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18 Years Old. Self Taught. Legend.

March 30, 2018

 Any guesses on how many photos the artist had to combine to create the photo above? We'll tell you in a minute. For now, meet the creator, Julius Kähkönen, an 18 year old digital artist who is grasping the world's attention with his surreal photo compositions.


This kid is basically Harold and the purple crayon. Except the crayon is some magical computer software that teams up with this dude's limitless imagination.


"I completely fell in love with editing, and suddenly, I found myself editing all the time," he talks about that legendary Julius grind, "literally every day I edited, edited, and edited. I watched countless of hours of tutorials from YouTube and just kept practicing. I didn’t really get a lot of recognition at first. But one day, I skipped school because I wanted to edit more than be bored in class, so I bought a pizza and sat in my chair and started creating. The edit that I created that day ended up being one of the most shared art pieces around the world in 2017. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my account started growing rapidly. I think it was that exact day when I decided what I wanted in life: I wanted to be an artist."


He's a modern day Picasso. But he doesn't typically use his own shots. Most of this stuff is combined stock photos.


"Some people think that it’s easy to download photos that someone else has shot and then combine them together in Photoshop, but it’s extremely hard and requires a lot of skill and time," I guess this is more meticulous than expected. "I spend an average of 6-9 hours on one edit. I try not to think about how much time it takes, because people who follow me will just look at the image and make up their own minds about whether the edit is good or not."


 Art by Julius Kähkönen, combination of 11 images


Unanimous vote here at The Art Of Unpredictability: it's all good.


Now, the other day, I was browsing Instagram, and I noticed that a music artist I follow was advertising his newest album using artwork that looked oddly familiar. I did a little research and discovered a wild coincidence.


"In the beginning of December, Jake Miller hit me up with a message on Instagram asking kindly if I’d be interested in creating an album cover for his new album," I think you can see where this is going. "I immediately agreed on doing it, and suddenly I was creating the album art for him. Originally, the idea was to do only one album art for ’’Headlights," but Jake liked the first one so much that he got a totally new idea for the album. He wanted an edit for each of the songs in the album. The project took over two months to finish, and it still is the biggest and most challenging project I’ve worked on. The album ’’Silver Lining’’ is out now, and the launch of the album was very successful."


I guess we're not the only ones who noticed Julius' unique ability to create. But there are a ton of graphic artists out there. And yet, something about Julius' work really stands out. I was curious what he was doing to create this unique look.


"My advice for authenticity is that you need to spend thousands of hours creating in order to achieve some kind of originality," rumor has it that 10,000 hours is the magic number. "I sacrificed all of my time for art, so I guess that played a big part in achieving my style. No one can be 100% unique with their own work, and that is because there is a great chance of your idea already being created by someone else. You have to make sure that when you are recreating someone’s idea, that you do it in a way that adds something that is typical for you."


Art by Julius Kähkönen, combination of 15 images


If you're a fan of Gary Vaynerchuck, he explains that documenting this process of learning is the best way to create content in between those masterpieces you put out. Because your story and progression are naturally interesting to people.


Earlier, we mentioned that this dude was self taught. Wouldn't it be necessary to pick up this kind of talent in the classroom?


"Before I became a digital artist, I had been struggling a lot with stress and anxiety because of school," you and me both, Julius. "The school system in Finland causes a lot of pressure for the students and they are constantly tested for what they know. I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the current education system in the modern world. It keeps people from chasing their dreams. Statistically, a lot of people will end up in a normal day job after they get a degree, which is not something that I want from life. I see the 9-5 lifestyle as a threat, and that keeps me working super hard so I can live the life I’ve always dreamt of living. Even though Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, I find it extremely stressful and maybe even harmful for some people who are not meant to be put into a classroom."


Preach, savior Julius. I often found myself tuning out boring professors so I could edit videos in class. Turns out that paid off way more than learning about sociology.


Art by Julius Kähkönen. This was one of the projects for Jake Miller


"I’d like to tell everyone that it’s okay to be different," lean in, friends. This is where it gets good. "It’s okay if you don’t enjoy drinking or taking selfies. Don’t force yourself to live in the same small bubble where most of the people live in. The world is actually a lot bigger than you think, and there are endless possibilities available for everyone. I find it cooler if someone manages to build something great from their own thing, instead of doing something that literally everyone else is doing. Also, when you’re doing social media, DO NOT let the numbers bring you down. The reason to do something creative should always be that you’re really passionate in doing it. DO NOT force yourself to create, because everyone can see through that. Keep working hard, stay passionate, and you can make your dreams come true."


Art by Julius Kähkönen, combination of 12 images


Sounds like something straight from Walt Disney. Then again, this guy is literally creating imaginative worlds from scratch. Well, technically from stock photos.


By the way, the answer to how many photos were combined to make the opening photo is 43!


"You can never know how people will react to your new stuff if you don’t test it out. I have to admit that being unpredictable can be extremely hard, because most of the creators have formed some kind of blueprint that they follow more or less. Also, being unpredictable means that you have to create something that gives people the "wow," instead of the basic ’’cool image" expression."


You can follow Julius Kähkönen on:

Instagram: (@visualsofjulius)


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