Thank You For The Music

Art Graffiti Graphic Design Music

In January 2019 I started to paint a series of paintings under the working title “Thank You For The Music”. Idea in a nutshell is to repaint artwork from albums that are important to me. Repaint, not copy. Well, to be honest, there is a slight doze of that included as well.

Let me explain this a bit. Around year 2000, when graffiti made space for computer graphics and Photoshop became my main tool, the idea of combining my spray painted works with illustrations I’d do at the computer was born. But at that point my skills with Photoshop were really not that good, so I ditched the idea.

Years later, when my Photoshop skills were much more developed I didn’t wanna use the idea anymore. I’ve gotten more and more into the actual painting – with spraypaint and brushes – instead and Photoshop was merely a tool for editing material for my portfolio. But on some early day of December 2018 I was listening to Sepultura‘s “Chaos AD” album. From a vinyl. And holding the album cover on my hand. I gotta say, the album is one of the best albums released in the early nineties and it also has one of the coolest album covers as well, entitled as “Cacophony”. Created by none other than illustrator Michael R. Whelan. The artwork made a huge impact already when the album was released and the effect never faded. It still is damn good looking cover and suites the music perfectly. And at that point I also realised that I would love to combine it with my graffiti lettering. I just wasn’t sure how, because I sure as hell wouldn’t wanna spoil the actual cover by painting over it. Scanning and printing it and then trying to paint on the paper wouldn’t do the trick either. It needed more. I also didn’t want to just try to replicate it by painting it. Then I remembered a rather popular picture transfer technique which was introduced to me by artist Janne Siltanen.

This technique is rather simple: you just choose the picture you wanna begin working with, flip it horizontally at Photoshop, print it thru laser printer (very important, regular color jet printer won’t work), spread gesso or acrylic paint on a hard surface (plywood or mdf) and then place the print on top of it, print facing down towards the wet primer. And then squeeze/press the picture firmly, put some weight on it and leave it to dry. I always wait for whole day, but I suppose that’s a bit overkill. Once it’s dry, then you moist the paper so that the whole area is wet and start scraping the paper off, either with your fingers or sponge or whatever suites your needs best, as long as it ain’t too hard so the actual print you want to leave intact does not scrape off. The final result looks a bit like glued poster you see… well, everywhere if you know where to look. And the best aspect is that you never can be 100% sure how the outcome will be, it nearly ever is exact, sharp copy but it has clearly visible paler and rubbed off sections here and there. But the actual surface is still closer to the primer than laser printed copy. Which means that it won’t reject paint so you can continue working on it. By painting or gluing or, well, what ever really. And this is where the actual fun begins.

So, I decided to scan the artwork, edit it (a lot) in Photoshop, adding my sketches to the picture as well as various details here and there and resizing the image to fit A3 size, which I decided to be the size I wanted to print ’em to. I made two different version from the picture, but printed two versions from the first one. So in total I had three pictures, one black and white, one colour and one black and white which was toned to beige. It also had different graffiti letters than the other two. One I transferred onto a plywood, two onto cheaper fibre board. And then the real editing begun: I used mainly Posca black and white markers as well as acrylic paint to enhance certain sections from the artwork as well as to paint the fill ins of the graffiti letterings. Once that was done, I sprayed ’em a bit, mainly with transparent black and white to add some depth and vignette effect. The result was very different from the original artwork yet it still was visible. And finally I sprayed a good layer of varnish on them. Cos I know it’s gonna tone the actual artwork a bit towards yellow, which would only enhance the idea of glued posters that have been exposed to direct sunlight for months.

Since I enjoyed a lot creating these three pieces, I wanted to take few more steps in this fan boy path. So I decided to do individual “graff meets album cover” paintings based on few other important albums for me as well. Ministry, Megadeth, Machine Head and Testament are the few bands that are going thru the “graff treatment”. But soon I realised that what the heck, I’ve done fair share of album artwork myself, so why not use sections from those too? And so I did. Just to keep me busy, if nothing else. I expect to finish this series by the end of March, if not sooner.

Those who are familiar with my older work and know that heavy metal has always had a huge impact in everything I do, might remember my band names in graffiti -themed paintings I created for Art Goes Kapakka -festival in 2015. If not, well, do check my post about it. In short, the theme was to paint band names in graffiti letters that have also performed at the same venue where the exhibition took place. And to use colour scheme from selected albums from the band at hand too. So I consider this “Thank You For The Music” series a rather clear continuation to this music/graffiti theme. Also I do admit that these are much, much more honest fan artwork. Because that’s what I am. A fan. To metal music. And to many illustrators/artists that create visuals for the bands I listen to.

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Bubbling under

Art Featured Festival Graffiti

After rather active summer and early autumn I’ve taken a bit slower on the actual graffiti painting front. Intentionally, I might add. Because the remnants of 2018 I’ve been busy planning the coming year of 2019. As well as painting some back patches and t-shirts for both Christmas sales as promotional use. And of course painting as much canvases as possible for future exhibitions.

Without going into details, I’ll reveal a few things: two solo exhibitions for 2019 have already been confirmed. I will also be spending some time abroad in an art residency the next summer. Which I am very, very excited about. And on top of everything: it looks like that some of my older works will play a minor role in an yet unannounced exhibition early next year. Once the organisers go public with the details, I’ll link ’em here as well as my social media pages. The exhibition is none less than “Eyes on the Horizon” at Espoo City Museum. I am honoured to have one photograph of my old painting included in the actual exhibition as well as 14 or so more in their virtual “mobile route” based on Kivenlahti region in the nineties.

Working on a diptych painting

So, that’s all for now. Expect another update during the first quarter of 2019 when negotiations finally have become signed contracts.

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Payback Jam 2018

Art Featured Festival Graffiti

Payback Jam is a hip hop event that takes place in Jyväskylä, Finland. This year in the middle of the town, Kauppalaispiha to be more precise.

And why am I posting about this..? Well, in addition to rap music, street dancers, parkour and whatnot there’s also live graffiti painting on the spot. For example by a local writer, Rives, whom I think happens to be one of the best stylewriters in Finland at the moment. Seriously. Check the dude out! But yes, I will be painting there too.

So, be there or be… something. And if you decide to just be something, at least check out the FB-event and Insta-accounts of the organiser. If possible, I’ll try to post something from the event as well. Most likely on my Insta-account.

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Espoo Art Attack

Art Featured Graffiti

As if my calendar wouldn’t be full already, there’s another group exhibition right behind the corner! An exhibition where I have the pleasure of having my art on display, of course. But even more stoked I am about the fellow artists as well as the actual place where the exhibition will take place: my old hometown Espoo. And the place there none other than the Culture Centre of Espoo. You know, I have to admit that it’s been a long way to from the concrete walls of Länsiväylä highway, a large highway in Espoo that I used to paint alot in the 90’s, to a gallery wall of the very same city.

The exhibition is curated by Sellekhanks and Hende, fellow artists and mighty fine chaps on top of that, if you ask me. They have done a killer work in relatively short time. Unbelievable.

More info from the Facebook-profile of the exhibition.

So, go and pay a visit, the exhibition runs from October 10th ’til October 29th. You won’t be disappointed!

Rest of the artists on the roster are: Dandysteele, Hende, Kiss, Koponee, Ninakuu, Psyke, Ray 52, Rosk, Salt, Sellekhanks and Soved. If you paid attention, you’d notice that there’s two HRC crewmates included. The very ones who spent their early teens with me decorating the various spots of Länsiväylä.

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Meeting of Styles Wiesbaden

Art Featured Festival Graffiti

Last year I had the priviledge to participate in Meeting of Style‘s Copenhagen’s event. This year I will be painting at Meeting of Styles, again. But not in Copenhagen but in Wiesbaden, Germany. And with my Raw Deal crewmate and long time friend mr. Psyke. And what’s even more cool is that compared to many other Meeting of Styles’ events, where participants get to paint their individual pieces, we’ll be painting a group wall instead. Accompanied by three other writers from around the world. Writers we’ve never met before. Now talk about challenge! But we are so looking forward to the event.

Need I say that if you wanna follow up the happening in real time, go and check out both the Facebook-page as well as Instagram-profile‘s of the event. And yes, Psyke and Yours Truly will try to update our personal IG/FB accounts as well during the event.

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Meeting of Styles Copenhagen

Art Featured Festival Graffiti

I’ll be participating this years Int. Meeting of Styles event at Copenhagen. This is truly an honour for me. The festival is the biggest graffiti event worldwide, held annually in over 20 countries. And the skills of the participants are unbelievable so I know I need to pull my 110%. Come to think of it, I am not sure how many (if any?) finnish graffiti artists have participated in the MOS events outside Finland prior to me.

Expect bunch of photos after the event. And if you are interested to follow the event almost in real time, I suggest you follow their Facebook-page or Instagram-profile. I try to update my Instagram-profile from the event as well but I know my focus will be on the actual painting, not documenting it.

To see the complete flyer, click here and my photos here.

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Vielä sananen työn arvostamisesta

Art Graffiti News Street Art Work

Julkaisimme reilu viikko sitten kannanoton, jonka pointti lyhykäisyydessään oli “ammattitaiteilijan on saatava palkkaa tekemästään työstä – myös graffititaiteilijan”. Mielestäni tämä on täysin selkeä ja ennen kaikkea reilu vaatimus. Olisiko ihan Suomen työlainsäädännönkin mukainen? Lisäksi pyysimme taiteilijoita harkitsemaan tarkkaan, miten suhtautua ilmaistyötarjouksiin. Kannattaa ylipäätänsä pohtia sitä, kuka ilmaistyöstä hyötyy – ja miten. Useimmiten se hyöty valuu aivan muualle kuin sen luovan työn tekevän ammattilaisen “laariin”. Ylläoleva videokin käy tätä samaa ilmiötä läpi, toki hieman yleisemmin ja humoristisesti luovan alan näkökulmasta. Ilmiö ei ole siis rajattu vain ylvääseen kotimaahamme. Continue Reading

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Artists not always paid fairly

Art Graffiti News Work

Every now and then I feel like we graffitiartists are the only outlaws at the art market and the only ones forced to work for free, only to grow our cv and get positive visibility or any other lame excuse like that. Ok, those arguements are (or have been) commonly used in graphic design as well as web design related projects. Fortunatelly to a lesser extent. Or at least so I hope. Anyways, when news like this pop up to the news feed of various social media services I start to see red. The problem is very real and still rooted very strong. I demand change. And feel like I need to raise my voice further on this matter and hope it gets heard somehow, somewhere. Continue Reading

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Vantaa Art Museum ARTSI

Art Graffiti News

I had the pleasure to participate at “Our Street” exhibition at Vantaa Art Museum at late fall of 2014. Since my work was painted directly on the wall, it was naturally painted over after the exhibition.

Later next year museum announced a major change in their concept: they’d be the first finnish museum to concentrate on street art, graffiti included. As part of this they ordered a painting from me, since all the other participants at the “Our Street” exhibition had left some of their work for the museum. Now my painting is part of their collection as well. That’s a huge thing for me. Continue Reading

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Make Sense Not War

Art Graffiti Street Art Video

Arcada is a multi-professional university of applied sciences located in Helsinki. Their media students made a short documentary about street art and graffiti in Finland.

They interviewed one graffiti artist and one street artist, first one being Yours Truly, the latter Jussi TwoSeven. Check the video above! I have to admit that even if I hate watching and listening myself on tape, the documentary in general is very well executed. It probably answers a lot questions concerning both Jussi TwoSeven’s and my motives and what drives us forward.

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