“I do assume that an artist circles around his or her main theme – or themes – like a moth circles a bright and hot lamp at night-time: circling, going endless rounds, going away and returning. Finding this theme might take a full lifetime, with its ups and downs. My aim is to support you – as a colleague – in this process of searching, concentrating and editing from gut-feeling to conceptualization of content, whether you are in your final steps of completing a project – or considering your first steps towards visualizing your ideas.
I am also interested in your artist statement and how you verbalize your work. Writing, editing and re-writing your statement can be painful, just as written words might be only a fragile extension of your original thought. If we both find all this challenging and rewarding, we can consider the tailor-made mentoring programme.
Creating a portfolio, a compact and carefully edited form of presentation, can be an essential part of your creative process. The artist-to-artist feedback and support, I can give you, are based on more than two decades of working as a visual artist. Due to my substantial experience with curating, exhibitions, logistics, insurance, editions, production, presentation, books and collections, I can offer you an in-depth insight into international artistic practices.
Both the space and time for our meeting is limited. Please, prepare your presentation with that in mind. I do expect you to have several questions prepared for me. In English, please. Also be prepared to carefully state reasons for your work and its visual appearance, because I might ask you some apparently very simple and silly questions! Please also notice that throughout my career I have not been focusing on commercial photography, fashion or journalistic tasks.”
During the years, Ari Saarto has managed to juggle his artistic career and his work as a lecturer in History of Photography at various universities and art schools.
Ari was Principal Lecturer in Photography at the Lahti Institute of Design in Finland from 1996 to 2000. Since then, he has lectured in numerous art schools on his main topics: history of photography, contemporary photography, contemporary art and architectural photography. He has given workshops and courses at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki (TaiK) and Helsinki University of Technology (the two institutions are now merged into Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture), Lahti Institute of Design, Turku Academy of Arts (Finland), Estonian Academy of Arts (Tallinn, Estonia) and Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki.
A portfolio reviewer since the late 1990’s, Ari has also reviewed graduation thesis, been a member of the board at the Museum of Photography, Helsinki, and Chairman of the board at the The Photographic Artists’ Association, Finland, which runs the Gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki.
Ari is represented by Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo. He has exhibited extensively in Japan, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden. His works can be found in the collections of Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, collections of the State of Finland, collections of the Museum of Photography, Helsinki, collections of the Wihuri Foundation (Rovaniemi Art Museum), collections of the town of Kotka and private collections in Finland, Japan and USA.