently featured in Björk’s window painting for Marimekko.
The work will be displayed on the window of Marimekko Aleksinkulma during weeks 25 and 26, and in addition to encounters, it will emphasize the wide spectrum of gender expression and sexual orientation.
During the planning process, Björk pondered the beauty and significance of encounters.
“Through them, we create a basis for ourselves. Encounters are like mirrors because through others, we can see ourselves,” she says.
Björk’s goal is to create a work of art that combines paint and reflective materials and imitates a flowing river. The outcome will look slightly different from different directions. This means every spectator can experience the work of art in their own unique way – just like their identity.
“We are all the same because we are all different,” she concludes.
Helsinki Pride Week 2022 is celebrated from 27 June to 3 July.