Edited to add: Original inspiration picture has been found. You can see it HERE.
Marimekko released a statement about two hours ago regarding Hetkiä/Moments-print. For those who don’t know, last night someone came forward with this bag on the left and said she bought it in Barcelona in 2001. The Marimekko print on the right is from 2003. Marimekko’s statement is as follows:
YLE published on their website on Wednesday 25.9.2013 that recent allegations regarding Marimekko, reminded a so far anonymous person about similarities between print designed by Marimekko designer Maija Louekari in year 2003, Hetkiä/Moments, and a purse she possibly bought in Barcelona on her holiday.
“I confirm that Hetkiä/Moments is my design. I took part with it in a competition organized by Marimekko and University of Art & Design Helsinki. The bag bought in Barcelon, seen in the news, in my opinion is the copy. I’ve seen the bag myself (often), after the print was produced by Marimekko and been wondering about it’s similarity. My Hetkiä/Moments-prints inspiration came from Helsinki streetviews. I drew the view in the city center from a point where you look towards Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. This Helsinki view is can also be seen in the nameless’ source’s bag from Barcelona”, says Louekari.
“Maija Louekari won a competition organized by University of Art & Design Helsinki and Marimekko for young designers with her Hetkiä/Moments print in 2003. Louekari’s print collection of various city views appealed the jury. With the win, Hetkiä/Moments, was selected to be produced and launched as part of Marimekko’s Spring 2004 home decoration collection”, says Marimekko’s creative director Minna Kemell-Kutvonen.
As part of statement is a scan of Louekari’s competition piece from 2003, and today 26.9.2013 taken photograph from Helsinki, the corner of Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi, which was the inspiration for Hetkiä/Moments.
You can download the original images from the statement HERE. I will now try to argue why I still think this is very much of an open case.
If you look at the page 1 of the scan, you can see cityscapes of many European cities. I can for sure recognize the one from Holland and the one with narrow, curved street looks like something from Paris. And I should know, I lived in the previous one for years and the latter, I’ve visited 5-6 times already. In one picture there’s even japanese/chinese writing. But all is good still here, they say in the statement that “various city views”, they didn’t specify Helsinki.
In a closer look, the page is A4 in size (even if it was A3) but there’s a lot of detail per image. It says that it’s a scan of Louekari’s competition piece. So I’m assuming that she scanned her sketches and then printed them out. Which means this is a scan of a scan. Then in the middle, there’s an odd cut-off point which looks like that there was two separate pieces of paper on top of each other when the scanning was done. But I can’t tell was this done in the original, competition version or in this second scan. Then on the bottom there’s a piece of paper with text “Printti: Kuvia kaupungista”, laying on top of the paper/sketch. Again, cannot tell if it’s in the competition piece or added for this scan.
On the second page we see two sketches. As they stand on a blank background, I’m assuming that two separate images were imported into this page. Again, I cannot tell if this was done in the original competition piece or for this proof scan. However, here we see the words Sade1 and Printti, Eteläespa.
Now on the third page we see three prints: Sade, Eteläespa and Terassi. On previous page we see the name Sade assigned to the Eteläespa but here we can see a print with people carrying umbrellas, the second is Eteläespa and on the bottom Terassi. In this scan we basically see three sketches that have been scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop and then some attempted colourings. A personal comment…I remember when I started learning Photoshop for printing in art school. This is exactly how my colouring went when I didn’t yet understand how tools worked. I’d randomly click on my sketch and the go “ooh” and “aah” when something design-ish appeared in the screen.
Now, Marimekko and Louekari states that the view is from Helsinki and took a photograph this morning to prove it. However, where do the other sketches come from? Did she travel to those places herself and took photos and then used them for sketching? The sketch style in itself is not original, there wasn’t an art student at that time who hadn’t dabbled with don’t-lift-the-pen-technique, myself included. Which places were inspiration for Sade and Terassi?
Then the questionable print…Marimekko and Louekari states that this is from the corner of Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. However in the competition piece (of which we now know only that it’s a scan of a competition piece that Marimekko says is a competition piece) it states the name Eteläespa. Which is a nickname for Eteläesplanadi, the SOUTHERN opposite of Pohjoisesplanadi. Then more problems, the scale is wrong. On Pohjoisesplanadi cars aren’t that close to the sidewalk NOR the area of Esplanadi where the benches actually are. Something else missing too, the hustle and bustle seen in the sketch. But guess where they ARE situated like that? And where there is movement, and hustle and bustle? In Barcelona. On La Rambla:
What else I got? I don’t want to sound like Matlock but my friend just called. We had the following conversation:
He: I don’t think the print is about Helsinki
Me: How come?
He: The car in the pic. It’s a japanese model that wasn’t sold in Finland at all. It was popular in Central and Southern Europe though.
Here we have Marimekko and Marimekko’s designer saying the print isn’t a copy. Trying to prove it with a photo taken this morning, in a location that doesn’t match the “original” print name, and with scans of pages we cannot verify when they were made/printed, of sketches we cannot verify where the sketches came from. Memory? Photographs? Whose photographs?
Only when we can check the manufacturer of the bag that started it all and the date it was made, we can definitely say if Hetkiä is an original piece or not. Right now, with the shaky lines, it looks like it was traced through ON a very uneven surface, very quickly.
Thrifty Finn- Nearly missing gym because of this
P.S. If you know the person who told YLE about the bag, please let her know that I’m interested in the company name. She can contact me via thriftyfinn(at)gmail.com