Jaakko Rytkönen

Iisalmi (1947)

Jaakko Rytkönen worked as a head gardener for the city of Iisalmi before he retired. He has had his visual expression and artistic productivity almost throughout his life. Born in Martikkala, Lapinlahti, Rytkönen has refined the sculpturing skills that he inherited from his father into his own original sculpture art.  

Rytkönen, who has also drawn cartoons, made his first wooden sculpture in the 1960s. When his son was born in 1980, he did not make any works of art for a long time, but then in 2016, the roof of an old barn that belonged to his son collapsed. It seemed to Rytkönen that some fine boards were in great danger of going to waste, so he decided to do something with them. And he really did. Lots. Knotless 25-mm spruce boards turned into dozens of fantastic faces and figures using a unique technique.  

Jaakko Rytkönen’s art is characterised by imaginative figures, a racy and unrefined sense of humour as well as his ability to perceive humanity in an original way. Rytkönen also uses a lot of symbols in his art – several works feature a heart, for example. Rytkönen’s latest works are also special in that they are assembled with screws, making them easy to repair and reform. Features such as faces or hair can be changed very easily.  

Text: Jari Ruotsalainen Photos: Mari Kekäläinen and Jari Ruotsalainen Translation: Kirsti Nurmela-Knox

ITE Art surveys / Northern Savonia 2020–2022