Artist Eric Hynynen, was born in Sydney, NSW in 1971 to Martti and Pirkko Hynynen. Eric’s Grandparents immigrated to Australia with their ten children in order to escape the poverty of Finland at the time. In 1973, the entire family relocated to Perth where Eric was raised.
In 1992, Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Health) from Curtin University of Technology in Perth. Eric left Australia and resided in Finland, completing his National Service (non-military), which is a requirement of male Finnish citizens. Eric first formed the idea of making art after an inspiring meeting with his second cousin Jouko Alapartanen. Jouko was well on his way to becoming an established artist in Finland and his guidance influenced Eric to continue creating art.
On his return to Australia, Eric began studying for a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) degree at Edith Cowan University and graduated in 1999.
For some time, Eric worked in science based vocations that only allowed limited time for art. He spent all of his spare time creating works and held his first solo show
The New Icons at the Kurb Gallery in 2006. Shortly afterwards, Eric decided to pursue art full time, regardless of the consequences. He quit his job, sold his house and all of his possessions and set off to experience life, art and adventure by travelling and living in Europe.
Eric immersed himself in Finnish life and discovered that Finns value nature, culture, education and saunas. Eric researched the best places in Finland to extend his arts practice and discovered the prestigious Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. Eric applied and was accepted by the Academy. He graduated in 2009 with a Master of Fine Arts degree.
The training at the Academy refined his practice and lead to the addition of video art to Eric’s body of work. He continued to create and held a couple of solo exhibitions featuring video works in Helsinki. Eric was selected as a finalist in the
Celeste Prize and was flown to New York for his short film The Finn.
The time Eric spent in Europe allowed him exposure to the best contemporary art in the world. Scandinavian design, the Finnish nature and way of life have all been major influences on Eric’s art. This is evident in terms of a minimalist aesthetic and toned down colour palette.
After finally having had enough of the arctic cold, Eric returned to Australia around 2014 and continued his practice. Eric has participated in numerous group shows and video screenings / festivals. He has won several art awards and in 2015, he held his solo show
Systematically Conditioned at PS Artspace, Fremantle.
Throughout his practice is Eric’s resolve to make the viewer aware of the importance of individual freedom and social equality. This is Eric’s reaction against what he sees as the erosion of rights and increasing legislation controlling our lives. For Eric, art is a process giving a space to reclaim some of these lost freedoms.
Eric’s art constantly questions society, often ironically, but always aesthetically with videos such as
A Short History of the World, The Swarm, and Feast criticising the frantic consumerism of modern life, albeit in a Chaplinesque way. He believes that “the very act of making an artwork is radical, as it is outside the realm of what is controlled. Art has the value of having no practical function.” Cryptic comment can also be seen in paintings, such as Drug of the Nation, showing a skull printed with the test pattern for a television set, with Traders and State Control leaving the viewer to consider what is happening to our society.
Eric continues to critique the capitalist system, which inevitably most people (including him) are bound to. He believes it is essential for artists to continue a commentary and inspire others to take a stand, so that we can protect our biggest asset: the environment. Capitalism is simply incompatible with the natural world.
Eric Hynynen Contemporary art Perth, Australia, Helsinki Finland