All posts tagged: UPEA Art Festival 2018

Mantra in Hyvinkää for UPEART Festival 2018 Finland – Dispatch 5

Mantra in Hyvinkää for UPEART Festival 2018 Finland – Dispatch 5


BSA is in Finland this week to see firsthand the work of UPEART, an expansive mural art festival in its third iteration. Unique for its geographical breadth as well as it’s curatorial depth, UPEART has quietly revealed its amazing strengths without being self-aggrandizing or showy, slowly transforming cities and towns across the entire country with consultation of the locals and an eye toward the incredible international. Come with us this week as we traverse the country with you.


French entomologist, former graffiti writer, and muralist Mantra grew up in the country surrounded by nature – much like the rolling grassy hills and forests and farmland that we have been driving through this week in Finland. Naturally, when he moved to the city to do graffiti in the margins of the neglected sector of the modern metropolis he also brought his scientific/artistic studies of animals, insects and nature.

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On a cold and damp September day here in Hyvinkää, about 50 kilometers north of Helsinki, for the UPEART 2018 mural festival, we find Mantra high atop a cherry picker finishing the antennae of a butterfly and the shadow of a moth’s wing. He uses aerosol cans, rollers, and brushes to accurately represent a winged fivesome on the side of a residential apartment building.

As we gaze at the nearly-finished mural from across the katu on a slippery, grassy knoll that is littered with yellow leaves we see an oversized yet  realistic display box. To the right and see a man in his t-shirt pulling aside a curtain and looking out his window at the wall where Mantra had stood only a moment before – his wife coming behind him in her house dress to see what he is trying to peer at.

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When I was a child I was not curious about painting,” Mantra says, “I was more curious about what I could find in the garden so that’s why I spent a lot of time studying these insects and these animals.” Later he shows us images of butterflies and other winged creatures rendered in high fidelity inside decaying factory rooms, including a large dead bird lying on its side. “I painted this because I had seen a dead bird in the garden only a week before.”

Recent years have brought some adamant critique to the Street Art world from so-called academics and thinkers due to commercial festivals that bring murals that lack social or political critique or have little sense of context with their surroundings; simply attractive and pleasant eye candy. While most people will like the image of a butterfly, Mantra’s wants to be clear that his interest is as an entomologist, not simply decorative.

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“For me it makes sense to paint them scientifically the way a scientist would see them and not like a decorative motif for an illustration or an interpretation of them.”
He has often done extensive research to select the appropriate butterflies, even consulting experts to make sure he has chosen the correct ones – like the research he just did to prepare for a wall he will paint in Chile. “I recently traveled to Paris to meet two entomologists who are quite senior to this study – they are working with the Paris Museumand many other museums across the world,” he says.

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So are these new insects in Hyvinkää relevant to this region?

“These five species are living here in Finland or are migratory so that is why I have selected these five for this wall,” he says. “All of these you can find in Russia or Finland or Sweden…There’s not one that is endemic to this region because we are not really a butterfly paradise here because of the climate.”

And how did he make the mural work so well with the location and the building?

“Because of the architecture of the wall, because of the shape in the format I always have to compose. So in this case because it was very vertical I have not many options. I also use the window frames in the architecture as inspiration to create a frame of the same color.”

Because he insists on scientific accuracy, even the relative size of the moth and butterflies are appropriate. “I always paint them in the same proportion that they would be to one another in reality so we have four butterflies and I saved the middle for the moth. The moth is much larger in reality then the butterflies so for the composition it feels right.”

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mantra. Work in progress in Hyvinkää. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Film Friday 9.24.18 – From UPEART in Finland. Dispatch 4

BSA Film Friday 9.24.18 – From UPEART in Finland. Dispatch 4

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

BSA is in Finland this week to see firsthand the work of UPEART, an expansive mural art festival in its third iteration. Unique for its geographical breadth as well as it’s curatorial depth, UPEART has quietly revealed its amazing strengths without being self-aggrandizing or showy, slowly transforming cities and towns across the entire country with consultation of the locals and an eye toward the incredible international. Come with us this week as we traverse the country with you.


Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Mantra in Hyvinkää
2. Isaac Cordal in Espoo
3. Sainer in Helsinki
4. Eero Lampinen in Helsinki

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Scenes from UPEART this Week

This week BSA had the privilege of touring the sites from the mural arts program called UPEART in Finland which continues to showcase the work of many artists from graffiti/Street Art culture, their work now often morphing into public art. While on the road from city to city in this Nordic country full of natural lakes, forests and sparkling clean cities during the advent of fall, we also caught some past and present murals as well as a few artists in action. Here are a few quick home-made videos to share with BSA readers what we found.

Mantra in Hyvinkää

French entomologist and former graffiti writer Mantra studies insects – here specifically butterflies and a large moth that are all found in this region of the world. We found him just as he was finishing his newest work for UPEART in Hyvinkää.

Isaac Cordal in Espoo

Spanish Street Artist and sculptor Isaac Cordal has begun his nearly surreptitious installations of his concrete figures here above Finnish heads. Often businessmen, they contemplate existentially as you walk by them a number of times during your daily travails – until one day you discover them.

Sainer in Helsinki

Polish artist Sainer completed a massive portrait here in Helsinki this week on the side of a multi-story building – yet he tells us that he is less concerned with the mystery woman in the center than his is with the planes and palette that back her.

Read more here: UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 1 – Sainer

Eero Lampinen in Helsinki

Helsinki native, illustrator and graphic designer Eero Laminen is at work on his second large scale mural here behind a complex scaffolding. We walked with him during a break to see the characters that he is imagining for this neighborhood.

Read more here: Eero Lampinen at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 2

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Isaac Cordal at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 3

Isaac Cordal at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 3

BSA is in Finland this week to see firsthand the work of UPEART, an expansive mural art festival in its third iteration. Unique for its geographical breadth as well as it’s curatorial depth, UPEART has quietly revealed its amazing strengths without being self-aggrandizing or showy, slowly transforming cities and towns across the entire country with consultation of the locals and an eye toward the incredible international. Come with us this week as we traverse the country with you.


The petite businessman looks up blankly from wiring money to the arms dealer over the phone and stares blankly at you, through you. He’s made his deal and his cut is secure. Now if only he can buy back his soul.

The philosopher/comedian/social critic Isaac Cordal has brought his guilt-ridden, depressed businessmen to transform the public space of Karakallio, and we have caught his first installation.

Isaac Cordal. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Climbing the ladder and pressing his handmade cement figure at the nexus of exterior panels in this residential community in Espoo, Finland, Cordal once again transforms a large space into an imaginary stage, an unsuspecting environment, for the drama that plays out in the minds of adults and children who pass it by.

This is the stunning simplicity of surreality that the Spanish Street Artist has been bringing to cities across the globe, one mournful soul at a time.

Isaac Cordal. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A first installation for him here, and a first for this community, where BSA and UPEART founder Jorgos Fanaris have begun preliminary planning for the inaugural events of the Karakallio Collective, a new initiative that looks to involve multidisciplinary artists in this suburban neighborhood outside of Helsinki. It’s an exciting time to engage in public space in new ways, and UPEART is laying plans long term here and in communities across the country.

We’re just excited to see Isaac again and see what new adventure his “cement elipses” take on.

Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BSA with Jorgos Fanaris, UPEA’s curator and Isaac Cordal discuss current and future projects within the community of Karakallio on the outskirts of Helsinki. (photo courtesy of UPEA Art)


 

UPEA Art and BSA will be closely working with #karakalliocreative to bring a wide variety of art initiatives in the neighborhood…

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Eero Lampinen at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 2

Eero Lampinen at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 2

BSA is in Finland this week to see firsthand the work of UPEART, an expansive mural art festival in its third iteration. Unique for its geographical breadth as well as it’s curatorial depth, UPEART has quietly revealed its amazing strengths without being self-aggrandizing or showy, slowly transforming cities and towns across the entire country with consultation of the locals and an eye toward the incredible international. Come with us this week as we traverse the country with you.


“The street has kind of a bad reputation in Helsinki and has a long history of illegal alcohol trade and strip clubs and sex shops and bars,” says Eero Lampinen, the young illustrator now working on his second large scale mural ever here for UPEART.

His characterization rings true as you stand with him on the sidewalk next to a sandwich board advertising scantily clad ladies in elegant, and difficult, poses. Across the street from this busy doorway is the multi-story mural that he is working on, heavily flanked and intersected by scaffolding that you can climb with him after donning a hard hat.

Eero Lampinen. Detail. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Helsinki native, the graphic design and illustration student designed for school books, festival posters, and various editorial jobs while in training. Now on his own professionally, his magic realist illustrative style has earned him a number of awards, including at the Mikkeli Fiction Exhibition and the Grape’s Year Peaks competition – and his figurative fantasies have made their way into a number of prestigious publications.

Eero says he loves the work of filmmaker David Lynch, and for illustration he really loves the work of Winsor McCay, the American cartoonist and animator know for his comic strip Little Nemo.

Eero Lampinen. Detail. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of his own work, he says, “It’s like a mix of fantasy with contemporary and realistic elements – kind of magic realism. I like to play around with fashion different types of characters.”

The characters are here in the evolving mural – three figures who are working the runways of the street in distinctly different styles.

“There is a night demon, a rubber-outfit person, and then an older character,” he says, “They are all walking separate ways in the streets – and it plays around with this street.”

Eero Lampinen. Detail. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As with all the murals in this nationwide festival of UPEART, the community plays an important role in the decision when creating the scene. As a result, the spirit of the street is somehow reflected in the new works on walls.

“We thought about it with the people living in the neighborhood. I proposed three different sketches for them to choose from and then we worked on the idea together,” he says. “They wanted to have like the spirit of the street somehow in the drawings so in that way it’s like a reference to the community and the life here.”

Eero Lampinen. Detail. Work in progress. UPEA Finland 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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