Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
A A young 23-year-old Finnish-born man with a heritage from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jeesi Kalombo’s impressive background encompasses a vocational high school degree, architecture, photography, and technical draftsman credentials, as well as working as a technical design assistant.
He chose to step outside the ordinary, pursuing a career as a content creator in the field of media and fashion.
Since then, he has become the owner of a media and cultural project, reflecting his desire to influence society directly beyond social media and to manifest his dreams. Known as the first English-language Finnish youth magazine specializing in the field of fashion and arts, JK’s Magazine reflects the visions, talents, and competencies of young people in Finland who seek to have a media presence in Finland and across the globe.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been pretty hooked on fashion and photography. For me, it’s not just about clothes. It’s like art, and it’s this cool way we all get to show who we are. I also started taking photos with just my phone when l was 12. By the time I was 14, I was all about the cameras. When I received my first paycheck from a summer job, I invested in my first DSLR camera.
I once thought I’d be an architect. l had a chance to work in big and small architectural offices, where l worked with some extremely smart designers, architects, and various engineers. Although I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to design a renovated house in Turku archipelago, l later realized architecture wasn’t really for me. Nonetheless, here’s a big shoutout to my old boss from the architectural office – I learned a lot and he’s kinda my role model for how I wanna do business.
In the fall of 2021, everything kinda changed. After the first official gig offer for test photoshoots came from a modelling agency, I had an epiphany, “Hey, this fashion photography thing? It’s what I’m meant to do.”
Oh, and speaking of art, I had my first art exhibition at Oodi in Helsinki. I also launched my own mag, which originally started as a portfolio but turned into something more. Some even asked to feature my work in a fashion show and wanted more issues of JK’s Magazine. I wasn’t sure at first, but I went for it. And now? It’s all about inspiring other creative people.
Working on this magazine project has been quite the journey, balancing my focus on my photography career and my creative pursuits, while holding down a 9-5 job to invest more into my passions and career without suffering financially). The support and understanding from everyone during this multitasking endeavor have been invaluable. It’s not a walk in the park, especially when we’re striving to carve out our own unique space and truly differentiate ourselves from the rest.
And yes, we’ve faced our fair share of setbacks. Instead of letting these ‘L-moments’ drag us down, they’ve fueled our fire and, amplified our motivation. Each setback transforms into a stepping stone, propelling us to do better, innovate, and emerge stronger from those challenges. Our journey is one of passion, growth, continuous learning, and unwavering determination. The support we’ve garnered throughout this journey has been nothing short of a beacon, illuminating our path and keeping our spirits high. It’s heartwarming to see people genuinely resonate with our content and shower us with so much love and support.
Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
Let’s dive a bit deeper into “JK’s Magazine” and what’s behind it. From the get-go, the main drive was to inspire other creatives, especially the younger ones. I wanted to light that fire in them, help them find their own passions, and get them excited about creating, as many youngsters might not have the right outlets to express their emotions. Through my work, I wanted to be that spark for young folks and adults for anyone who might need that inspiration or motivation.
Over time, the vision for the magazine grew and I started dreaming way bigger. I wanted to create valuable content, something that added to the reader’s life. I began scouting for artists worldwide, from France to Japan and the UK and of course, Finland. The goal was to give readers a global perspective, learn from different backgrounds, gain inspiration, and pick up some tips.
One thing that’s been on my mind is the business side of artistry. There are so many talented artists out there who don’t get the recognition they deserve simply because they don’t know how to market themselves. To change this, the magazine also provides insight into this area to help creatives get out there and truly shine.JK’s Magazine supports all forms of art – from music to animation, photography, and beyond. We’ve created this kind of “free zone” where we feature work. And while we keep it stylish, we also focus on pieces and places where people can learn and grow. Ideally, a brand might spot an artist in the magazine and think, “Hey, let’s collaborate!” That’s the magic I want to facilitate. For those who are either brimming with ideas or searching for them, the magazine’s artist features can be that source of inspiration.
JK’s Magazine stands as a testament to both global and local artistic voices, as they’ve truly become a part of the magazine’s story. Through our pages, we not only showcase art but also share the intimate narratives behind every creation. While we proudly feature artists worldwide, our Finnish roots remain central to our identity.
What sets our magazine apart? Here’s the breakdown:
Youthful Perspective: Our focus is on uplifting the younger generation of creatives. It’s about giving emerging artists a platform, spotlighting their fresh perspectives, and igniting inspiration.
Visual Aesthetics: The design of our magazine pages is tailored to the artist being showcased. Recognizing that every artist has their unique style and story, we adapt the visual layout to resonate with their essence. Not only does this dynamic design approach enhances the reader’s experience but it emphasizes that every artist has a distinctive tale and character interwoven into our magazine.
Learning Curve: We delve into the business side of artistry, guiding exceptionally talented humans on effective self- promotion and ensuring that they don’t remain under the radar.
Diverse Art Forms: Our embrace of art is all-encompassing. From music to visual art, animation, and beyond – we celebrate them all, each form finding its rightful place in our pages.
Collaborative Essence: JK’s Magazine transcends being a mere publication. We’re a thriving community that encourages collaborations, partnerships, and creative unions. The joy is in watching brands and artists connect through our platform.Inclusivity: Whether you’re a seasoned artist or an upcoming visionary, our magazine welcomes all, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
“Creating the magazine was an eye-opening journey for me.“
Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
For a magazine creator in Finland, especially within the metropolitan area, networking is paramount. The capital region is characterized by professional tight-knit circles, often operating within their own established networks. This can present challenges for newcomers, particularly immigrants, as these circles can feel exclusive and hard to penetrate without the right contacts or recommendations.
Even though one obviously has to be good at a basic level, either globally or locally, someone should notice the potential in you and, recommend you, so that you can get “in.” Once you are inside the circle, you eventually start to notice that even within the circle, some people aren’t necessarily good or skilled. But they might have – let’s say, used their contacts very well or smartly collaborated with others, growing their own community in the process.
One specific observation to highlight is that once you’ve achieved your “basic level,” things start to become more subjective. For example, fashion photography is a field where style and aesthetics can be deeply personal and tied to culture. In Finland, there might be prevailing aesthetic expectations or trends that differ from the standards of other countries. This might mean that the innovations and perspectives shared by an immigrant can sometimes contradict local expectations. On the flip side, this distinct viewpoint and fresh style can be a huge asset, introducing new perspectives and refreshing winds to the Finnish fashion and art scene, as well as producing opportunities.
Many opportunities and openings arise from personal connections. It’s not uncommon to hear of someone securing a project or collaboration because they knew someone within a specific circle.
However, this doesn’t mean success is out of reach for those outside these circles. While the right contacts can make things smoother, determination, talent, and persistence all play significant roles. With enough dedication and constantly searching for opportunities, one can carve out their path.
One potential pitfall is becoming too comfortable within a specific circle once you gain access. Although it’s essential to foster and maintain professional relationships, it’s equally important to keep expanding one’s network, stepping outside one’s comfort zone ,and seeking diverse perspectives.
Lastly, the uniqueness of one’s work can also speak volumes. For instance, in the realm of fashion and art, presenting work distinctively and tailoring the visual representation according to each artist’s persona can significantly impact the audience and highlight the artist’s unique story.
My magazine project is anchored in strong values, continually guiding its content and objectives. I aim to champion the notion of authenticity in a world saturated with filters and polished narratives. This magazine celebrates raw, unfiltered art and fashion. As diversity is at the core of my heart, I strive to spotlight artists and creators from all backgrounds, cultures, and walks of life. Innovation and pushing new boundaries are key. By challenging the prevailing norms and ways of thinking, I aspire to inspire readers to think outside the box and empower them, especially the minorities and underrepresented ones. Additionally, I want the magazine to serve as an educational resource, offering knowledge on various art forms, techniques, and the business side of the creative field.
Be as you are
To me, bravery and confidence are everything. It’s about confidently presenting your ideas and visions, believing that they’re unique and different. With that said, it’s also about pushing your ideas forward and presenting them to the right people.
It’s the courage to be myself. Not just having a vision and a plan, but also daring to walk my own path. Regardless of what life throws at me or how circumstances may seem, I have the courage to tread my own journey and carve out my own destiny. Being an individual and marching to the beat of my own drum, even when I’m faced with challenges, is what truly defines me.
JK’s Magazine is available in Nide Fredrikinkatu, Nide Muji, a shopping center in Kamppi on the 4th floor, Paper Cut in Stockholm, and more upcoming locations! Our website is www.jksmagazine.com