Antti Kalevi is Illustrator of the Year 2023

The Illustrator of the Year award, worth €10,000, is presented annually to an illustrator or group of illustrators who have made a significant contribution to the field. This year, the jury has chosen Antti Kalevi, whose international style is both relaxed and elegant.


Antti Kalevi (b. 1987 in Hollola) has been selected as Illustrator of the Year 2023. This is the fifth time that the Finnish Illustration Association has awarded the biggest recognition prize in the illustration industry. The prize, worth €10,000, is funded by royalties collected by Kopiosto. The Illustrator of the Year is chosen by an expert jury convened by the association and composed of different members each year. This year’s jury included artist Bo Haglund, illustrator Satu Kettunen, curator Aino KostiainenIrene Suosalo, Illustrator of the Year 2022, and graphic designer Tuija Tarkiainen. Producer Veera Pekkinen acted as secretary of the jury.

“Stunning use of colour, clarity of form and a refined sense of style. The ability to simplify so that the images do not seem calculated. A recognisable yet versatile style that naturally lends itself to canvases, posters and book covers. A light and relaxed language of form and elegant colour harmony. A fresh take on the traditions of poster art. Warmth and tenderness in shapes and colours.”

This is how the jury justifies its choice of Illustrator of the Year 2023. Antti Kalevi’s light and relaxed language of form and elegant colour harmony are inspired by modernism but filtered into the modern age. The jury believes that many of Antti Kalevi’s works are on the borderline between art and illustration. In its reasoning, the jury mentioned painters Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse as well as illustrator Erik Bruun.

Antti Kalevi graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. After an inspiring student exchange at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik, he decided to see if he could make a living from illustration. Since 2015, Antti Kalevi has been represented by Agent Pekka and his clients have included technology company Apple, record label Universal Music, The New York Times news media, as well as domestic brands Samuji and Marimekko. One of his most recent clients is the newly opened restaurant Kirsikka in the Hakaniemi market hall in Helsinki.

For Antti Kalevi, Illustrator of the Year, ease of creation is more important than the finishing touches. According to the jury, everything about Antti Kalevi’s work seems freely and joyfully executed.

“I myself think that if I have fun when I create images, I believe and hope that it will be conveyed on some level and that others will also enjoy looking at them,” the new Illustrator of the Year tells Kuvittaja Magazine.

In addition to the monetary prize, the Illustrator of the Year will be awarded an exhibition of their work. Antti Kalevi’s work has previously been exhibited in Helsinki, Tokyo and Seoul, among other locations. His award exhibition will be displayed in Helsinki in autumn 2023.

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Further information:

Veera Pekkinen, Producer & Curator, Kuvittajat ry, tel. +358 44 775 0509 (weekdays 12-17)