This week One Quart celebrates the Helsinki Comics Festival and the joy of the visual narrative with a series of artists who we think you should know better – hand picked by Karstein Volle. Today we feature Heikki Rönkkö.
Karstein Volle: Hi, how are you?
Heikki Rönkkö: In the middle of a day of writing emails, applications and such instead of getting any so-called real work done. Comfortably warm, well-fed, and not totally broke. Good.
KV: Of all the more lucrative and less work intensive disciplines within the visual arts field, why comics?
HR: It might sound silly that after thinking about this very question for pretty much all my adult life, the best answer I’ve managed to formulate boils down to: It’s one of the few things that I enjoy doing and feel some kind of ambition in.
…the best answer I’ve managed to formulate boils down to: It’s one of the few things that I enjoy doing and feel some kind of ambition in.
KV: What is your dream project?
HR: I don’t know if there is any one specific thing, for me it’s always “The Next One.” Specifically that giddy period of conception when your ideas are not fully formed yet, just fuzzy vague things that feel full of promise and the actual humdrum grind of actually shaping them into coherent work, keeping up with schedules and worrying about the logistics of publishing have not watered your conviction down into a lukewarm hope of just getting it done.
Luckily for me, the period of conception can last for months since I like to take my time with things… a note here, another a week later, keeping that fire simmering. Hence, it’s also necessary to have multiple projects going on all the time, in various stages of development, but I guess this applies to pretty much everyone else as well?
KV: Tell me about an unfinished project of yours. No matter if it’s going to be finished, in progress or if it crashed and burned.
HR: I don’t think anything crashes and burns completely… maybe it’s thriftiness but I do like to salvage and recycle things from unfinished throwaway stuff, there’s always something that’ll find life in some other context, no matter how mutilated or mutated.
But to the point. At the moment the main thing I’m working on is my next book, ASDF Boot. It’s another silent story of existential slapstick, set in apocalyptic times on a submarine… mainly it’s a kind of a family tale. Aiming to be a kind of commentary on the unfortunate consequences of irresponsibility, on an interpersonal level as well as civilization-wide. You know, modest themes.
…mainly it’s a kind of a family tale. Aiming to be a kind of commentary on the unfortunate consequences of irresponsibility, on an interpersonal level as well as civilization-wide. You know, modest themes.
It’s my first time working on a longer piece in full color and I find myself leaning towards some kind of a bastard ligne claire style, although the visual language I’m trying to employ is actually more inspired by 90s point’n’click adventure games than anything else… this might not make a whole lot of sense, described verbally? Trust my word, I’m onto something. The book’ll be out sometime in 2018 with any luck, so you can judge then.
KV: Where will all this end?
HR: There’ll be a rousing and catchy tune and then the curtain will come down. The audience will leave for drinks and the theater shall be permanently closed.
Heikki Rönkkö (b. 1983) is a comic artist born and raised in Kajaani, Finland. He likes to do silent comics with a jolly disregard of genre, an emphasis on structural experimentation and a probably quite futile objective of portraying profound ethical and philosophical themes through slapstick tomfoolery. Alongside his personal artistic work, Rönkkö is an active member of contemporary comics association and artist collective Kutikuti.
He still does graphic design work to make ends meet as well, but his heart is not really in it anymore.
Rönkkö’s debut album Phases was released in 2016 in Finland and Poland. His newest comics zine/print series Homo locus is out now.
Currently he leads a life cocooned in a routine of food, stimulus and response in Helsinki.