Graveyard Classics was a project that I begun working with in early 2017: the idea was to combine classic cartoon characters with my graffiti letters and present them in either black and white or sepia tone color schemes. And hold an exhibition with the outcome. Once again I got a bit carried away and did "a bit" more than that.
The name for the exhibition is borrowed from Six Feet Under, a legendary death metal band from USA. “Graveyard Classics” is a series of cover albums they’ve released during the last 20 years. The band plays their versions of early classic hard rock or heavy metal songs, or once even an complete album. And trust me, their versions are… well, interesting to say the least. I think most of them are much better than the originals, mainly because the vocalist of the band, Chris Barnes, is a damn monster on mic. He has one of the most known voices in death metal and for a reason. Yes, I am huge fan of the band and also love the early albums of Cannibal Corpse, where he used to growl until he started Six Feet Under in mid nineties.
Anyways, when Six Feet Under released their first “Graveyard Classics” album in 2000 I fell immediately in love with the name. And have been wanting to use it somehow. Well, it took a bit over 16 years until I decided I’ll use it for an exhibition. Another few months to think how to present it in a way that it’d make sense. The idea of combining early (aka classic) cartoon characters with letter outlines of my early pieces (to some, not many, considered as classics too) was the idea that finally formed in the fall of 2016. But pretty soon I decided not to keep too strict outlines for the project but to go with the flow instead and see what the outcome would be.
The first few canvases I did in January 2017, but the next month when I visited artist residency in Marbella, Spain, I really got my engine rolling: I did ground work for nearly 20 canvases during our three week stay at the residency. I finished ’em at my home studio during the spring and summer of 2017. I already had decided the amount of canvases I wanted to have on display (eight) at the exhibition and also thought out all the character-themes I wanted to present. But since I was on a roll I ended up doing closer to 25 canvases with the same theme between January to December of 2017. Thanks to my loyal followers at social media, I managed to sell all the paintings that didn’t end in the the exhibition. And the ones that did as well. I am still floored that there are so many people out there that like my art so much that they want to own ’em and support me in the process.
The paintings presented at the exhibition, in their display order:
Seven of the eight paintings that were on display at Geezers the Shop are based on the canvases that I started painting at the artist residency in Spain during my art grant period. Both the art grant as well as the residency stay were supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
My first exhibition ever took place at Geezers the Shop back in November 2012. And to date I am thankful for the chance, because both the opportunity as well as the feedback (and the fact that I sold nearly all my art on display) gave me enough courage to pursue my artistic career forward. And I’m still on the same journey, although a lot further on the way. Or should I say path. Very narrow and rocky one even. But having an exhibition at the same place five years later was kind of closing the circle and also a perfect way to close the art filled year of 2017.