Thursday, March 14, 2013

Andreas Alariesto

While moving my pottery shelves from the lanai to the garage I re-discovered this plate made by Andreas Alariesto, 1900-1989. The plate was purchased by Gary's father when he returned to his homeland of Finland for a visit in 1983. Alariesto was born in Finland and worked as a lumberman, fisherman, and even a janitor. He was a self taught artist who did not have any formal art education. His main motivation for his paintings, story tellings, and songs was keeping alive the cultural traditions of Sompio, Lapland.

Alariesto, a primitivist painter, became famous in the 1970s and his first exhibition was in 1976 even though he had been painting since his adolescence. The plate, approximately 4 3/4 inches in diameter, depicts a typical natural scene where reindeer graze and frolic at Lake Inari. Lots of large birds are perched in the trees. One reindeer is even taking a nap on a boulder a short distance from the shore. This scene was reproduced on this plate made by Arabia Pottery in 1983 and can be hung on the wall. Alariesto's signature is reprinted on the reverse as well.

Both wild and semi-domesticated Finnish woodland reindeer have and continue to be an important food for the people of Finland. Reindeer have been hunted since the Stone Age and were domesticated between the Bronze and Silver Age. Reindeer are hunted and raised for their meat, antlers, and skins. Every organ of the reindeer is edible and even the blood is used in some traditional dishes. Reindeer meat is tender and lean and can be prepared fresh, dried, or smoked. Reindeer sausage is sold in grocery stores in Finland and reindeer meatballs are sold canned. Reindeer antlers are ground and sold as an aphrodisiac, and nutritional and medicinal supplement to Asian markets.

For more information about the life and work of Alariesto click this link to be taken to an article printed in the Christian Science Monitor in 1987. Well worth the read the article captures the essence of how an artist feels about their work, their passion and drive to keep working, to keep creating even in the face of criticism or adversities in their life. To see more of Alariesto's paintings and hear music he sang to go with each painting please click this link. All this time I've had this plate and I never knew the story of this fascinating artist till now, thanks for the motivation and inspiration Andreas. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. YEah to education! Great to learn of this master. Love the painting...and I was relieved to hear about the nap of the reindeer on the rock...I was worried about him for a minute.

  2. What a cool piece to have in your collection. Thanks for showing us the piece and informing us about this artist. Very cool.

  3. There are artists everywhere producing wonderful work!

  4. I featured your red curvy bowl again on my blog today. Still looks good.

  5. What a beautiful dish and there are a lot of collectors right on his pottery.


  6. That is stunning. Did you know that there are reindeer at Antarctica (South Georgia to be precise)? People thought that they could make a business with them, and transported them there. And now they may be the only reindeer who have not (after Chernobyl) been irradiated.

  7. I am always interested reading about artists. His work and the motivation behind it excellent. Sometimes I think schooling in art can take away from natural talent.

  8. I am always interested reading about artists. His work and the motivation behind it excellent. Sometimes I think schooling in art can take away from natural talent.

  9. I very much enjoyed this primitive painting by Alariesto featured on the plate made by Arabia Pottery.
    I also very much liked learning a bit about Andrais Alariesto as an artist . It was also interesting learning about the reindeer in Finland. Thank you for the post.

  10. Hi Barbara, thanks, well I am assuming the reindeer is napping, at least I like to think so.

    Hi Lori, thanks, it's amazing what one can learn on the internet just for the looking.

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, amazing how even those isolated are drawn to produce art work for no other reason than just because they are drawn to do so.

    Hi Gigi, thanks, I will check it out thanks for the plug.

    Hi Elna, thanks, I can imagine someone collecting a whole group of these as they are miniature and would fit in a small area.

    Hi Elephant's Child, thanks, I learned a lot about the reindeer after reading about them in various countries but till today I did not know they are so wide spread, nor did I now about their unique survivability.

    Hi Dee, thanks, I agree about the schooling, sometimes it may detract from the inner passion of the artist.

    Hi Willow, thanks, it is amazing to learn about an artist so driven from within.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment