Santtu Mustonen’s Colourful Mud

Published:  September 10, 2013
Bonnie Abbott

“Santtu Mustonen is an artist interested in colourful mud” reads the online introduction. Looking through the thick, painterly illustration and layered design work, one certainly feels as if they are wading through a knee-high mire, yet with a joyous bewilderment.

As Mustonen’s work is, above all else, joyous. His style in composing images, like in his work for Zeit Magazin, clothing label Minni F. Ronya and Flow Festival, evoke memories of the explosions, spills and trails of paint mixing through fat childhood fingers. Not that the work is nostalgic, but that the colour appears to know no bounds. In fact, the composition and palette are fashionably restrained, caught in a moment of bloom. “I am always interested in bringing artworks to life,” Mustonen told us, “and with music they become hypnotic and rhythmic.”

Mustonen’s work for Flow Festival

Mustonen’s work for Zeit Magain and the Capsule Show, 2013

Indeed his work with music, mainly digital covers and illustrated LPs, are something hypnotic, but it is his recent work with Australian band Architecture In Helsinki that sees his work become a repetitive, rhythmic form. For their release “In The Future”, he supplied animated cover art — his painterly style quite mesmeric as it moves. “We had a very casual talk about what it could be,” Mustonen said of the creative process. “Thoughts were pretty abstract — there were hardly any boundaries. Visuals started popping out from a big swamp of colour. After a little while, we managed to drag the right one up.”

Mustonen’s work for Spring 2009

A still of Mustonen’s animated cover artwork for Architecture In Helsinki

Recently, Mustonen has produced animated gifs used as editorial illustration. Featured in both Wired magazine and The New York Times, Mustonen’s work has taken a figurative form. “Its like riding a bike that you have built,” he explained. “Gifs feels like magical perpetual machines.”

These animated gifs are perfect for editorial that remains quite stiff but still wishes to enhance the experience of reading online. Mustonen mused on how this online experience may develop: “I am sure that things will soon blow our minds,” he imagined. “Touch screens will make interactive visuals feel almost tactile. I can’t wait for what is going to happen — We’re living in the future!”

Mustonen’s animated illustration for The New York Times onnline


Animated cover artwork for In The Future


One Response

  1. That is some seriously trippy artwork! Beautiful though :)

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