Lakes International Comic Art Festival Spotlight: Taina Hakala

Finnish artist Taina Hakala

Finnish artist Taina Hakala

One event that some might just overlook at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival is a talk by Finnish artist Taina Hakala, a mainly self-taught artist working on comics, painting, collage and textile art.

She’ll be hosting about her work an event on Sunday 12th October in the Comics Clock Tower which didn’t make it into the Festival Programme as her appearance was dependent on a number of factors which only came together after it went to print.

Schjerfbeck BY Taina Hakala Schjerfbeck BY Taina Hakala Schjerfbeck BY Taina Hakala Schjerfbeck BY Taina HakalaTaina has participated in several group exhibitions such as the RIKKI project, art about mental health (with exhibitions in Finland and in Berlin, Germany), Mums’ Collective (exhibitions in Finland), Girl Gang International (exhibitions in Angoulême, France, collaboration with groups from United States, Britain and Finland). In 2014 , he had a private exhibition for her collage art series, Sometimes I See Clearly in Helsinki.

In her cut-and-paste collages, Taina combines images from the shiny world of strict beauty norms in women’s magazines, adding cuttings from animal encyclopaedias to create surreal visions – playing with the basic emotions of fear, envy and the need to be noticed and seen.

Her comics have been published in zines (Mums’ Collective and Namifetsi in Finland, Dotterbolaget in Sweden), magazines (Kuti, Ananda – the latter a magazine about yoga) and anthologies (Girl Gang International, RIKKI).

Lately she has been working on histories of women artists, but has also made comics about beauty expectations, mental health issues, gender roles and family life. In her documentary comics, she often shows her love and bitter sense of humour for everyday life.


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The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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