About Arto



I have been an Artist for about 40 years, I have tried my hand at most styles and forms of art. – I started in underground science fiction and comic fanzines in 1968-1974, I am a general freelance artist which covers 1974-2010. I attended Art College 1981-1982, and was awarded first in State, this gave me impetus to do portrait/animal/commissions from 1986-1995. 1996-2000 where I authored and published three books. I am also a Musician, a guitar player with current and old music on the internet.

Excerpts from Muze Arts Magazine.

Arto Juhani Heino, was born in Finland and grew up in Australia, this gave him a broad bush stoke of culture from an early age. His engagement was in cartoons and comics from the early 70’s, to a oil, acrylics and watercolor as a landscape and portrait artist in the 80’s to an Author in the 90’s. He is currently illustrating his own books which are also broad in subjects, such as Science ,Music, Geometry and more.

What inspires your creative process?

As artists we reveal the experience of life through a medium to the observer, using our unique skills in picture making and our personal visual descriptors. The brush strokes, colors and geometry act like symbolic marks progressing towards the revelation of the experience. As I see it, there is not one way to create art, as the first mark is like a word in a novel that is written by your need to express the idea.

How is your medium significant to your work?

I prefer working in the medium that suits the subject, such as a portrait is best worked in oils, while the spontaneity of acrylics is great for outdoors or quick block ins while water color is best used in less cluttered compositions. The computer is great for multi-layer graphic novels, while I still prefer to draw each panel on paper with pencil and ink. All my art starts with a blank page and a pencil, even if it is going to be a design on a computer or a electronic diagram. I use a rubber very rarely, as I prefer the true lines that our inner self has allocated to the page, this is why I really enjoy drawing live models.

Have you been a life/long artist?

My understanding of the world around me was my motivation towards creativity. As a 7 year old I was asked to draw the tree in our school yard, before long there was a crowd of teachers including the principal watching me draw, I remember murmured comments such as “He draws like a real Artist, wow, etc..” . This seemed normal to me as I was not in competition with anyone or anything , all I wanted is to understand the world I lived in, drawing was a way to achieve this aim.

What is your favorite piece?

It is very hard to say which is my favorite, they are like my children, each has a special quality that is original. If I was hard pressed, I must include one of my water colors called, “The Lone Beach Tree”, as this was how I felt about the rest between the storms of society and how it strips away your protective layer and exposes you to the elements, not in a negative way but in a way that enriches your life experience.

What sort of everyday challenges do you face as a working artist?

When I get too much traction in resolving an issue, I just look at it from a fresh perspective and realize there are many unfortunate souls who have never had the artistic opportunities that has been given to me. So all I can do is humble myself to the task ahead, this usually, brings a new light to the problem.

Every artist has a day when every last thing seems to go wrong, wrong, wrong!

I do not see something going wrong as much as it presents itself with a different direction, such as a painting I have spent 16 hours working on, then is falls into a pool of paint, sure I get mad, then I realize an opportunity to try something new with what I have left, some of my best work has come from this.

Any stories from a shoot, performance, or the studio, that you would like to share?

Too many stories to count, here are a few. When I was young, about 10 years old, my teacher asked me to decorate one of the windows in our class room to celebrate Easter, I didn’t skip a beat, I proceeded to paint 12 full length windows (3ft x 5 ft) with the 12 apostles, using school supplied acrylic paint. I painted during the subject lessons and completed it in about 2 weeks. The room turned into a church with stained glass windows, this was an event that gave great joy to the whole school which no one has even thought of before or since, considering I was only a young boy my accomplishment in this still surprises me to this day.

When I was in college I was painting a very detailed and large abstract on canvas that had taken me about 2-3 weeks up to that point, when I realized it was too formal and needed a dynamic element. So to the surprise of the teachers and other students I walked outside and filled a bucket with sand and bark, poured water and paint in the bucket then threw it at my canvas which was 5ft x 8ft composition carefully layered with acrylic painted geometric forms, this shocked the class but was exactly what the image required, it was called the “Monkey Dance for the Metropolis” , it was my cathartic emotional response to the shallow indoctrination of the misguided educators in our system of governance.

Who is your greatest mentor?

When I was growing up, the art and life of Leonardo Da Vinci molded my creative output and my scientific pursuits. Otherwise my mentor was not so much a person rather as a tradition as an arts person to make your work relevant to you and the society you live in.

How has education shaped your work?

My travels around Australia with a sketch pad and a bundle of water colors taught me how to transcribe what is essential when you are confronted by scenic beauty of a rugged landscape. I attended Liverpool Art College after my travels and finished 1st in the state(NSW) in painting and sculpture, the teachers were a great inspiration to all my work as well as the great environment they created.

How has the world of technology impacted your artwork?

I created a digital comic strip in 1983 long before Windows or the Mac, I also designed computer graphic games at about the same time, I would say I was pushing the envelope, a pixel is just another element in creativity. I do a fair amount of vector graphics to describe functions, designs and technical procedures in my books. I do scan my drawings and do further work on then at times, so I would say modern technology is a useful tool to add to the ancient technology of paint, pencils and paper.

How has your culture or current region of the world impacted your finished work?

I figured when I was young that Australia is a wide open land that would influence my output by inclusions of landscape paintings, in the great tradition of other Australian artists, I am in constant gratitude that it did. In my outback travels I learned to appreciate how the ancient aboriginals are connected to their landscape, something that must be experienced, as books can never covey the intimate nature of the ties they have to their land.

How have different sociopolitical movements (Animal rights, global conservation etc) helped to shape your work?

In 2009 I was starting a new approach to get my work to the public by doing live chalk art, the first was a Chalk Festival that had climate change as a theme, my work is titled “A Poem becoming a Novel”. I brought my understanding of nature to the pavement and it seems I was noted by the other artists as someone to look for inspiration, the public was very responsive and I was interviewed by a few journalists and written about in the local papers.

Any advice for young artist wanting to create in your medium

I have taught a few young people and the best advice is to draw with a pencil on paper, understand your pencils and all their grades then take a lot of time to know paper and all its properties. This is path towards mastery, a long journey that requires patients and talent.

My greatest teacher was direct observation, like Monet and Da Vinci, drawing from life and using as many types of media you can handle, this will expand you as an artist and broaden your skills. Practice everyday, remember scenes and draw then from memory , take time to understand the subtleties of color and do not be afraid of a blank sheet of paper. Finally, I recommend that you study anatomy, as this science will take you beyond mere drawing into true communication with your audience.

Any upcoming projects or future goals?

I have just finished my current volume “Talking To The Birds”, a compilation of Essays, Studies and Artworks,. Volume 2 is still in the works, I am also putting some of my sociopolitical cartoons into a small comic book size, called “Scraps, Sketches and Satire“. The other things that I work on regularly are some sculptures, paintings and electro-art for a future exhibition, not all are on traditional subjects.

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