Jukka Värelä - Alumn




"The time at HDK changed my worldview"

What did you do directly after you graduated from HDK?

– I actually have completed my studies twice, first in 1995 and second time in 2002. In between, I started my own business and got a place together with three others in Gothenburg. For me it was important to have a place to be and work  and to get started right away.

What are you doing today?

– Now I live in Lund and work with public art, such as installations and sculptures. In my work I focus on the situation, the context and the location.

How did you end up there – how has your career path been like?

– After my master's degree at Steneby 2002, I left Gothenburg and moved to Skåne. At first I worked together with others and then I felt it would be fun run my own business.

During your study time, did you have some kind of strategy to influence your future career?

– No, not really. For me, learning the language was important, as my Swedish wasn’t very good. I find it difficult to create without a language in common, so for me, learning Swedish was important. I work with public art in Sweden and therefore I must be able to communicate and make the social aspects work, as I often collaborates with other artists from other disciplines in the larger works. When I have been back at HDK in recent years, I have noticed that there are students who cannot or don’t want to learn Swedish.

Did you get international experience during the study time/training that has been helpful in your career?

– I was in the first four who took Master's degree at Steneby. During my first training in the early 1990s there wasn’t a lot of international contacts. I was on an exchange in England for a month, but otherwise I had to seek international contacts on my own. Compared to how it was when I attended, I believe that HDK is more internationally oriented today.

Your strongest memory from HDK?

– To meet others who had similar interests and outlook on life. The time at HDK changed my worldview. I still have close contact with several of my fellow students. I never thought that the bond between us could stay so strong.

What is the most important lesson from HDK-period? Any special tools/skills?

– From the beginning it was to understand different materials and techniques. I had a basic need to make and create things, but that my main focus landed on metal was probably more a chance. Gradually realized that I like to work with different scales and today the material less important. During the training we received an introduction to public space and after studies, I began to seek that kind of work.

If you were to give one advice to a prospective HDK-student – what would it be?

– Take your time to do your projects and keep your curiosity. Try to be yourself and create your own path – education is the time to shape yourself. Try to work with others and try different configurations, imagine being in a band - running a little solo and do some guest performances.

Jukka Värelä

Job title: Artist

Born: 1964

Comes from: Tammerfors, Finland

Education at HDK: Six years at HDK with a master's degree in  Iron & Steel / Public Space from Steneby

Graduated: 2002

Web page: www.jukkavarela.se