Lorem Ipsum, Vantaa 2017

In 2017 I was working on a six month art grant period provided by Arts Promotion Centre Finland. Major part of this period was to create at least one, larger permanent graffiti painting outdoors. Well, I chose to paint three.

The reason why I ended up painting three walls instead of one was simple: I applied permits for two cities – Outokumpu and Vantaa – but was really prepared in getting most likely only one approved. But what do you know, I actually got green light from both cities! At that point I decided that I’d try to paint at ’em both. But that’s not all folks! Both cities in question didn’t offer me just one wall but actually two walls to paint. And both of ’em knew I wasn’t going to paint some easily approachable sceneries with nice cartoon-like characters but strictly letters in my own, personal style.

This article focuses in the piece I made by myself in the underpass at Vantaa. It contains two separate messages, which more or less could be seen as one. First message is a play with words and meant as an inside joke or a playful nod towards the world of graphic design. The other is more or less “in your face” kind of statement saying solely one thing: “Acton! Acton! Yeah, that’s me!”

The tunnel from a distance

Inside humour

So… I entitled the whole concept as “The Title Goes Here“. Which comes from the world of design. Designers usually bump into it when they make mock up designs for clients and need to point out the place of the main title of a brochure, book, flyer, website, etc. And sometimes these mock up’s end accidentally into final product. These days it doesn’t take too long until mistakes like these end up in social medias where they are laughed upon.

The actual graffiti lettering in the painting say “Lorem Ipsum”. Which is a placeholder text used in text layouts for hundreds of years as well as many other designs for digital, new medias. Most of the layout programs have a function to automatically to insert this placeholder text and there’s even website(s) that offer it in various lengths. It is used to demonstrate the use of space between images, illustrations, texts, headers and white space. And it’s jibberish, which only resembles latin. If there would be real words or stupid meaningles sentences like “this here is text and yes it is text just to show you it’s text”, people (clients) would only concentrate on commenting the text or asking to replace it with something more “meaningful”. When jibberish is used, everyone knows it’s just that, jibberish. And of course it’s kind of clear that for most people, the graffiti lettering is illegible and it doesn’t matter for them what the text says, it’d be all jibberish anyways.

Work in progress

The other side of the coin

And then the less humorous part… the background of the piece: It is filled with multiple Acton-texts. Yes, there’s some crew texts as well as one Vantaa-text to say “Thank you” to city officials of Vantaa, but mainly it’s just Acton in different sizes and couple of colors. The texts are written in block like letters that should be extremely easy for everyone to read.

So, let me explain it a bit.

Few years ago when we were just negotiating about a possible permit to paint at my old hometown, a local official who has the final say-so on all paintings in public spaces of their oh-so-lovely city, told me that she personally didn’t appreciate basic graffiti. Because it’s just a word, a moniker of it’s painter and holds no other meaning than to advertise it’s creator. And this kind of egoistic behaviour would be something that she wouldn’t want to support, not now or in the future. The permit they granted us in 2015 would be an exception to the rule and was granted solely because it was applied by the active group of residents of the area and it would be financed by local maintenance company and the painting would take place during an event organised by the same people and company.

Well, advertising and painting the moniker of it’s creator is exactly what graffiti is about, if you ask me! All the fancy additions, like characters and sceneries, are more or less added just to keep people outside graffiti scene content.

Anyways, at that point I decided to return to the issue in the near future, if/when a suitable place for it would be found.

In 2017 Vantaa, the most graffiti friendly city in the main capital area, welcomed me with open arms and offered me a place to “advertise myself in most egoistic way possible”. How did this happen? Well, at first I approached Vantaa Art Museum Artsi and asked for few pointers. They kindly forwarded me to gentle care of Jesse Pasanen from Street Art Vantaa and things started to roll! Together with him we scoped for suitable places for me and once one was found, Jesse took care of negotiations with the city officials. According to him, it took only few phone calls to get the permit. I don’t know what he had hidden in his sleeve because he managed to negotiate a relatively fair budget for the project as well. Vantaa, who makes less money than my old hometown. Can you believe that?

Lorem Ipsum -graffitiLorem Ipsum, Vantaa 2017 || View larger version at my Flickr-profile

ps. So, what happened to the one wall? If I got permits for four walls why did I only paint three? Well, I didn’t. I painted three by myself, the fourth was done together with Raw Deal crewmate Skin. For the sole reason that the underpass which was pointed at me in Vantaa was relatively big. I thought it’d be a bit overkill to blast it completely by myself, one side would be enough solely for me.

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