ACTON, kirjaimellisesti

I had my first solo exhibition at Make Your Mark gallery (Hel, FI) at July 2016. The title of the exhibition translates to "Acton - literally".

  • Acton / Helvetica
  • Exhibit A: Riot Act
  • Acton / Helvetica metamorphosis, 1-3
  • Acton in Six pieces
  • TOP: Acton in Three Pieces | BOTTOM: Acton / Helvetica
  • TOP: Acton / Sepia Tone Option | BOTTOM: 2x Acton/Helvetica
  • TOP: Bold and the Beautiful / BOTTOM: Acton / JussiTwoSeven
  • Ugly Inside, pt.1 / a
  • LEFT: Acton / Helvetica | RIGHT: Ugly Inside pt.2 / a

And like the title says, the very theme of the exhibition was letters. Which I consider to be the very core of graffiti. Let’s be totally honest, without letters graffiti would be just colors, landscapes, characters… well you know, something one could call street art. And that’s just not my cup of tea. Never was.

The letters, alphabets, that’s the real challenge and that also is what differs graffiti art from everything else.

I’ve been fascinated with Helvetica font for quite some time. Helvetica is probably the most neutral typeface in the world and used widely in the western culture. It’s everywhere, just keep your eyes open and you’ll notice if you haven’t already. One might consider that a typeface like Helvetica has nothing in common with graffiti. After all, graffiti is usually consider illegible whereas Helvetica was designed to be as easily readable as possible. It’s that neutral that usually you don’t even pay attention to the appearance of the text anymore but solely the message. Well, I always wanted my pieces to be readable without painting simple blockbuster or bubble letters. And I consider graffiti to be very close to advertising, even if the message differs a bit. Graffiti writers are not selling anything with their graffities, except their brand. Which happens to be “just” the name, alter ego.

But enough of this analyzing. What I wanted to do was to play a bit with the forms and rules of graffiti and combine it with Helvetica. To be more precise, Helvetica Neue Condensed Black.

If the subject itself interest you more, I recommend reading “Forms of rockin’“, a book by Anssi Arte. It goes even deeper into the study of graffiti letters and their cultural influences. And a must view is the Helvetica documentary.

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Client: Make Your Mark gallery