Markku Susimäki graduated from an art academy and worked for many years as the stage set designer of the Finnish National Theatre. He lived in Helsinki with his wife Ilona Pelli, a well-known fashion designer.
A heart transplant in 1992 changed his life: he now began to focus exclusively on his art. He had a studio on Harakka island near Helsinki, where he drew on pieces of wood he found on the shore. His wife designed dresses with motifs of her husband’s art.