Five years ago, Finnish illustrator Annu Kilpeläinen made a zine, entitled Rally, about sun, champagne, cars, plunge pools and impossibly unsafe driving routes. The time has now finally come for Rally’s sequel, Rally 2U, which includes just as many depictions of sun, speed and automobiles making their way down meandering roads in various vibrant shades of pink, yellow, green and blue.
“I wanted Rally 2U to follow the aesthetics of the first zine but to have more of a storyline to it,” Annu tells us. “It is, of course, a love story between the car and the sun. It is about being taken by someone or something and just blindly following that feeling. But, as always happens, the obstacles of life come in the way: there are, for example, broken bridges and endlessly winding roads. Overcoming hardships in love and life and wishing for a sunny ending is central to the new zine.” Annu’s strength lies in her cheery depiction of larger – in this case symbolic – adversities. One spread, for example, depicts an infinitely convoluted road, which serves as a powerful visual representation of life’s inevitable frustrations. However, cautious of the somewhat bleak underlying message, Annu ensured that the zine’s dynamic colour palette lends the story a joyful touch. The seamless interaction between shape, form and colour, moreover, brings to life her sun-kissed, two-dimensional worlds.
Existing in the intersection between painting and graphic art, Annu’s work centres around transport and travelling, and the narrative opportunities such themes bring about. The Finnish artist has spent the past few years cultivating her unique style on her own, taking time out to reflect on and better her art. However, Annu has in recent months decided to adopt a more community-oriented approach. “This year I have been reaching out to people to test and collaborate on new things,” Annu says. “After working on my own for a show at Everyday Mooonday Gallery it is super nice to collaborate and work with others, bouncing ideas back and forth. There’s more time for commercial work and also for experimentation, and that feels good.”
For Annu, the future is exciting. The Finnish artist hopes to pursue a creativity that can be understood and utilised in a number of versatile ways – both through collaborations or and solo work. This different artistic outlook can manifest both in terms of form, medium and theme. “It’s good to get to draw in both the personal and the commercial field as it curiously allows me to explore new things,” Annu says. “I would love to do everything, I just need couple more hours a day. I’d love to have a go at aircraft exteriors and interior, animation, clay experimentations, bras… you name it.”