Nadja Mikkilä is an artistic painter from Finland and her main subject is the female figure. Her paintings vary from pin up to classic portraits. Nadja is a graphic designer as well and she has also a degree in information technology. Apart from traditional art Nadja has done many different jobs in the commercial art field such as web design, user interface design, advertisement etc. Nadjas true passion is paint and although her subject is mostly the female form, her style varies in two different forms. Nadja does realistic detailed paintings but also abstract expressive paintings. See more of Nadjas work at www.nadja­

What is your passion?

Visual art

How did you find your passion?

I have early childhood memories of myself drawing and I’ve always enjoyed it very much. My first drawings were unicorns. I started telling my mom that I’ll become an artist when I grow up. I was 4 years old then.

Do you make money from your passion?

I have a day job and I don’t have to earn my living with art. This gives me the freedom to paint whatever I want and I don’t have to guess what would sell and I don’t have to do commissions. I sometimes sell art at exhibitions. I get some amount of commission request but it’s very rare for me to accept them. Usually people ask me to do portraits of their children or pets.

What does your typical day look like?

I live together with my partner and dogs, so I wake up every morning to very good company :) I have a day job in a software company where I do all kind of nerdy work. In the evening I usually read books or paint. On the weekend I paint even more or spent time with my friends.

Was your passion a part of your formal education?

I studied graphic design because I always wanted to pursue my art as my profession too. I also studied information technology because I wanted to become a web designer at some point. That never happened but it’s always good to be educated, so you can get a job even if the world economics are on a rollercoaster ride.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m inspired by beautiful things around me. Autumn colors for example make me want to use certain color combinations etc. I see sometimes people who I have an urge to paint. But from apart the visual things I’m very inspired by music. I believe that all different art forms kind of feed each other.

How do you find time to do the things you enjoy most?

I’m a quite solitary person, so I’ve always spent a lot of time by myself (and I love it!). That’s usually when I paint. It’s just a matter of prioritizing. If something is very important you will find time for it.

What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I did some furniture drawings for a big German company. These drawings had only the purpose to be a set design for photographers. I couldn’t think of a more boring thing to draw. What I learned from it? Well, not all art jobs are nice. They are jobs like anything else. I’ve also been asked to draw porn, but I never accepted that assignment. But from furniture to porn…certainly proves that there are MANY different art jobs out there. It’s not that limited as people might think…and also…it’s not always as much fun as you might think. It’s different to do something from your heart or something for the sake of money.

Did you change careers to pursue your passion? If so how?

I didn’t change careers to pursue my passion but I switched to another country to follow my passion. I was not accepted to any art school in my home country (Finland) so I moved to another country (Germany) to study art in a private school. So I was willing to move to another country to follow my passion and I was willing to pay money (and work a lot to pay my studies).

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I certainly wish that I was more successful with my art, but I don’t think I could have done anything differently. I’ve always worked hard and practiced a lot. I still feel that I’m doing that…practicing art. I hope to get always better and not reach a point where the progress doesn’t go further.

To hone your creativity is there anything you do over and over and recommend others do as well?

Art is like an instrument you need to practice. You need to practice a lot! It’s not going to magically develop by itself. When you stop drawing/painting you will get stuck at the level …just like a computer game. But that’s rather for technical art.Creativity is something else…it doesn’t seem to play by rules, but has its own strange ways. Probably you are born with or without it.

What obstacles have stood between you and your passion and how did you overcome them?

as I mentioned in answer 9, I moved to another country to study art. Otherwise I still have many obstacles before me. I set one small goal at a time and try to get there. I’m not trying to do too big leaps at once. My next goal is to have a solo exhibition. I need to have enough money to arrange it and I need to have new and better paintings for it.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

This is the most difficult question! I’d probably change the world to be more equal.

What is the one book that others who share your passion should read and why?

I have many favorite books, but only one favorite comic book, so I’ll name that. It’s the comic “Les

compagnons du crépuscule” by Bourgeon.

Who is your hero?

I don’t really have heroes but I admire different qualities in people. I admire for example people who have the ability to stay positive at all times. That’s something I’d like to learn. To be optimistic and positive. Attitude is everything in life 😉

What is your favorite quote related to your passion?

I somehow like this quote since I paint a lot of portraits. “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” Oscar Wilde

What do you consider to be your top three most important values?

We finns get overwhelmed with questions like these 😉

Any advice or words of encouragement for others who share your interests?

There is not an age limit to art. You can start at any point!

What is your relation to other artists? Are they friends or foes?

I’ve always been very ambitious with my art and wanted to compete with everybody else. When I was a child I switched schools a lot and although I seemed like a quiet and shy kid it was my burning goal to be always the best in class in art. If there was somebody better than me or as good as me I hated that person. I learned that this is not a healthy attitude in life and I’d rather become friends with other artist than compete with them. It’s good to know like minded artistic people because you can learn from them and also they are the only ones who will understand your passion. So nowadays my biggest competitor is just my, myself and I, and I love hanging out with other creative minds :)