Antti Kalevi intricately and abstractly draws his favourite places around the world

21 January 2019

Even if, technically speaking, working on illustrations is Antti Kalevi’s job, it seems as if he just can’t stop himself finding things to draw. For Antti, artistic inspiration is everywhere and most commonly found through “travelling, food, music and the fine arts". These moments then filter into his illustrative practice once he photographs his surroundings of simply anything that catches his eye.

While the act of travel or the idea of music is already a relatively abstract concept to demonstrate via pen and paper, the illustrator also finds he can become inspired “when I see a surprising colour combination, abstract surface, different kinds of architecture or shadows.” This temperament of the Finnish born illustrator currently living in Italy is communicated in his ongoing work Some of my favourite places, an illustrative series which does exactly as its title suggests.

From Tokyo to Okinawa, Saas Fee to Costa Brava and everywhere in between, Antti’s series presents a snapshot of the illustrator’s fleeting time in various destinations around the world. Each piece presents an abstract representation of the place in question, whether it be textures of red, yellow, blue and green to represent the heat and horticulture of Costa Brava, or vividly bright aqua shapes to present the feeling of Naoshima, an island town in Japan’s Seto inland sea.

Made while Antti hops around the globe, “these works are all about being inspired by the different places I’ve personally visited and capturing them through colours, shapes and other elements,” the illustrator explains. “It’s all quite intuitive and happens in a moment.” This process is also communicated in his titling of each piece, written in his own handwriting, scripted across the bottom of the drawing. Frankly, we wish it was its own typeface so we could do the same.

Closer to home, this way of working also sees Antti illustrate elements he’ll spot in and around the house. A drawing of a lone standing martini for instance, a Chinese teapot or just the simple scene of a table’s spread on a Sunday. In taking inspiration from everyday bits and bobs he may come across, Antti’s colour palette of choice has also become a little more subtle than the work he was known for a few years ago, and we’re fully on board with the direction he’s travelling in, whether it’s a far-flung corner of Asia or if he’s settled in his own home.


Antti Kalevi: Chinese Teapot


Antti Kalevi: Martini


Antti Kalevi: Costa Brava


Antti Kalevi: Naoshima


Antti Kalevi: Okinawa


Antti Kalevi: Saas Fee


Antti Kalevi: Tokyo


Antti Kalevi: Sunday

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.

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