Illustrator Riikka Laakso describes her work as colorful, graphical, and conceptual. Based around simple shapes and minimal compositions, her work is also very approachable, making it commercially appealing but without losing its artistic edge.
Born in a small city in Finland, Laakso now resided in Berlin, Germany, where she also earned her Masters in Illustration at the Berlin University of Arts. “I always thought that it doesn’t matter where you live as a freelancer in today’s digital world,” she shared in an interview with Sense of Creativity, “but in the past few years I have worked with many Berlin-based clients and therefore Berlin has had an influence on my work and advancement as an illustrator.”
Laakso is also a member of the German illustration collective Parallel Universe and publishes her own zines and books in small editions. “The most fascinating thing about illustration to me is the ability to reach people instantly, on a primal level, and elicit a reaction,” she notes. “It could be a smile, feelings of anger or perhaps just triggering thought.”
According to Laakso, though the aesthetics of an illustration naturally affect how people react to it, she herself is more interested in the ideas behind the images. “The conceptualization process of my illustrations is what I enjoy most but at the same time can be most challenging,” she says. “Sometimes it almost feels like mathematics, as if I need to find solutions to questions which can be dizzying. Even so, it’s a great feeling and I love what I do.”
You can see more of her work on her Instagram page.