• DASH-Magazine-Jarno-Kettunen-Image4.jpg.5000x600_q90
    All illustrations by Jarno Kettunen
  • DASH-Magazine-Jarno-Kettunen-Image3.jpg.5000x600_q90
  • DASH-Magazine-Jarno-Kettunen-Image2.jpg.5000x600_q90
  • DASH-Magazine-Jarno-Kettunen-Image1.jpg.5000x600_q90
  • DASH-Magazine-Jarno-Kettunen-Image5.jpg.5000x600_q90


Jarno Kettunen’s interactive approach to fashion illustration results in audaciously expressionistic drawings that capture the movement of an outfit and the ambience of its surroundings. The Finnish illustrator’s spontaneous creations are featured in the current Autumn / Winter 2014 issue of DASH Magazine titled ‘Fused–’. We caught up with him to talk about his work.

Jarno, your work seems to embrace the expressionistic capacity of fashion illustration – what is it about drawing that fashion photography simply can’t capture?
I am offering an artist’s interpretation of the latest collections directly from the backstage of fashion shows. My drawings are not photo realistic, but capture the mood and the essence of each collection. Instead of merely documenting the looks and the models, my drawings help to celebrate the collections and to freeze them in time in artistic images from our current contemporary culture.

You often work from live runway models – what element do you believe this brings to your final products?
I prefer to draw live because it allows for much more interesting interactions and room for chance. You never know what’s going to happen! For instance, once when drawing backstage at a Dior Homme show, everything started sooner than planned and the models didn’t have time to pose for me. So I needed to improvise and draw the looks as the models were changing or standing in the line-up getting ready for the catwalk. This spontaneity allowed for some truly amazing energy and results that wouldn’t really be possible to recreate in the studio. Of course there are other things, too, such as the possibility to see and feel the the clothes up close and being able to really work with the models and different poses. I’m also interested in the act of drawing becoming a part of the end result and that is why I have recently focused more on drawing as a performance.

What are you trying to capture when you approach an illustration?
With my live drawings I capture the essence of sporadic moments and personalities filtered through my expressive style and personal interpretation. When drawing fashion, I mostly focus on the mood of the collection and the show with attention to details, such as hair and make-up, accessories and the personality of the models. My studio work is more refined and sometimes more narrative, but it still maintains an expressive handmade feel.

Is there a particular designer whose work you find especially appealing to draw?
There are actually many as there are many different styles and approaches. To name but a few: I love drawing Dries Van Noten’s creations because of the details, fabrics and my personal fashion taste. I had great pleasure drawing at Kris Van Assche’s Dior Homme show and would love to be invited to draw at Raf Simons’ personal show. Rei Kawakubo’s fashion is always extremely inspiring but sometimes frustrating to illustrate. I’m very intrigued by Jean Paul Gaultier and Diane Von Furstenberg, not only because of their incredible work, but for their iconic personalities and for being able to create their own unique fashion worlds and following. Other designer favourites are Gareth Pugh, the Mulleavy sisters, Valentino, Armani, Prada, Hedi Slimane and, of course, not to forget, Karl Lagerfeld, whose creativity is unparalleled and creations so beautiful to look at. I also enjoy drawing at some graduate shows such as at the Antwerp Academy because it’s so much fun and the students have so much enthusiasm and so many fresh ideas.

Do you prefer tea or coffee?
That depends on the time of the day. I can’t start a day without my americano, but later in the day and in the evening I prefer low-caffeine teas. Throughout the day, I also drink yerba mate, which is a South American infused drink and a family tradition.

Interview: Robbie Hodges

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on Twitter