Letter from Finland

For this new issue of Letter from… column, we asked toonpool.com artist Jani Viljanmaa about his life and begged for some photographs of his working place and the city he lives nearby – Riihimäki, that literally means “Drying barn hill”. Jani doesn’t know Santa personally, but he was close to dancing with Wolves, like Kevin Costner. Wolves, yes, and eagle owls, elks, deer, foxes, raccoon dogs, badgers, all could be characters in Jani’s horror stories he plans to write. Find out more from his letter!

Nobel prize for cuteness

1. Which movie/TV character you see yourself as and why?

The Joker. Of course he`s originally a comic book character, but anyway… He`s a stylish guy, laughs a lot and his views about human society are very similar to mine. “Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for… it’s all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can’t you see the funny side? Why aren’t you laughing”?

2. Next plans or ideas?

No plans, really. I try to avoid making plans, because they have a tendency to transform into compulsions and I have enough of those already. The only thing I`d like to do is to publish a collection of horror stories. I have plenty of them ready, and some are actually quite good.

3. Your food today?

I just ate, thanks for asking. *burp* Mashed potatoes, onions and liver. I love liver. Liver is the best. If you don`t trust me, ask Dr. Lecter!

4. Do you like your place or would you like to live somewhere else?

I live near town of Riihimäki – not too near, though – and the location itself is great. It`s quite peaceful here and a huge forest area begins almost from the yard. There are hares, all sorts of birds (an eagle owl used to hang around right behind the house), elks, deer, foxes, raccoon dogs, badgers… I`m not sure about bears, but a couple of winters ago there was talk about wolves being seen by some locals. Because of the closeness of real nature I`m happy for now, but in the future I want to live somewhere in the coast like when I was a kid, preferably right by the sea.

Downtown. A central view from the metropolis of Riihimäki

I never go to pubs and such, but this five star restaurant makes the best cheeseburger in the region!

It was so cold the...the dogs were wearing cats!

5. What was the huge mistake in your life you (unfortunately) never did?

I never married for money. But hey, there`s still plenty of time for that!

6. Who are your neighbors?

A squirrel family and the bats living in the attic. They are the best neighbors ever. They mind their own business and there`s no need for small talk.

7. Tell me the shortest joke you know

Obama`s Nobel prize! Ha ha ha! Only three words and so much hilarity!

Visiting my number one fan Hipsu, the Siberian cat. I am the one with the tattoos

My drawing table. Actually my dachshund. Pitko draws all the pictures, I just sign them

8. Tell me the biggest prank you did on a friend.

Well, back when the earth was young and I had a social life, I joined a band to play bass. Once we had a practice and there were some girls along. One of them was all over our singer, and when we had a break, the singer man took the girl into a different room and told us not to disturb. We waited for a while, got a camera, kicked the door in and started taking pictures.

9. How to ruin your vacation?

TRY to have fun and to relax, instead of just having fun and relaxing.

10. In 1977 NASA has sent orbiters Voyager 1 and 2 into space which will never stop to fly through the universe by gravity. They contain the Voyager Golden Records with many testimonials of the whole mankind, greetings in 55 languages introduced by US president Jimmy Carter (“This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings….”). The Golden Records with a lifespan of 500 million years at least are including drawings of a naked man and woman, detailed genitalia, many scientific graphics, sounds of planet earth and music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart – and Chuck Berry:


Maybe aliens out there will be shocked in some million years! But in case such a NASA mission will be replayed: which (1) of your artworks should join it?

To be honest, I have to say that I wouldn`t care to participate. But if somebody whacked me in the head and stole my scribbles to send one of them along, I hope he (or she) would chose “Free fall”.

Free Fall

11. Please give us an answer to a question we didn’t ask!

Tove Jansson.

Credits to Nicoleta Ionescu for talking with Jani Viljanmaa

© toonpool.com

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3 Responses to “Letter from Finland”

  1. Silvy says:

    Great! From Finlaaand!!

  2. Otilia Bors says:

    Happy New Year Jani!
    I like your working place and your interview.
    I wish you great inspiration in 2011!
    Best wishes from Romania.

  3. Jani The Rock says:

    Thank you very many!

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