赫爾辛基CS Host Hanna與漫畫
Helsinki CS Host Hanna & Comic
WE CAN JUST HOPE FOR THE BEST AND DO OUR BEST.
This is my first CS Host in Helsinki. They are a young couple. Hanna is a comic artist and Hugo is a social worker. They love playing video games and reading comic books. Hanna always shares her comic experiences with me and introduce me to her comic artist friends in Helsinki and tell me I HAVE to visit the Helsinki comics center.
Hanna is a full time comic artist and she just joined an on-line comic magazine competition hosted by Korea. She drew 7 chapters of Sic-Fi comic and entered into the last 16 but without any prizes. Then the Sic-Fi story she drew was spotted by a Korean publisher and she was invited to finish the story on their magazine. She have to submit 2 chapters (around 20 new pages but without pages limit) every week and have an EU$2000 remuneration. Although it isn’t a big money in Finland but enough for her to survive.
I was so happy and lucky to find Hanna who is a comic artist on Couch Surfing website. I love reading comic books especially Japanese manga and like (the non-fighting) Hong Kong comic and enjoy reading European picture books but seldom read American hero comic.
I love to draw too. Drawing is quiet and focus. It doesn’t matter how ‘badly’ the picture drawn. The most important thing is to enjoy the quietness and focus while drawing. I think every picture is beautiful and no picture is ugly. Anybody can just pick up a pencil, draw a circle and it would be a beautiful drawing if one can enjoy the moment of drawing that circle. It would be a beautiful picture because the happy felling of drawing the circle can be aroused every time when you look at the picture.
I came to the Helsinki comics center after a 30 minutes tram ride from Helsinki downtown. I was surprised to see a Hong Kong comic artist, Justin Wong’s work there. Justin has been invited to join the Helsinki Comic Festival that year and he probably visited comics center too. I was so happy to see a made-in-Hong-Kong art work in Helsinki, Finland!
Helsinki comics center has a free comic drawing class twice a week without tutoring. There are just 7 to 8 comic lovers gather together and draw. There is no theme and the time is 3pm to 6pm. Everyone can drop by and leave whenever they want. Comics center provides drawing tools and paper and they’re 300g+ watercolor paper! And Van Gogh brand water color! Those high quality stuff can be used freely!
Participants can bring coffee or snacks into the drawing room. It’s so nice that we sharing the food and drawing and chatting together. Although the drawing process would be slow down but this is my first time to be with a group of people with common interest and doing the same thing, in the same time, under the same roof. It is a really special and happy memory.
The majority are Finns in the drawing room but they all speak in English for me. They are really nice people：）
The picture below is the drawing I did in comics center. They are people in the drawing room. It is so fascinating to see every (future) comic artists focusing on their work❤
All the girls are busy drawing while the boy was asleeping…
I have included the personal belongings+drawing tools in my picture. If I detail described these little objects in words it would be very boring but the unique personalities can be shown on picture if I draw these little objects with drawing pens. Sometime it would be a total opposite approach between words and pictures.
Helsinki comics center is not big and free entry. It is on ground level with 2 floors above for resistance. It is a three floors new building and definitely not a historical sites. There is a big park and a supermarket next to the comics center.
There are free flyers about comic in the entry door and there even are flyers IN CHINESE about Hong Kong Arts Centre. It is a small exhibition room when I walk further and the comic manuscripts are hanging on walls. All the manuscripts are beautiful and in different styles, amazing!
It is a discussion room/studio opposite to the small exhibition room and it’s full of drawing tools, comic books, copy machine and white board. There is a little café selling coffee and snacks and a small comic library in the far end. The most special thing is, AN OPEN KITCHEN! That is REALLY a kitchen with lots of knives, forks, cups, dishes, STOVE and FRIDGE WITH FOOD. There are dirty dishes in the sink and leftovers. Toilet is next to the kitchen with hot water SHOWER HOSE. I can really LIVE here if I bring a sleeping bag and cook in the kitchen with food bought in the nearby supermarket. It is a very lively comics center.
There is a ‘Comix Home Base’ in Mallory Street, Wan Chai in Hong Kong. It is a historical building. It has beautiful flowery floor, iron-flower window and open space garden. The Comix Home Base would have a longer history, a more beautiful outlook and a bigger area than Helsinki comics center. But I love the comics center in Helsinki more than the Comix Home Base in Hong Kong!
Helsinki comics center has opened my mind. I have never thought of ‘museum’ or ‘community centre’ can be so down-to-earth, open and free. I was so shock.
There are always security guards or ‘No food No touch’ slogans in every museum/gallery/community centre in Hong Kong. I always think it’s fine because food debris caused bugs and touching would damage the displayed items. I was always be taught like that and used to be regulated.
I finally understand what is FREE when I came to Helsinki comics center. Anyone can enter or leave, visit the exhibition, use the studio or even COOK FREE.
Comic is a down-to-earth popular culture with a free spirit. Helsinki comics center does a good display on this special quality on comic better than Comix Home Base in Hong Kong. There are neither ‘Don’t’ nor security guards in Helsinki comics center because everybody is assumed to behave and self-discipline themselves. Self-discipline is from good education and the Finns seem to have a good confidence on their education by giving freedom to its people. I have heard Finnish education is one of the best on Earth and I really hope I would have an opportunity to experience!
Comix Home Base is built for whom?
It may not able to handle a huge visiting number as a tourists spots, it doesn’t have enough exhibitions or events as an art centre, but it is located in an excellent downtown area as a property project.
Maybe ‘comic’ is just an excuse. The ground level shopping space in Comix Home Base are all rent out. The renters included a humbugger restaurant, an ice cream shop, a café…etc. It is good to have a high rental return but what are the connections between those restaurants and comic culture?
Money is the heart of Hong Kong culture. The first question would be asked for a Hongkonger on doing ANYTHING is: Is it profitable? This money-worshiping blocks lots precious creativity.
Helsinki comics center has only ONE café without fancy decoration nor fancy food. The café is obliviously not for profit making but for purely eating. There is a kitchen and I can even prepare my own food.
Why can’t the Comix Home Base be built for the comic lovers?
Can Comix Home Base like Helsinki comics center have a studio open to public for free? The studio should have no pressure on producing any products but to promote comic culture.
There is a large variety of comic books in the library in Helsinki comics center. The Finns are the majority and many comic in English with a few Japanese manga and American hero comic. And even adult erotic comic!
Hong Kong is really below standard on this aspect. Fan Art(Creations based on copyright works) can not be neglected in comic culture. Fan art may include LGBT, BL, GL which would be seen as ‘erotic’. Comix Home Base of course doesn’t have ‘erotic fan art’ comic books in their library which open to public. Hong Kong is actually a very conservative society. There are things happening but everybody pretend seeing nothing hearing nothing. The freedom of speech is smaller and smaller and Hong Kong is not an ideal place for creativity.
Peaceful place won’t have good fiction but the best poems always written during war. There would be more and more people trying their best to create more and more beautiful works in this time of chaos in Hong Kong.
WE CAN JUST HOPE FOR THE BEST AND DO OUR BEST.
Helsinki comics center website: