MARKKU LAAKSOThe Red Mark
The worlds and motifs depicted in my work often incorporate elements from history and from my own personal life. Along the years, I have come to realise that the colour red, my favourite since childhood, has always been present. It is not always the same red but I know exactly how to mix it for each piece. My red is like an old friend that I am happy to see when I paint. It is the red thread running through my work.
When I was a baby, I had a bright red birthmark on my forehead. I was branded with red at birth. It has been my only favourite colour since the very beginning, and I suspect what first attracted me was its clarity, intensity and aesthetic immediacy. The colour features in many elements that evoke strong emotions in me as a Lapp; sunsets, the northern lights, pitch wood and the turning of the leaves in the autumn, all of them symbolised by the red trim on the traditional Lappish dress. When I was a child, my nose was always quick to bleed. Blood red, in all its starkness, is beautiful.
Red is the colour of attention and has been used to express love, passion and ideology. It is apparently also the most common favourite colour, so I am clearly not alone with my preference. In my paintings, it could be seen as the colour of solidarity. As it is the colour of blood, it also signifies the bloodline; our inheritance, good and bad. In my work, red could also be taken to represent tolerance. No matter who and what we are, we all have red blood running through our veins - if only no one had to shed theirs to prove it.