Esko Juhani Kaarakka Biography

Esko Juhani Kaarakka




Printmaker and sculptor Esko Juhani Kaarakka was born in 1929 in Finland. He studied at the University of Helsinki in 1950, where he learned drawing. After studying there for a year he enrolled in the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, where he studied printmaking and painting between 1952-1956 and again in 1959-1960. After graduating from Academy, Kaarakka was inspired to study abroad. Between 1958-59 he studied at the Karlsruhe University of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany, and later studied scutpture in Copenhagen and Paris.

Esko Kaarakka joined the Young Graphic Artists group when their exhibitions began touring around Finland. The group was established by a few Finnish printmakers in 1954, and the first joint exhibition was held in May of the same year. During the next two years, the group managed to show in at least 12 locations. It was well received everywhere it travelled. Graphics started to become popular in Finland as a unique and economically advantageous form of art and Kaarakka continued to work in printmaking.

In 1968, the women's magazine Hopeapeili (Silver Mirror) commissioned Kaarakka to do a piece for one of their portrait-of-the-month selections. The Finnish Printmakers archive collection box has three of his graphic works, all of which had been made while he still studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts: "Rooster" (1954), "The Trotters" (1955) and "House Group" (1955), all of them etchings. In addition to the Young Artists’ Exhibition (1961), Esko Kaarakka participated in the Finnish Artists' exhibition in 1962 and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts triennial exhibition in 1965. 

Kaarakka lived primarily in Seinajoki while also teaching drawing the cities of Mikkeli and Haapavesi. Other than this, the private life of the artist is not well documented after his marriage to Eve Sollan. 

Esko Juhani Kaarakka died in Helsinki on October 28, 1970