We had the good fortune of connecting with Jones Häkkinen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jones, is there something you believe many others might not?
That stress is a thing that you should try to avoid. I think you should run towards stressful situations, step outside your comfort zone and learn to connect with your happiness in the calm center of the hurricane of a stressful situation. But happiness and fulfillment play a key role in my advice. In order to be able to benefit from stress you need to feel a connection and a passion for the task at hand, or your mission at large. If you already hate what you are doing the stress will just wear you down.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
To me it’s funny how many artists emphasize originality as a virtue, and it’s often a thing that also separates me from a lot of creative artists. I don’t think originality is important at all – as long as you are honest. I consider myself to be a part of a continuum of sound, images and stories that has survived since the dawn of mankind and now lives on through me among other people who create. Our ability to bring our truth and personality into our work decides how engaging and appealing it is much more than the perceived originality of it. In our professional lives the challenge lies in bringing that authenticity and personality into play when we are doing something that has more to do with communication goals of a client than our personal passions. If you ask me, overcoming that challenge of consciously activating your inspiration – instead of having to wait for it – is the main threshold on the journey from a creative person to a creative professional. That skill comes from the pain of failure, virtue of persistence and accumulation of self awareness. It can only be obtained by personal experience, which is why I consider it to be the great equalizer in the creative field. I am proud of my ability to create energy and enthusiasm in the people around me, and I think that ability comes from me being genuinely connected to my vision and always trying to bring value to my customers by being present and aware. A satisfied customer does not make me happy, a customer that is blown away makes me happy. creative field.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is such a standard Finnish answer, but as a Nordic the most valuable experience I could ever offer to a person from abroad is the Finnish nature. The vast, clean forests, the thousands of lakes. Just the air and the water. There’s something very central to the Nordic way of being and living in those connections we form to our natural surroundings. The harsh conditions of the wild that have molded our cultures and ancestors, are still very present here in these modern days. I think wandering around in a Finnish forest is a meditative experience that everyone should go through at least once in their lives. It is unparalleled.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My gosh, there are so many people in the world who have contributed to my development and journey. From George Lucas teaching me the importance of a captivating story and a method for the workflow of animation elements, to Will Eisner who taught me the importance of dynamic illustration and the “living line” as I call it. But when I tell people about my path to this point there is one book that I think changed my trajectory in a pivotal point in my career as I was transitioning from being a creative worker to being a creative leader. The book is called “The creators code” by Amy Wilkinson. It’s a terrific book overall, but one simple advice always stands out for me from it: “Gift small goods”. That advice to be generous and authentic with the way you help people has served me tremendously well as a strategy for creating leads and reputation, but also has gotten me to completely change my point of view about making work donations instead of “working for free”.