Matti Pikkujämsä – Illustrator of the year 2019

Hanaholmen, Espoo

8.9 - 27.10.2019

The gallery is open every day from 10 am to 8 pm, free entry.

Matti Pikkujämsä | Photo: Chikako Harada

The award exhibition of the Illustrator of the Year, Matti Pikkujämsä, will be on display at the Hanaholmen Gallery this autumn from 8 September to 27 October. The exhibition is organized by The Finnish Illustration Association together with the Hanaholmen Cultural Centre.

“An illustrator who breathes through his pen”
As the first Illustrator of the Year in history, the jury chose Matti Pikkujämsä, who constantly develops himself and boldly ventures into new areas. He is a phenomenal talent and an outstanding illustrator who breathes through his pen. His illustrations are not just decorations, but stories. His characters are always alive. He has served as a role model for many illustrators, but has a humble approach to his talent, understanding that it only forms the underlying framework for actual work.

Matti Pikkujämsä exports a Finnish visual landscape out into the world. Although he works internationally, his illustrations portray the Finnish spirit with their spruces and domestic animals. His style features echoes of Nordic design from the previous decades, depicted from a new, fresh perspective.

Pikkujämsä has illustrated more than 20 picture books for children. He has designed textile patterns for Marimekko and Samuji, among others, and regularly does illustrations for Helsingin Sanomat. Pikkujämsä is a popular painter of portraits and has made the almost lost tradition of portrait painting trendy again. In the Cup of Therapy project, Pikkujämsä illustrated mental health problems and wellbeing to make them visible. A postage stamp set illustrated by Pikkujämsä was released in February this year.

As the first Illustrator of the Year in history, the jury has chosen Matti Pikkujämsä. Matti Pikkujämsä takes Finnish expertise out into the world with his sympathetic, skilled touch. He is an illustrator who constantly develops himself and boldly ventures into new areas. “I cannot believe this,” said Matti when he heard about the award. “I feel like I have the obligation to be even better in the future.” He has won the State Prize for Illustrations in 2015 and the Rudolf Koivu Prize in 2013. This is the first time that The Finnish Illustration Association has given him an award.

The Illustrator of the Year Award includes 10 000 € and an award exhibition. The award prize is funded from the copyright remunerations collected by Kopiosto.
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The exhibition is part of Helsinki Design Week. Founded in 2005, Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries. Held annually in September, the multidisciplinary festival presents design from a number of fields as well as fashion, architecture and urban culture. The next Helsinki Design Week will be held September 5–15, 2019. Helsinki Design Week is produced by the design service office Luovi Productions Oy.

More information:
Aino Kostiainen, aino.kostiainen(at)
Veera Pekkinen, veera.pekkinen(at)