Kustaa Saksi

“Music and visual art together is an invincible combo,” says illustrator Kustaa Saksi, who was reared on the “soft synthesizer ballads and sugarcoated ’80s pop gymnastics” his two older sisters fed him while growing up in the small town of Kouvala, Finland. Enrolled in children’s art school at the age of six, Saksi began his career as an artist, drawing, woodcutting, and silkscreening his dream cars and not much else. Appropriately enough, he would go on to illustrate ads for the likes of Citroën and Mercedes Benz, putting his focused early training to good use. After a year in the Finnish Navy, Saksi studied art in Lahti, Finland, and soon applied his playful psychedelic style to his illustration work for the New York Times and Playboy, fashion designs for Comme des Garçons and Fifty24SF, and commercial illustrations for brands like Vespa and Diesel. Still as dreamy as ever, Saksi builds acid-soaked fairylands from colorful, abstract shapes and patterns that are funny as often as they are a little frightening. His contribution to the collection brings us one of his trademark tripped-out landscapes paired with a fairytale-influenced wink toward the pinnacle of psychedelia itself, “The Walrus.” Intricate, yet immediately arresting, his works beg to be explored without overwhelming the senses.