Work / Illustration

Annu Kilpeläinen intricately illustrates everything from dick pics to car interiors

It’s been a busy few years for Finnish illustrator Annu Kilpeläinen or maybe, as she admits, it’s just a factor of living in London. “It’s the third house and the third studio I have been in two years, but now I have found the perfect combination and although I like being on the move, it feels good to have a solid base and really focus on work,” she tells It’s Nice That.

Anyone who tuned into Annu, Sara Andreasson, Lynnie Z and Hattie Stewart’s takeover on our Instagram stories a few weeks back (a sweet reminder here), will know Annu is 100% right about her studio situ. With the best pink floors we’ve ever seen – not to mention an impressive array of Posca pens – it seems like the perfect environment to be busy and Annu certainly has.

At the tail end of last year, Annu exhibited a bunch of new work in Joyride at the Fisk Gallery space in Los Angeles. As the title suggests her illustrations each interpreted a car with it being held in LA, full of “tacky like sex, drugs and driving, and the danger and thrill of these,” Annu explains. Joyride comprised of smashed clay car sculptures, abstract images and a wall of drawings she’d made in-between commercial work, “and also my first dick pic – it felt like there needed to be an over the top sexualised male figure billboard in the mix.”

Since then, Annu has continued to jump around between personal and commercial work, painting a surfboard for Project O and Sky Ocean Rescue’s charity auction, a private commissioned painting Riva, both answering her want to work on larger scale pieces, “and these landed at the same time so it felt right to take some time off everything else and just sit in from these two everyday,” she says.

Before hitting this busy period, Annu had planned to “shift to simpler more abstract things,” but instead found herself “drawing these intricate images of toilets and car interiors,” she explains. “So who knows where it’s going from here, as long as it is interesting to me I am sure it will find the right audience somewhere.” But with such a particular style which pushes together highly saturated colours into delicate patterns building up and up to form an image, Annu could draw pretty much anything and we’d be into it.

Now prepping for her next solo show later this year, Annu is “trying to keep my head in place with the politics and climate by drawing pictures of fun underwear and aeroplanes,” she says. “Hopefully, one day, the underwear will be real and all the bad politics long gone.”


Annu Kilpeläinen: Joyride exhibition


Annu Kilpeläinen: Daily Wear


Annu Kilpeläinen: Dandelion


Annu Kilpeläinen: Daylight


Annu Kilpeläinen: Joy, Joyride exhibition


Annu Kilpeläinen: Valley Cruise Press


Annu Kilpeläinen: No More Bombs


Annu Kilpeläinen: Pink Smoke


Annu Kilpeläinen: Rearrange


Annu Kilpeläinen: Sun


Annu Kilpeläinen: Ride, Joyride exhibition


Annu Kilpeläinen: The Seat


Annu Kilpeläinen: Riva