Ilona Cutts (born Sampovaara) studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and
Design, London, U.K. In 1995 she received her BFA in painting from Kankaanpää Art College, in Finland. Ilona’s paintings have been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group shows, such as in Japan, Australia, Portugal, France, Mexico, Finland and the USA, France and Spain. Her work can be found in important collections such as the Oulu Museum of Modern Art in Oulu, Finland. Her latest group show in Finland was at SINKKA, Contemporary Art Museumof Kerava in Finland, and Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wisconsin. She participated in 2 group shows at Stone Sparrow Gallery in New York City in 2020.
Ilona was born in Finland and she’s Finnish-American. Ilona’s family moved consistently from country to country as she was growing up. At age 2 months she moved to Argentina. Argentina was followed by Poland, the U.K, and Mexico where she moved at age 12. Ilona’s continued relationship with Mexico, spanning around 28 years, deeply impacted her being and the art she makes. Later Ilona also lived and had a Studio in Spain. As her family was continually moving, Ilona often felt alone as she had to say goodbye to her friends. So as not to feel lonely she began drawing at a very early age and found solice in the creatures and imaginary world she created for herself.
Ilona moved to the US in 2016. She and her husband John, their Shar-Pei, Liisa Lightray and
their cat, Frida Katlo all live in Atlanta in a romantic white house. Ilona continues to work and exhibit her work. She also teaches and mentors new and established artists.
Ilona has been sponsored by TAIKE, Finland Art Grant for 2021 and Northside Hospital
2022 and Finnish Cultural Foundation 2018.
I like to think of myself as a visual storyteller, in search for meaning and beauty. I paint and perform through life’s philosophical lens. I find myself in a continuous dialogue which explores the relationship of humans versus nature and everyday objects. My inspiration also comes from observing nature and animals and how we interact with one another.
I was born in Finland but my family was continuously moving and I grew up in many different countries and cultures. Our homes were surrounded with antiques and art, that my Mother collected throughout her travels. Through them I learned to observe beautiful things and have an appreciation for the arts.
Having been raised with a rootless existence I often felt alone as a child and did not have a sense of belonging or identity. I can’t say I identify myself as any particular Nationality. My only clear language is Art and Painting is my voice. Painting and drawing became a way for me to feel grounded and offered me a special place to go to. I call it a parallel world, or Enchanting World, where you can dream and befriend fantastical beings. It is a place where anything and everything is possible, a place with no sadness or sorrow.
My Mother and I were very close and she was my muse and patron of Arts. When she Crossed over to the Other Side in 2016, my life changed instantly. The thought of being without her was very unsettling to me. I wanted to find a way to communicate with her so I began to investigate what happens to our Soul once it leaves our body, and if our conversation could go on. I took her antiques and arts Collection with me Home and once again they began appearing in my paintings. I’m fascinated by how life might have been a 150 years ago, how different our lives must have been without technology and the “busyness” of every day life. When I touch old objects I imagine them taking me to another place where I’ve not been, or to another person that held that very same object. I begin to
ask myself, what might have that person been thinking about when they held that object in their hands, or what kind of life were they living? Tangible things give meaning and context to our lives and can also tell something about that person who owned that particular object.
Questions begin to arise in me; after we leave this Earthly existence, is it only objects we left behind, or perhaps something intangible and far more meaningful that is left behind together with that object? The answer I came up with is; energy. If there is energy connected to that object, wouldn’t that person’s Soul be able to talk to us through the object and convey us messages?
Through some research and practice, I have found a way to communicate with my Mother, through my art and my connection to these objects she left behind. For me Art should act as a vehicle for a deeper understanding of ourselves as Human Beings and our purpose on Earth. It can and should create a higher consciousness within us so that we could see our Earth (our Home) like a delicate flower that needs to be protected and nurtured.
Member of Finnish Artists Association (*FAA)
Member of Espoo Artists Association , Finland
Teaches and lectures on the Psychology of Art Marketing
2022 The Homecoming. Spruill Art Gallery, Dunwoody. Atlanta
2022 The Homecoming, Aarni Gallery, Espoo, Finland
2016 The Other Side. Katariina Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2014 Creatures. Art Alex Gallery, Helsinki. Finland
2013 In Vino Veritas. Art Alex Gallery, Helsinki. Finland
2012 Kingdom Come. Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki. Finland
2012 Jorvi Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
2011 Unhappy Rabbits 2. In My Room Gallery. Paris, France
2011 The Unhappy Rabbits, Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2010 Mondo Bizarro Show. Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2009 Naughty Show. Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2009 Naughty Show. Espoo Cultural Center. Espoo, Finland
2008 Heads or Tails. Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2007 A Dog’s Life. Art Alex Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
2007 A Dog’s Life. Jorvi Hospital. Helsinki, Finland
2006 A Dog´s Life. Jardin Borda Museum. Cuernavaca, Mexico
2003 Comics. The Finnish Embassy. Mexico City, Mexico
2003 Peepo, the Little Giraffe. The Finnish Embassy. Mexico City, Mexico
2000 Ilona by Ilona. Cultural Center for Arts, San Angel. Mexico City, Mexico
1999 Wanna Play? Samuel Menache Gallery. Mexico City, Mexico
1998 Computerized. Be ´ 19 Gallery. Helsinki, Finland
1998 Computerized. Finnish Embassy. Mexico City, Mexico
1997 Hidden faces. The Raul Anguiano Gallery. Mexico City
1996 In Suit. Expo Arte Gallery. Madrid, Spain
1995 In Suit. Speakeasy Cultural Center for Arts. Madrid, Spain
2022 Salon des Refusés, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin. USA
2022 Ava International. Enokojima Art, Culture and Creative Center. Osaka, Japan
2022 Festival de Arte Contemporaneo. Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional, Lisboa, Portugal
2022 Annual Finnish painters Union exhibition. Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki. Finland
2021 Earth to Sky. Van der Plas Gallery, New York. NY
2021 Let’s Face it. Alpharetta Arts Center, GA. USA
2020 The Unseen, Stone Sparrow Gallery , New York
2019 Tarot , Hive Art Gallery , Los Angeles
2019 False Face, Stone Sparrow Gallery , New York
2019 Espoo Artist’s Association 50th Anniversary Show , Finland
2019 Georgia Artist’s Juried Show , Atlanta . GA
2018 Finnish Illusion. Ilona Cutts, Katja Tukiainen, Maria Wolfram. Spruill Gallery. Atlanta. USA
2017 Finnish Artist Association. *FAA. Helsinki, Finland
2017 Espoo Art Association, Finland
2016 Finnish Artist Association. *FAA. Helsinki, Finland
2015 Espoon Taidelainaamo. Iso Omena. Espoo
2015 Finnish Artist Association. FAA. Helsinki, Finland
2014 Presencias 36. (APLAMA) Asociacion de Artistas de Malaga. Espanja
2014 Finnish Artist Association. FAA. Helsinki, Finland
2013 Finnish Artist Association. FAA. Helsinki, Finland
2012 Auguste Clown Gallery. Sydney, Australia
2012 About Face. WWA Gallery. Los Angeles, California. U.S.A
2009 City Museum of Cuernavaca, Mexico
2009 Secretary Of Immigration, Cuernavaca. Mexico
2006 International Womens Day. Museum Borda, Cuernavaca. Mexico
2005 Immigrant Artists Living in Mexico. Cuernavaca, Mexico
2004 Immigrant Artists Living in Mexico. Monterrey University, Cuernavaca, Mexico
2002 International Artists Show. City Museum of Queretaro, Mexico
2001 International Young Artists Show. City Museum of Queretaro, Mexico
1999 Group Show. Kin Gallery . Mexico City, Mexico
1998 Young Art. Taidehalli Art Hall. Helsinki, Finland
1997 Art Festival. Mänttä Art Weeks. Mänttä, Finland
1996 Summer Show. Detursa Gallery, Madrid Spain
1993 Group Show. Classical and Contemporary Art Gallery. Mexico City, Mexico
1991 Young Art. Hyvinkää, Finland
Oulu Museum of Art
The President of Finland, Tarja Halonen
Previous President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari
Bank Sampo Group, Helsinki, Finland
Wärtsilä , Mexico City, Mexico
The Finnish Embassy, Mexico City, Mexico
The Borceguí Shoe Museum , Mexico City, Mexico
Warner Brother’s Music Chappel, Madrid, Spain
The Cavern Rock Club, Madrid, Spain
The Sixteenth Chapel Night Club, Mexico City, Mexico
2021 TAIKE (Arts Promotion Center), Finland
2018 Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finland
Peepo, Pieni Kirahvi, Tammi , 2003
(Peepo, The Little Giraffe.) Written and illustrated by ILONA,
Published by Tammi. Finland, 2003
1993 -1995 B. A. IN FINE ARTS, Kankaanpää Art University, Kankaanpää, Finland
1992 -1993 Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, England
1991 -1992 Karjaa Art School. Karjaa, Finland. Various Techniques.
1990 -1991 Various Art Schools, Finland. Techniques in oil, live model drawing, etching etc.