In our encounters with comics experts and professionals all over Europe we meet with Petra Virtanen from Finland’s Kutikuti, a network for Finnish contemporary comic artists.
Kutikuti is an association focused on the less mainstream side of Finnish comics and features around 50 artists. Kutikuti Artists work mostly as independents, self-publishing, or publishing in magazines such as the association’s quarterly magazine, Kuti.
Edited by the artists themselves, Kuti is the only magazine in Finland focusing on contemporary comics worldwide. Kuti comes out on a regular basis since 2006, a profile which makes it rather unique in the Finnish comics scene. Attesting to this uniqueness is the selection of works featured in Kuti from 2006 to 2018 anthologized in The thick book of Kuti, which this year won the Prix de la BD Alternative at Angoulême. The Next issue of Kuti, to be published in June 2021, marks the 60th issue of the magazine.
The artists from Kutikuti are on average in their forties and prefer producing their work in print than digitally. Furthermore, the association really cares for the artist-reader encounter. Yet for Petra Kutikuti is not against digital distribution and digital comics. Not only the Kuti magazine is available online for free, but also due to the difficulties that came with the covid-19 crisis, they began looking more systematically to overcome the limits of physical distribution and to better develop their digital distribution channels.
In our conversations with Petra we touched on the difference between mainstream and experimental productions in Finland and how this has an impact on work opportunities for comics creators, with the latter finding less opportunities to showcase their work, no matter their career. This divide is also impacted by the age-gap among comic creators, since digital natives and/or millennials, when not publishing mainstream, view more favourably the use social media such as Instagram to distribute their work.
In conclusion what came out of our conversations with Kutikuti is that a project such as Eudicom can have a positive impact on creators even from the most diverse backgrounds; According to Petra, Kutikuti options for digital distribution were severely limited by a lack of technical means, therefore trainings on this side of digital distribution will definitely prove relevant for their future activities.