Artist-in-residence Mies Mikkonen

Mies Mikkonen is part of Tom of Finland Foundation’s Artist-in-Residence program. In 2011, he made a documentary about Tom of Finland.

I’m interested in creating metaphysical works where the laws of the imagination triumph over the laws of reality. I believe that art is still something that we don’t understand at all and something that probably has been very ill-defined in the past, mostly by art critics and theoreticians, whose minds are in a prison of academic rigidity. Starting from film school I’ve made movies with both fiction and documentary approaches. I’ve also taught and lectured on film, and I’m a regular writer for the Finnish exploitation/arthouse film publication Elitisti.

I have been tackling two projects both in pre-production. The primary one is an unusual documentary film I am going to direct called DREAMS OF THE BLIND. The film, utilizing multiple visual styles and to be shot on several formats, seeks to convey the experience of blind people regaining their sight and seeing inside their dreams. The film will be a very visually oriented one, with voice-over monologues spoken, and the text being based on interviews I have conducted with blind people. The end result seeks not to be a conventional movie, but more like a cinematic equivalent of the Visionary Art movement. Principal photography on the project will start later this year.

The second one is still more in development, and it is a philosophical science fiction feature film that’s to be directed by my mentor, film-maker Maria Ruotsala. So basically my regiment has been to write these two screenplays while I’m here enjoying the California sun – and doing anything else creative that pops into mind, natürlich. TOM House is a Mecca for the connoisseur and all the folks here are terrific.


Mies with his Pixelvision in TOM House.

Currently, before leaving I am creating a short film shot on TOM House for the Foundation’s collection, using the PXL-2000 Pixelvision camera, a toy camcorder from the 1980s, which records B/W moving images into audio cassettes (!). This camera was a flop in its initial release, but has developed a cult reputation starting from the early 1990s with a wildly different demographic than the one it was intended for: experimental and underground film-makers. It seems a fitting instrument to create an homage to the place where I’ve dwelled the past couple o’ months. -MMM


Meet TOM House artist-in-residence – Stuart Sandford

Stuart is currently staying at Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles.

Stuart and new friend.

Stuart and new friend.

He’s a young artist we met in London who works with the male form and is creating a series of statues titled Sebastian that is inspired by the myth of Narcissus, and Antinous (Emperor Hadrian’s lover).

STUART SANDFORD, Sebastian, 2014, Painted steel, 8' x 4' x 2.5', © Stuart Sandford

STUART SANDFORD, Sebastian, 2014, Painted steel, 8′ x 4′ x 2.5′, © Stuart Sandford

Stuart would like to meet you, and you can view his work here. Please email him and say “hello”.