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A new piece of artwork for Baana from Blade, the living legend of graffiti, and from the established graffiti maker Mick La Rock

27.3.2018 21:42

Mick La Rock & Blade © HAM / Maija Toivanen
Mick La Rock & Blade © HAM / Maija Toivanen

Baana will receive its share when Graffiti, the grand spring exhibition at Helsinki Art Museum, brings international icons of the field to Helsinki. In conjunction with the exhibition, Blade, the living legend of graffiti, and the Amsterdam-based graffiti maker Mick La Rock, will create a new wall painting at the Antinkatu underpass. If we manage to avoid a new cold spell, the work of these graffiti painters can be followed at Baana on Tuesday 3 April an on Wednesday 4 April 2018.

Blade (b. 1957), the legendary king of graffiti, began painting in the Bronx, NYC in the early 1970s. He is one of the original members of The Crazy 5 crew. During his active years, Blade painted over 5,000 subway trains. From 1975 to 1982, his graffiti was ubiquitous on New York’s IRT 2 and 5 lines. He painted whole cars featuring bubble letters, 3Ds and angular blockbusters, often with an added cartoon figure and crown symbol. Ignoring mainstream trends, Blade developed his own unique style of lettering. In the early 1980s, Martha Cooper gave Blade a canvas and urged him to embark on a career as an independent artist. Blade held his first solo show in New York in 1984. His early paintings emulate the style of his train graffiti, but over time his visual aesthetic grew progressively more abstract.

Mick La Rock, alias Mickey (born 1970), is an established, Amsterdam-based graffiti artist. Having painted since 1983, she is one of the first and internationally best-known female artists in the graffiti culture. Since the beginning, her pseudonym Mickey, realised in different typefaces, has served as the basis for her graffiti. Over the years, Mick la Rock’s imagery has become more geometric, and her latest murals are simplified wall paintings finished in colour scale and style. Mick la Rock has participated in international joint exhibitions since the early 1990s, and her works have been presented in dozens of publications.

In 2018, HAM will implement two works made to order in Baana. The former railway shaft used for pedestrian traffic today is an original and central part of the Helsinki cityscape. HAM is developing the curation of street art to be displayed there together with Helsinki Services for Youth and the Urban Environment Division. The profiling of Baana as a space for public art began in 2012, when HAM produced the works by Janne Siltanen to be displayed there. In the summer of 2017, Baana was the scene of a painting by the Os Gemeos duo produced by Kiasma, and the work of Emilio Mäkipää produced by Amos Anderson’s Art Museum.

Explore the Graffiti exhibition