More Street Art In Helsinki is a project started in 2015 by Yhteismaa NGO and the street art group G-REX that aims to enliven the city with street art and brings street art to where it’s most needed. The project has created several street art pieces in 2016 which enlivened the urban environment. It has advocated for street art in Finland generally and taken part in public discussion on street art in Helsinki. More Street Art In Helsinki was the Spearhead Project of the Finnish Cultural Foundation in 2016.
The work of More Street Art In Helsinki is now continued by Helsinki Urban Art, which is a non-governmental organisation specialised in urban art. It was founded in January 2017 to bring even more art and more versatile forms of art into the urban space. Helsinki Urban Art introduces new ways of using urban space, creates participatory urban culture and wants to solve social problems by means of art and activism.
More Street Art for Your Hoods
More Street Art In Helsinki ran a contest in the summer 2016 called More Street Art for Your Hoods, where people of Helsinki had the chance to suggest a place where they wanted to see street art. Out of more than 30 suggestions, three places were chosen, and two murals were made in September-October 2016. The Polish street artist Otecki was chosen to paint a mural in the neighbourhood of Roihuvuori, and Maikki Rantala painted a mural in the neighbourhood of Kannelmäki. The third mural by Milu Correch will be painted in June 2017.
More Street Art In Helsinki wanted to introduce new styles to the Finnish street art scene and bring in new influences from abroad. We want the art that we bring to the city to really fit in its environment and be of top quality. For the three walls set to paint in 2016, we brought three street artists that represent different styles. Read more about the artists below.
Urkupillintie 4, Kannelmäki
Milu Correch (born in 1991 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) has been doing street art for only four years now, but she has quickly become a well-known name in both her home country and abroad. Her impressive, painting-like and sometimes thought-provoking murals draw attention to them.
Correch’s career as a street artist started in 2011 when she took part in a street art workshop in her hometown Buenos Aires. After that the world of street art drew her in and she has moved on to paint larger and larger walls. Along with her painting-like style, the size of her murals has become one of her trademarks.
Correch is a self-taught muralist. She finds street art inspiring for its size and openness: how it is really available for everyone, despite your income level or your background. Correch sees murals as gifts to the city and its people: if seeing her murals from a bus window makes someone’s commute to work seem shorter, she feels she has done her job.
The artist gets inspired by literature, films, comics and sometimes just life itself. She likes to paint people, as she is interested in the stories that the people carry. Even though one could see Correch’s pieces in a political way, the artist herself doesn’t want to affect how people’s interpretations too much. She is an active member in a group called Pinto La Isla that is aiming to to increase the safety of one neighbourhood in Buenos Aires by covering the walls with colourful murals. Correch has a very passionate take on her work. This young muralist also has probably had to prove her skills in the world of street art many times.
Other than in her home country Argentina, Correch has also done murals in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Austria, The Netherlands and Sweden. In Helsinki, her work will now be on the wall of an assisted living building and bring joy not only to the elderly people but also to the children of the nearby kindergarten.
Prinssintie 4, Roihuvuori
Otecki (real name Wojciech Kołacz, born in 1984 in Poland) has been making street art since the late 90s and has really created a style of his own. He is a versatile artist, moving naturally between painting, graffiti, street art and illustration. Even though he finds inspiration in cubism, tribal art and slavonic folklore, Otecki doesn’t want to be categorised under a single style.
Otecki started his career by first combining street art and graffiti. He soon, however, became interested in a more illustrative style which made him lose the graffiti and develop his style further in a different direction. He has said, though, that his background in writing graffiti helped him to learn some important hand skills and to use his imagination.
The atmosphere in Otecki’s detailed and colourful pieces is often very dreamy. He likes to include animals and different fantastic creatures in his works, and has said that he gets a lot of inspiration from the nature and the dreams he had as a child. Even though these dreams are of course personal, there’s something about the pieces that speaks to everyone.
Otecki has painted large scale murals since 2011. What inspires him about street art is its’ special energy and that with street art, you can communicate with people through colours and shapes. Murals for him are like sculptures or architecture that can really change their environment. Otecki has painted murals in different parts of the world, for example in Poland, Germany and the United States. This is now his first time painting in Finland.
The residents of this house had specifically requested Otecki to paint the mural on their wall. His style and the colours of his piece work well with the residents and the architecture of this house, as well as the whole neighbourhood.
Tuubapolku 2, Kannelmäki
Maikki Rantala (born in 1981 in Helsinki, Finland) represents Finnish high quality professional street art. Rantala is a street artist, community artist and one of the founders of the street art group G-REX. Additionally, she is a member of the Multicoloured Dreams -street art collective, as an art expert of the More Street Art In Helsinki -project and has been managing big street art programmes such as Kauniainen World Design Capital in 2012.
In Finland, Rantala has made several large murals for cities, street art festivals, private companies and residential buildings. She has also worked in Estonia, Latvia and, in September 2016 in The Netherlands. She has a degree from graphic design and has previously worked as an AD in an publishing house. After a while, the urban space and the three-dimensional surface started to attract her even more, and since then, walls have replaced prints in her work. Rantala sees street art as a form of urban activism, that can tackle many of the challenges with which urbanisation presents us.
Rantala’s background as a graphic designer can still be seen in the way she thinks about street art - she sees as a way to illustrate the city. These illustrations in the urban space are of course a very one of a kind: they change with the seasons, with the architecture and with the routes people take. Street art affects its surroundings and people’s mood directly and is a very democratic tool. Rantala is very fond of murals aimed at children, because children are often more observant to their surroundings.
Graphic design and illustration still give Rantala inspiration, along with other illustrators. Her style has been influenced by the time she spent in Russia when she was a kid, where she especially liked slavic illustrations and decorative paintings. She also likes the way graphic design is layered in the urban space. Rantala enjoys working with people, and has organised several workshops and participatory art projects. She finds it rewarding to able to see everyone’s contribution in a mural. The mural made in Kannelmäki, Helsinki, will be a participatory mural piece.
Igor Multi (born in Leningrad, Russia in 1990) has been making street art since 2004. He has been an active street artist in Finland since moving here in 2012, and his murals in the neighbourhoods of Roihuvuori and Kannelmäki have already become well-known in their area. Additionally, he has painted on several street art walls in different parts of Helsinki, been a part of street art projects in Helsinki and Turku, and also taken part in many street art projects and exhibitions in Russia. In September-October 2016, he will be painting his latest piece near the Brahe Park in Helsinki, as a part of the Brahe Art Park -project.
By education, Igor multi is a structural engineer and has a day job in that field besides his street art career. Naturally, his background affects his style, which he describes as a combination of geometry, engineering, graphic design and himself. Currently he gets more and more inspired by graphic design, even though people who know him say his background as an engineer can be seen in his work. His education is also seen in the way he organises his work: he is very organised when preparing a painting and tries to optimise his time.
As a street artist, Igor Multi is completely self-taught. He started his career as a street artist from the world of graffiti in 2004, which was when graffiti in Russia was something completely new, unique and pure. Something about it really drew him. In street art generally Igor Multi is inspired by its openness and the way it can influence everyone - also and especially the people who otherwise are not into art.
Igor Multi gets inspired from everywhere, but consciously he looks for inspiration from books and magazines about graphic design or architecture, by going to museums and exhibitions, or just by walking around the city. He gets energy from people who do their work with a professional attitude, whether it is a barista or a street artist. In Helsinki he appreciates the city’s natural beauty, simplicity and the minimalism of the built environment.
The city of Helsinki, Igor Multi finds, has a very complex relationship with street art. Even though there are a lot of excellent designers, graphic designers and architects, and design generally is valued very high, street art for some reason hasn’t been so positively viewed. Igor Multi himself sees street art and design very close to one another, which is why street art should me more included and promoted in the city’s urban life and events. The situation is getting better, and the street art culture in Helsinki is starting to recover from the strict policy towards street art that the city used to have.
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