We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikki Kunttu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikki, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
I believe it is the realisation that nothing is separate from each other. What I mean by this is that there is no separation with the so-called private self and the work self. I believe you manifest your values all the time and everywhere and the real aim should be to create a life that simply supports your values and have values that support your way of living. I’m not a big believer in success in terms of money and fame, for me the real success is to live a balanced life and to find ways and processes that help one another heal and to find our potential as human beings. Art and creativity for me is right in the core of that.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At younger age I worked in many different fields of art creating lighting and set designs for concerts, television, contemporary dance, classical ballet, art exhibitions, opera, musicals, drama theater, and so on. Also pretty early on I started to design lighting, sets and video for stage. I have also programmed the majority of my shows myself. I think this has given me a little wider perspective on the production process and it’s always been quite natural for me to think a little outside the box. For me the most important thing is collaboration and how we create togehter. Creative work is often also about dealing with uncertanties, which means it is very importatant to have a respectful, trusting and supportive athmosphere within the productions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well if you’re asking about my home town of Porvoo in Finland, that would for sure be the Old Porvoo. It is a very romantic setting and has a number of great restaurants, cafe’s and shops. Other than that I would take you hiking or trail running in the nearby parks and by the river and the Baltic Ocean.
I also have my studio in the Old Porvoo and I love the calm athmosphere there. Winters are amazingly beautiful as the Old Town looks just like a painting.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
One of the most important twists of fate for me was meeting choreographer Tero Saarinen very early in my career. Designing for contemporary dance really changed and developed the way I see the stage. I’ve been very lucky to meet so many great people all along. I think it was very important especially in the earlier years, when different directors, choreographers and producers gave me amazing and challenging projects before I eaven had too much experience. Opera and ballet houses such as the Finnish National Opera & Ballet and The Royal Danish Ballet have been very generous and trusting for me. In the more recent years it’s been amazing to work with and get to know so many incredible and talented people at Cirque du Soleil. There is just so much creative talent there.
My portrait is by Kaapo Kamu.