Mikko Eerola is a 33-year-old Finnish concept artist and illustrator known on Instagram as angrymikko. His art is filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant colors, and compelling characters.
During his early life, his father had a job working on power plant facilities across the world–he has moved over 30 times in his life, often to foreign countries where he could not speak the native language. He has lived in many countries, including Sweden, Singapore, and Portugal.
During Eerola’s time with his father, he discovered his passion for art. The hundreds of power blackouts and cityscapes he witnessed inspired the concrete aesthetic that is evident in his art.
Mikko Eerola’s Artistic Growth and Inspirations
After entering young adulthood, Eerola attended Alfa-Art, an art school which primarily focused on oil painting, until he later convinced his teachers to let him tackle digital art. He had always wanted to work with games, and his passion for art led him to interview with the gaming company Housemarque, where he worked on games such as Outland, a game known for its fantastic visuals–he spent three years working on the game’s silhouettes alongside fellow artist and and friend Ani Roschier.
Since his work with Housemarque, Eerola has taken up a job teaching concept art to media lab students at Helsinki Vocational College, where he tries to cover what his students are afraid of in their own work. Eerola said that many of his students have a romantic suffering approach to art, but he encourages others to get into their comfort zone and explore their own style.
As for Eerola’s own art, he wants to keep working and see where it goes, and what he can do with different formats and the influence of social media. Recently, he wrapped up an art project where he attempted to create 100 paintings in a year–many of the pieces from which are now displayed on his Instagram page. The project was completed after only six months, and Eerola said he learned a lot about his art and his own creative process during this time. In the future, he hopes to illustrate a children’s book, a long-time dream of his.
Emotional Influence on Style
Eerola said he has noticed that the emotions he feels while painting greatly influence the theme of the piece. One piece, “Ghost of Affection”, features a darker theme, drawn while Eerola was in a negative mood. “Ghost” is far different from another of his paintings, “Journey to the Sun”, which features adorable flower pots helping each other ascend a staircase. The styles of each piece contrast so much, they could almost resemble separate artists, but in actuality they are the result of a strong spectrum of emotion within the same person.
“I’m not an artist who hates my stuff,” Eerola said. “I’m the only one who can create what I create.”
Eerola feels that his art creates an online community, and that much is true–his art has drawn in many captivated followers on Instagram, and he says when people see his art, they know him in a very personal way, and perhaps can even process their own emotions while observing his work.
Eerola advises other artists and aspiring creatives to resist over-polishing the piece. He says that the 90 percent completion phase goes quickly, but the last 10 percent takes much longer, since that’s the time to polish and add detail–however, some artists spend too much time on the last 10 percent, and their piece loses its fresh quality.
“There is no A-B-C, you’re constantly checking it and going back and forth,” Eerola said. “When you paint, you learn about yourself.”
Eerola emphasizes that it’s important to love what you do, or in other words, love what art you create. Some people almost need permission or an excuse to draw, and he wishes more people would love painting.
“Others critique your art and you have to have someone rooting for you,” Eerola said. “It might as well be yourself.”