Many people think that Pasila is just a grey district. But that has now changed because of the street art spreading all over the area.
East Pasila turned into a real street art district between 2017 and 2018 when around 50 pieces were made in the area by numerous domestic and foreign street artists. Art spreads now out to the central places and hidden corners of Pasila – walls, staircases, railings, and bridges – turning them into sights. Just in two years, the district has developed to a significant street art area even on an international scale.
The artists curated for the project represent a wide variety of styles and techniques, and many of them have painted in different parts of the world. The international artists are brought to Pasila with the help of our partners. The main partner of the project are Teknos Oy and EUNIC Finland with its members Goethe-Institut, the Embassy of Austria, the Hungarian Balassi Institute, the Embassy of Poland, the Embassy of Czech Republic, the Italian Cultural Institute and Eesti Instituut. The project has also been supported by the City of Helsinki, Embassy of the United States of America, Museum of Impossible Forms, Taike – the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Central Baltic Programme.
Pasila Street Art District -project began with a desire to bring colour into a grey suburb. The area is filled with concrete surfaces that call for street art and open up exciting opportunities for artists. Few locals and visitors find their way to Pasila, even though it’s only 5 minute train ride away from the Helsinki central railway station. Street art draws attention back to this forgotten suburb.
Pasila also has a significant role in the history of street art in Helsinki: the railroad tunnel known as Pasila Gallery was the most significant place for creating street art for many years. In 1992 before the the CSCE- conference held in Helsinki Fair Centre in Pasila, number of legal art works were painted around the area. However, all but one were removed during the zero tolerance policy towards street art in Helsinki between 1998-2008. Now it’s time for Pasila to become the centre of street art once again.
Pasila Street Art District introduces the kind of street art that is hard to come by elsewhere in Finland. It is a place where artists get lots of artistic freedom and can test their limits. Some artists are invited to paint with the help of our partners, but it is also a place where local artists can show their skills and visiting international artists can leave their mark.
We have started guided street art tours in Pasila in the summer of 2018. If you are interested in a tour, read more here. All profits from the tours will be used to cover the costs of the street art projects.
See the location of street art pieces on the map below.
Artists and pieces of 2018
Chinagirl Tile (Austria)
Ratamestarinkatu 2 & Radanrakentajantie 4
Chinagirl Tile begun working with the Tiles project in 2010 and it has already taken form in over 180 art pieces all around the world. Her ceramic art can be found outside the city limits as well. In her art, Chinagirl Tile incorporates social issues and political themes wrapped in dark humour. In Pasila she created one of her biggest art pieces on environmental problems, and another smaller piece that is hidden from passer’s view.
Originally from Canada, New-York based Li-Hill painted his biggest mural in Pasila in summer 2018. In his art, Li-Hill combines sculpture with vanity and surrealism. We could see it also in this particular art piece that represents the creation of the Earth from the goldeneye’s egg and floating in water Ilmatar. Jenni Ahlanpuro, long-line Pasila resident, who lives in the house nearby, modeled for the artwork.
MP5 is an Italian artist, muralist, and illustrator widely known for her incisive black and white style. MP5 works with different techniques and mediums: from illustrations for newspapers and magazines to political posters, to drawings and animations. Her background is settled in the Italian and European underground scene and counterculture. MP5 designs posters for political demonstrations, concerts, theatre festivals, and her public mural works can be seen on the streets all over Europe. In Pasila, her artwork embraces all over the elevator shaft.
TASSO has been working in the field of street art for a long while and got to know the spray paints already at the beginning of the 1980s. The only problem was that there hardly were any cans laying around in East Germany at the time. Following German reunification, TASSO really got into making graffiti and ever since 2000 he has been a full-time artist. TASSO is known for his photorealistic works of art, which can be found all over the world. In Pasila, inspired by the massive white-walled staircase and next to the art piece by MP5, he decided to paint an altarpiece-like work but with his own twist.
Hombre SUK (Germany)
Hombre SUK grew up in the 80s-90s surrounded by cartoons and console games, which his art evidently shows. When the heroes of the games weren’t enough anymore, he moved on creating art on the grey concrete of the cities. The spirit of 90s graffiti can also be seen integrated into his work. In Pasila, he painted on the wall next to TASSO, so the title of the work became the Virgin Mary – her completely new version, to be precise. The piece is made in collaboration with Stadt.Wand.Kunst.
ChemiS (Czech Republic)
ChemiS is originally from Kazakhstan but has been living in the Czech Republic for a long time making painting trips all over the world. In graffiti, he specializes in realistic figures and 3D effects. Societal themes play a big role in his work and ChemiS has also done collaborations with Amnesty International. In Pasila, ChemiS wanted to paint all the walls of the staircase. From a certain point of view, the theme of the three-dimensional work was inspired by the shape of the walls and the Finnish Angry Birds game.
TransOne is a graffiti artist from Budapest who is known for his almost abstract-like futuristic art style. He has done many collaborations with Fat Heat, who visited the walls of Pasila last year. The cooperation of these two artists continued as TransOne painted his piece right next to Fat Heat’s.
Julia Benz treats Pasila with abstract street art. Whether done on the streets or created to hang on the gallery walls, her art works are usually very big and colourful. In her art urban landscapes, nature, figurative and abstract art melt together creating something very beautiful. The art pieces of Benz are full of energy reflecting her principle of working: an art piece starts with painting, not an idea. Her work for Pasila was inspired by the surrounding architecture.
Topparikuja 1, Topparikuja 4, Radanrakentajantie 4, Kellosilta 6, Opastinsilta
The artwork of NeSpoon certainly proves that bobbin lace is not dead. Her art embraces the grey concrete with paintings, installations and ceramic pieces. NeSpoon aims to evoke positive feelings and sees lace as a universal tool of communication because its aesthetics is deeply rooted in different cultures. In Pasila, next to the staircase basement, she created an installation from lace and rubber bands that will disappear with the time. In addition, her stencil art pieces can be seen on other staircases nearby, too.
Breeze Yoko (South Africa)
Breeze Yoko is a South African-based multidisciplinary video, photography and graffiti artist. Yoko uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. That is the case also with the mural in Pasila, which deals with the roles and limitations of our society. The piece is made in collaboration with Museum of Impossible Forms.
Jose Di Gregorio (Argentina/Puerto Rico)
Jose Di Gregorio is an Argentinean/Puerto Rican artist whose paintings and murals focus on intricate geometric patterns with a combination of vivid gradient colors and celestial nightscapes. His works depict ethereal themes, and are often reminiscent of kaleidoscopes and visual tracers, fluctuating between order and chaos. His Pasila piece is made in collaboration with Museum of Impossible Forms. The art piece depicted on the two walls of the staircase represents Peruvian poet and activist Roxana Crisologo Correa and Iranian activist Azzie Youssefi, bridging together from the still of nothingness to the pulse of vibrancy.
Crazy Mister Sketch (Austria)
The Austrian Crazy Mister Sketch’s style originates from graffiti but gets its wild patterns through approaching the forms of different animals. There is no point to look for any words in his art piece, even though the forms that refer to the letters suggest such things. Crazy Mister Sketch made his work in Pasila while traveling in the Nordic countries.
Laura Pehkonen (Finland)
Laura Pehkonen is a Finnish visual artist who works mainly with ceramics. Pehkonen uses and combines different techniques for her work and aims to create new ways to experience ceramics. In Pasila, she brought her art for the first time to the street, his art piece is located on the way from the Pasila station, next to the Pasila library.
11 linjaa (Finland)
The 11 linjaa artist collective from Turku, with the effort of three artists, painted a large graffiti set on both sides of the bridge staircase. The art piece combines letters, figures and abstract graffiti.
HRC, or HellRaisers Crew, presented by the artists Acton and Rosk painted a two-level graffiti set on the Radanrakentajantie. Espoo-based HRC is an established graffiti crew that reactivated over the last few years after a long silence.
An experienced graffiti artist from Lahti and HRC member Soved painted his own work next to Acton and Rosk. Also known as Kaih, Soved has become known not only for its graffiti but also for his street art.
Mion has been a graffiti artist for a long time now, specializing mostly in 3D-graffiti. His work in the graffiti alley’s corner is best seen from the close distance, but it also works if look at it in two different directions. Mion’s work blends naturally with the greenery nearby.
Jani Tolin (Finland)
Jani Tolin, who made his first graffiti in 1984, is an experienced artist who has painted graffiti, street art, and billboards. For Pasila, Tolin made an art piece in memory of Perttu Häkkinen, who died in August 2018 – a black portrait on a golden background.
The Finnish artist PNKFT specializes in a geometric and three-dimensional style that can be also seen in other parts of the metropolitan area – and throughout Finland. In Pasila PNKFT created a work in the upper part of the elevator shaft at Kellosilta, that naturally unites with Waek’s constructivist style.
David Popa (USA)
David Popa moved from New York to Espoo. He became known for his realistic black-and-white style that can be seen also in his art pieces for Topparikuja in Pasila. The work was created as part of European Cooperation Day 2018 under the EU’s Central Baltic funding program.
Jesse Pasanen (Finland)
Jesse Pasanen from Vantaa, the founder of Street Art Vantaa, painted his own piece in Pasila. Pasanen’s works often imply a sci-fi atmosphere and this piece is not an exception. In addition, the work represents some iconic Pasila landmarks. The works were created as part of European Cooperation Day 2018 under the EU’s Central Baltic funding program.
Anetta Lukjanova (Finland)
Anetta Lukjanova studies classical art in Barcelona and spends her time mainly in Spain, but fortunately, in summer 2018 she paints the Finnish streets. Her work in Pasila is composed of two pieces and depicts waking up in the morning. The works were created as part of European Cooperation Day 2018 under the EU’s Central Baltic funding program.
Candalf80 & Mare 2100 (Finland)
“Era of Fossil” is the first part of the mural of Candalf80 and Mare2100. The work about alarming overconsumption and oil dependence in the future is going to be the second part of the art piece (work title “Post-fossil”). The second part will be painted in spring 2019.
Ca80 is the only artist who painted the Pasila walls in 1992. At that time, he painted a wood-themed mural on the opposite of the Pasila Fair Center, which remained in place for many years (now MP5’s work is present there). The current piece is seen as continuation of this work.
Ca80 and Mare 2100 who as an artist group have their background in graffiti, have then done their visual artworks mostly in digital media under the name Kangastus Visuals.
Asemapäällikönkatu 10 & Radanrakentajantie 4
N2o comes from Melbourne and works in both stencil and paste up techniques. In Pasila, he painted two children-themed works while visiting Helsinki in November 2018.
Daniela Carvalho (Peru)
Peruvian artist Daniela Carvalho, currently living in Barcelona, left her mark in Pasila when visiting Finland in summer 2018. Carvalho’s style shows her background as an illustrator and her main medium is paper. Carvalho’s black and white female characters blend into the shape of the Opastinsilta staircase and create a peaceful atmosphere together with Jana & JS’s work.
Artists and pieces of 2017
Fat Heat (Hungary)
Fat Heat encountered graffiti for the first time in his neighbourhood in late 90s. He was immediately drawn the big letters, bold colours and the crazy energy that characterizes the style of graffiti. Soon after he started his career as a graffiti artist, during which he has worked both independently and as part of collectives. He describes graffiti as a passionate but healthy competition that requires deep concentration. Working also indoors with smaller canvases and prints, Fat Heat is now one of the most well-known names in the Hungarian street art scene.
For the piece in Pasila, Fat Heat sought inspiration from Finnish folklore, but in the end wanted to focus on creating atmosphere and make the piece open for interpretation. The piece, made with both spray paints and wall paint, takes advantage of the wall and its surroundings and it includes small details that are fun to spot for the viewers. The mural was the first piece painted for the Pasila Street Art District, and after it was finished, Fat Heat also created a smaller piece on a column of a bridge, located in Resiinakuja 7.
Edward von Lõngus (Estonia)
Kellosilta, Opastinsilta & Resiinakuja 7
Edward von Lõngus is a stencil artist from Tarto, who often includes political and social commentary in his work. His work has been exhibited in the Art Museum of Estonia, and has published in the National Geographic and in many Estonian newspapers and magazines. Sometimes called the Banksy of Estonia, his work is now sold at art auctions for top prices.
Edward von Lõngus arrived in Finland as part of the (R)estart Reality project, which is a project he started together with NOAR art platform that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Estonia. With (R)estart Reality, observers can use their smartphones or other mobile devices to bring the characters of Lõngus’ artwork to life and hear their stories. The site-specific artwork builds bridge between the past and the present. The app is available for download at www.RestartReality.org/app.
To protect his anonymity, Edward von Lõngus worked in Pasila mostly during night-time and created altogether six stencil pieces all around Pasila. One of Edward von Lõngus’ pieces in Pasila ended up in the underground graffiti tunnel at the end of Teollisuuskatu, known as the Pasila gallery, where it will be a new addition to the graffiti history of Pasila.
Guido Zimmermann (Germany)
The Frankfurt-based Guido Zimmermann has an impressive career as an artist. The pieces by Zimmerman, who has graduated from the Art Academy of Frankfurt and currently working as a free artist, are boldly coloured and impressive, and can be seen all around in different locations in Germany. Zimmerman has a very recognizable style, as he often uses a specific hatching technique, which creates a lively finish to the painting.
One of Zimmermann’s most recent projects is a project called “Das Museum auf der Straße” (“Museum on the Street”), which brings big murals into the area of Rhein-Main. A “museum on the street” also describes his goals with street art: he wants to create his pieces in the public space, for as many spectators to see as possible.
With the Pasila mural, Zimmermann took advantage of the interesting shape of the corner wall, spreading the piece on to two walls and one column. The mural was inspired by the structures of the wooden houses that were in Pasila before the building of concerete blocks, and the patterns of traditional Finnish clothing.
Jana & JS (Austria-France)
Opastinsilta, Asemapäällikönkatu 10 – 12 & Veturimiehenkatu
Jana & JS is an Austrian-French artist duo, who are specialised in detailed stencil-work. The atmospheric pieces often feature human figures or people with a camera, sometimes combined with urban scenery. The artwork of Jana & JS can be seen in different European cities on the walls of apartment buildings and warehouses, in train stations, on the sides of trams and – perhaps a bit surprisingly – in the countryside of Germany and Austria, attached to logs.
Jana & JS created altogether three pieces in Pasila, the biggest of which is located on a column of the Opastinsilta bridge. Another of their pieces is located on the side of the ramp of Veturimiehenkatu and the third one on the metal door of the staircase between Asemapäällikönkatu 10 – 12. The three pieces are all located at the some of busiest places in Pasila, where they create a calming atmosphere as well as an element of surprise among the grey concrete.
The polish street artist Waek is known for his imaginative and geometric pieces, which have been influenced by both the world of graffiti and the architectural studies he has finished. Waek, who initially started his career in street art with graffiti and stickers, is nowadays interested in paintings and other styles of street art as well. He likes to experiment with different techniques and medias, and doesn’t like to draw too many boundaries between different forms of art. Waek’s pieces can be seen around Poland both on big walls and on smaller surfaces. Some of his murals he makes as part of his collective, Jakub Bitka.
For Pasila, Waek created a massive piece centering on a figure of a fish, spreading on all four walls of the elevator shaft. In the piece, he combines geometrical forms, known from his previous work, into a serene colour palette of different shades of blue and green.
The Swedish street artists Delicious Brains and Ossian Theselius arrived in Finland to paint a collaborative mural on the west side elevator shaft of Ratamestarinkatu with the Finnish street artist ines. The idea for the mural was sparked by the tower-like structure of the elevator shaft, and so the piece was created to depict a collapsing tower, where internal worlds can be seen through the cracks. The styles of the three artist come together in the detailed, colourful and imaginative mural that spreads on all the sides of the elevator shaft.
Pso Man (Belgium)
Belgian street artist and traveller Pso Man was invited to Finland by Street Art Vantaa. The artist, known for his imaginative pieces that are rich in detail, had a bit of time before before moving to paint in Vantaa, and so he was able to stop by and paint a mural in Pasila. With the Pasila mural, he was able to use an idea that he had been wanting to realise for a while.
The American street artist Wingchow, based in Richmond, Virginia, examines the changing form in her work and has an intuitive and flowing way of painting. The piece in Pasila has a mix of light and shadows, shapes and colours, and the imaginative character catches your eye from a far.
Acton describes his style as a combination of the mid 1980’s NYC style with a Scandinavian twist. Acton, who started doing graffiti in the late 1980’s, has had his pieces included at the URB-festival organised by Kiasma, as well as different street art festivals, latest of which was the Meeting Of Styles event in the summer 2017. He works both on his own and as a part of the Raw Deal collective. For the last half a year he has worked with an artist grant provided by the Arts Promotion Center of Finland – probably as the first graffiti artist in Finland.
The piece in Pasila represents a very classic Acton lettering. The shapes of the letters, the colour scheme and the details of the piece give away who’s behind it even before you’re close enough to read it. The strong red-yellow-orange colour scheme of this piece is one of the most common colour schemes used in this art form, where it has several variations. For this piece, Acton brought his own addition, a gradient brown ranging from light brown to middle brown, and matched the background with the piece on the other side of the steps.
Read more about the piece on Acton’s own page here.
Taneli Stenberg (Finland)
Taneli Stenberg is a painter and street artist from Helsinki, who makes artwork in both galleries and out in the open space. Art education and his expertise in traditional painting can be seen in his style, which is an interesting mix of street art, graffiti and traditional painting. In street art, he is particularly drawn by its dynamic and bold colours, which are especially powerful in the public space. More of Taneli Stenberg’s murals can be seen in Tampere and in Hakunila, in Vantaa.
For the mural in the staircase in Pasila, Stenberg sought inspiration from colour scheme and themes of the Pso Man mural next to his wall. He wanted the piece to have an fantastic, surreal impression, and that the piece wouldn’t be controlled too much by characters or shapes, to give space to people’s own interpretation. From the graffiti world he took the elements of the bold colours and sharp contrasts. His aim with his street art more generally is to bring a “window of an inner world to the urban space.”
Stenberg started first with the painting of the ladder, but his art spread also to the recess on the other side. He didn’t have time to get the piece as good as he wanted until the weather became unfavorable for outdoor painting, so the work will be finalized in spring 2018.