Pasila (Helsinki, Finland) started to be transformed into a street art district in August 2017, when street art created by several finnish and international artists took over the whole district. In September 2017 had the honour to participate in this project with one painting.
The ground work for the project started within two fronts. First one being Paint Pasila -project in 2012, which was organised by Jaakko Blomberg. This formed the spark to continue working towards more colorful Pasila area. The work took larger steps ahead when Helsinki Urban Art Association was formed five years later. Blomberg is one of the key persons behind the association.
The second front, which started a larger, political change in city’s street art policy, started three years later. City counciller Petra Malin made a motion for a street art district in Helsinki. Her motion had a positive response since the beginning and what do you know, in 2017, after several negotiations, decisions… well, plain work of many, many people, the project finally became reality when active people of Helsinki Urban Art Association introduced the Pasila Street Art District -project.
So far this project had only two graffiti artists involved, me and Fat Heat (Hungary). And ’til September 2017 I was the only one who actually painted graffiti in the area. This didn’t seem to bother anyone, actually many of the people either passing by or living in the area dropped by to share compliments and talk with the artists – me included. I was planning on painting my piece in one day, but socialising with people took it’s toll and it took me two days to finish my wall. While I was painting, I had the pleasure to share “the office” with two extremely talented artists: Taneli Stenberg (FI) and Wingchow (USA).
The piece I painted happens to have a larger meaning as well. Which isn’t visible for regular John or Jane Doe, but is for me. I could say that it ties few loose ends together that I started earlier this year. Let me explain this a bit: In February I stayed at artist residence in Marbella, Spain for three weeks. During that period I sketched quite a lot. This very painting is based on one of those sketches. But I actually used the same sketch before this. While I was at the residence I did paint a triptych from the very same “Acton” sketch. But five letters was far too much, so I only used three, “ACT”. And while T became the last letter, I had to reshape it a bit so it would look more in balance. And I added some bits and pieces on top of it, just to make it look like there’s “more” happening in it. This very painting ended up on display at “For the love of Freedom” exhibition, the first graffiti only exhibition in Finland, that took place between August – October 2017 at Kerava Art Museum.
And the last loose end: during January ’til June I was working on an art grant from Arts Promotion Centre Finland, which also financed my stay at the residence in Marbella. And I assume you wouldn’t be very surprised when I tell you that the very same Arts Promotion Centre Finland partially funds the Pasila Street Art District project as well.