Jorma Phil

Sauvo (1944)

Dairy farmer Jorma Pihl began sculpting massive six-foot tulips and liverleaves with his chain-saw to decorate the gateposts of his family farm ten years ago. He was captured by the art-making: wood turned into leopards with mouths wide open and giant snakes wriggling among stones; he has created over 70 species so far.

Nowadays, the artist is not well enough to handle the chain-saw, but the creative force expresses itself in smaller sculptures; camels, horses, giraffes, cats and the same old flowers still find their form. The crane is Jorma Pihl’s pet motif; he has produced hundreds of them. The three-storey outbuilding is full of sculptures and paintings, and his paintings decorate all the walls and ceilings of his house. Pihl refuses to sell his works, he either keeps them for himself or gives them away as gifts.

Pihl’s paintings have surprising, abstract designs, which are part of his own, self-taught repertoire. “I’ve never read an art book in my life”, says Pihl vigorously.

Text and photos: Minna Haveri. Translation: Kirsti Nurmela-Knox.