From Tallinn to London and back, with colours
Anu Samarüütel is a creator who lives between Tallinn and London. She is here to bring more joy and inspiration into this world. She sometimes does paintings and illustrations, sometimes makes jewellery and clothes, sometimes she takes photos and writes, sometimes she just likes to look at the clouds and talk to the trees and plants. She comes from a magical place in Northern Europe called Estonia, where her ancestors have lived, in the middle of forests and bogs for at least 10 000 years.
2. Do colours have a special meaning for you?
I do not attach any meanings to colours. Instead I am aware that every colour has a certain frequency, energy, vibration and makes us feel in a certain way on a subconscious level. Colours are very powerful and I always use my intuition when working with them.
3. Where can we view your work?
One can view my work in many places. My work is often displayed on the side of a big building in the centre of Tallinn, as I do illustrations for an Estonian bank called LHV. So you can see my work blown up to 10 metre tall posters!One can also see my work on my website, my Facebook artist page. Many people can view my work in their own homes, as there are lots of collectors of my art. You can also see it hanging around fashionable necks around the world in the form of my jewellery. In 2015 from May to September my work was displayed in the Estonian Design museum, along with 21 other artists, at the New Nordic fashion Illustration exhibition. I also had a solo show in Tallinn this year. At the moment, until December 13th, my work can be viewed in Jää-äär gallery, Berlin.
4. Is there a political or philosophical message portrayed in your work?
My work reflects who I am and how I see the world. I follow world events with big interest, but I do not feel a connection with any political movement and I like to position myself so my point of observation does not get obstructed by being in one box or another. I am a student of invisible things; esotericism, mysticism and hidden knowledge and I suppose that reflects in my work. I know a piece of art can be very powerful in the interior, so when creating I always work from a state of peace. If I happen to be stressed, anxious or unhappy - then I do my little meditation to centre myself back into balance. I can never create from a messy state of mind. First I create peace inside, then, I open the taps of creation. Creating is always a happy, playful and peaceful process for me.
5. What is the source of your inspiration?
The source of my inspiration is the Source. The divine invisible field that we are all part of, and from where everything in the world originates. When I start looking for ideas, I like doing research in books, museums, etc. At one point of that process the “door” opens and inspiration starts flowing and all I have to do is to receive. I once wrote a whole book like that. It was a book about the time when I was studying in London and it became a bestseller in Estonia. I sat in the chair, I looked at the clouds in the sky and the text just flowed out. Some people may call it channelling. I think the best creations are a form of channelling. Channelling the Source/Quantum field/God/ whatever name you call it. Even the best scientists do not claim their inventions or discoveries as their own, they basically say they were just channelling.
6. Does the lack of sunlight in Estonia affect your work?
In a funny way the sunlight affects my work more than the lack of it. In the summer when I happen to be in Tallinn, it’s very difficult to convince myself to go to the studio when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it’s so lovely outside. Then I just stay home and spend time in my garden and when evening shadows start to fall - then I cycle to the studio and work until 1 am and then cycle back home, as it’s light for long hours in the north. When the dark season comes I do not mind, I have True Light lamps in the studio, so life goes on as normal.
7. How has London influenced your work?
London has influenced my work immensely. The biggest influence was studying in Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, at an MA fashion course under the reign of famous professor Louise Wilson. That was one of the most important times of my life and at the same time the scariest and funniest time of my life. I came out knowing what I liked and what I wanted to say. It's very important to know what you like; many people do not know that. Being in London is also very inspiring as there are many creative people working here from all around the world, inspiring, encouraging and stimulating each other.
8. Now let’s talk about politics: as an Estonian citizen, are you afraid of Russia?
I am not afraid of Russia at all. I actually like Russia and Russians a lot in many ways, at the same time acknowledging that it’s a completely crazy, wild, unpredictable, mysterious and sometimes dangerous place. Russia is something the West does not understand. Russia is actually a very spiritual and free place, its people are very close to nature, they all have summer cottages and allotments, they all go to forests picking mushrooms, they love everything esoteric and use natural medicine. They even have live TV shows dedicated to clairvoyants and people call in to find answers to their problems. Russia has declared itself to be a GMO free country- how great is that! They also started giving free land in Siberia to all the citizens who want to move there and start growing their own food. Of course most of the people do not realise that what they call Russia is not Russia at all; it’s a vast territory of mostly native people’s lands. For example many Finno-Ugric tribes live there, who are related to Estonians and Finns for example. In my view Russia has something that in the eyes of the West is very dangerous, that’s why they are trying to paint them as the enemy. They are not the enemy; they are just proud free people who live completely outside the influence zone of the brainwashing western mainstream media.On the other hand Estonia and Russia go back a long way - we’ve had some good times and some bad times, so we always have to remember who we are, where we stand and be ready for anything. As we cannot take our country elsewhere and we will always stay neighbours, we have to find a way to live together in peace.
9. Is Tallinn a better city to live in since Estonia joined the E.U.?
There are many things that have changed since we re-established our independence: better roads, nicer looking buses and trains, more tall new buildings. Some of those things have been achieved with the help of EU money. But you can often see EU money being spent lavishly, on unnecessary or stupid things or nice old things are replaced with cheapness, like the beautiful old limestone bus stop pavilions replaced with boring metal and glass constructions or everything getting over-sanitised and losing its character. Lately I have found myself thinking that although all those new trains and roads are nice, I would prefer to stay more authentic and truthful and have holes in the roads and old buses rather than giving our self-power and freedom away to this EU- creature that we do not really know. I think that Eastern European countries were blue-eyed naïve about the EU, not exactly knowing what they were getting into.
10. Are Estonians afraid of migrants?
Estonians are not afraid of migrants as such, because they are just people. But more than 85 % of Estonians do not want to take in migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, whatever name they come under- from outside Europe as we do not wish to lose our sovereignty, culture, language, tribe, our unique way of life. It is our right to choose the way we want to live and everyone should respect that.There are only about 1.3 million people living in Estonia, and only 800 000, less than a million are native Estonians. So we are really an endangered species in the world! We are deeply worried about the EU trying to force us into taking ever-growing amounts of migrants from exotic lands whom we have no historic or cultural connections with at all. We have walked our path and the way we are now is the result of 10 000 years of history that we have lived on our land. What right has anyone to come and say that we must artificially start changing the ethnic or racial balance of our country, because someone thinks it’s a good idea? The EU is very eager to criticise Eastern European countries over their unwillingness to take migrants from outside the EU. I hope together with other “easterners” we can stand strong and keep being ourselves. Nation states are perfectly good and supporting environments to live in. Some people have started pushing the idea that they are not suitable for the 21st century. Those people have their own agenda and it’s easy to see what that is. The EU has to accept that all its member states are free and different, respect that fact, respect their histories, and people's wishes. Tyranny and control are not the way to go for the EU. More freedom, more joy and more creativity is the way to go.
11. Are Tallinn & Estonia too small for an artist?
Tallinn and Estonia are great places for artists, there is plenty of room, you can easily rent an affordable studio, there are galleries that offer rent-free exhibition space and we have a wonderful system of supporting artists and projects via state owned Culture Capital that collects tax on gambling, alcohol and cigarettes and passes it on to the arts. The art market in Estonia is still underdeveloped and small- but several artists have made their way from there to foreign galleries and art fairs…
12. What do you really enjoy when you are in Tallinn and London?
In Tallinn I enjoy the closeness of nature, the forest, the sea. I enjoy bumping into my friends and acquaintances on every corner, as it’s a small place. I also love the fact you can cycle everywhere safely. In London I love going to museums and art galleries. I also love The City of London and its hidden history, I love going to Soho and strolling through the quiet streets of Covent Garden.
13. Are you an optimistic person?
I do not know if this can be called optimism, but I have an inner knowledge, mind-set, or programming, whatever you call it, that helps me to view situations in a way that is constructive and …sunny 😀 I feel it’s ok to try and fail, it’s ok to make mistakes, because all can be changed. I believe us humans are the powerful creators of our reality. I think this is one of the biggest secrets kept from humankind.
14. I know you are a vegetarian. Why?
I have been vegetarian for 18 years now. When I started, I was looking for more spirituality in my life, I started doing yoga, reading Deepak Chopra books, and I had heard that being vegetarian was supposedly good for spiritual growth so I made that switch. I did not like meat much anyway- so it was very easy to quit. I am not rigidly stuck to anything. If I really-really wanted, I could eat meat or fish but I just have not felt any wish to do that so far.
15. Now for a bit of philosophy: what is our worst enemy as human beings?
Fear. Fear is the ultimate disconnection from Spirit. When one is in fear, then you fall from grace, you fall out of this magical flow that you have in your life when you are connected.Giving our power away is the next thing that we could do without. Believing that someone else knows the answers, that someone else has authority and is wiser than us, forgetting who we really are and what we are here for.
16. What is your next project?
At the moment, I am doing Christmas illustrations for the next huge LHV bank outdoor poster. After that I will be focusing on producing jewellery and other things to sell at a Christmas design market in Tallinn, on 20th of December. And after that- I’ll probably paint some more big colourful canvases, just for fun.
FΩRMIdea Tallinn, 16th November 2015.