Catching up with artist Vesa Peltonen

November 2016

I first met multi-faceted artist, Vesa Peltonen through musician Ari Lahdekorpi and then marketing maverick Warren Hughes back in the early 80’s, and I remember being struck by Vesa’s entrepreneurial spirit. Over the years, that spirit helped him capture some key opportunities to expose his work to the community at large and then globally. Some of his many creations were a successful commemorative print series for the 1981 Canada Summer Games, Canada’s first Gold win in World Jr.Hockey. Others were licensed glass designs for the World Nordic Games, Barcelona Olympics, and co-signed prints portraying Karen Kain and Dr Jane Goodall’s 30-years studying animals in the wild.

Over the last 36 years, Peltonen has continued to explore and create new works of art to push his limits. And his creative drive continues to be relevant and recognised.

A recent example was being selected as a featured artist in the 4th edition of the globally respected, ‘Inspiration: International Art Book’, published in England. He was one of only 100 selected from 3,500 artist submissions. The large book is annually sent to world art galleries, known art collectors, and more. Peltonen’s first solo exhibition since his 2004 Thunder Bay Art Gallery show, happened in Thunder Bay this autumn at ‘In Common Social’. He’ll exhibit soon in Miami, Havana, Lisbon and Toronto next year.

“Self-promotion is the key. I do continual promotion of my art and design on the internet. I’ve sold some art through my website and online, at the ‘Saatchi Art’ gallery. As an artist, you need to be creative with eye-catching promotions”, says Peltonen.

Recently, his unique artistic creations are being used for a global casual clothing line that seems to be taking off.

“I had a company called ‘VIDA & Co. Fashion’ contact me last year, saying they saw my art website and liked my ‘whimsical water theme art’. They needed artists from different countries, with unique original art styles who could interpret their art modified onto their mostly womens casual varied silk scarves to casual shirts and more. Based in San Francisco, they’ve been noted as innovative, as products are very much hand-done. From my design of a cashmere scarf, for example, they’re laser printed onto a lengthy stretched silk material, cut when done on a ‘loom’ pulling the fabric, and then parts are hand sewn. Once printed all are shipped to head-office, stylishly packaged and sent to customers destinations. It’s fun to creatively design from my artworks or using my own imagination to make a new pattern, modified onto an item ‘template’ on their website. I have about 90 items in my Collection site and have become one of their top sellers. My items are shown in their newsletter, plus they produce professional ads for my designs shown globally. My name is also on each item, verifying a ‘Designer original’ being a very nice touch”, proudly states Peltonen.

With this recent development and the many others that have presented themselves over the years, Peltonen expresses a gratefulness, as to self accomplish is an achievement.

“I feel quite grateful. Exhibiting my art is immensely fulfilling. My past art exhibitions had worked out well in Canada. I’ve had awards for my art, was invited as an advisor for the Ontario Arts Council to represent N.W. Ontario. I won the Thunder Bay ‘Heritage and Culture Award’ in Visual Art 2006. These have helped me move ahead. I don’t stop with an award in my hand; I move on, which I have emphasized to my art students. “’Work Hard, Be Proud”, I recall: as memorable words said to me by an older Dutch artist, Jan Bonning, who I got to know. He ran a silkscreen shop in Winnipeg. I was at the University of Manitoba, my Art/History degrees about complete in the early 80’s. He motivated me to keep printmaking. I bought a serigraph print of his before coming back to Thunder Bay which still inspires. I’m happy to have met such a passionate artist, who was a kind, fascinating friend, and good mentor also,” said Peltonen.

Vesa Peltonen can be reached at 768-4877 at home/studio for appointments/inquiries.

To keep up with Vesa Peltonen’s latest creations – visit these websites. Art website is: VIDA fashions

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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