When I first arrived in Tartu I just rushed into what I thought my residence will be about: exploring the charming stencil filled city with it’s rusty industrial areas, sketching in bars, painting the first amazing wall Salme from TAiR had arranged for me and maybe feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything.
First wallpainting lead accidentally to another in the wooden house district Karlova thanks to curious neighbors. Then to another painting in Aparaaditehas – what a place by the way! – and only after those paintings I started to understand how special it is to paint in Karlova.
My wallpaintings are usually based on the concrete canvases of places like Myyrmäki in Vantaa and when I’m painting I feel as I’m trying to fix something. That’s how I approached Karlova also. Only after painting there I started to see that the place is different – it is beautiful in a different way. I’m not sure if this place needs fixing at all. Still, I hope that the contrast between the wooden environment and my paintings gives importance and aspect to my artwork.
Painting was not the sole reason for my adventures in Tartu. Tartu has its lively street art scene that is dominated by stencil art. For those who expect a city full of vibrant murals it might first feel just messy and scattered. Getting into Tartu and its street art vibe takes some time. Tartu is not my favorite street art city, but it’s totally it’s own thing and worth spending more than just a couple of days. It’s my favorite Tartu. I’ll be back. And I’ve never felt this close to Estonia before. These things matter.
I’d like to give a big shout-out to all you warmhearted people I met during this residency: Lemmit & the whole crew at TAiR and Aparaaditehas, folks at Stencibility & Sprayprinter, Must Joon organizers, Janno from Karlova and peeps at Barlova especially for the artist talk night and Genialistide Klubi for letting me paint in their men’s room!
Here’s all my artwork: http://www.g-rex.fi/jessepasanen