Photon Graffiti (light lace art)

A public artwork, visible from 6th of December 2016 to 28th of February 2017 in the facade of the Seppä House in Rauma, Alfredinkatu 3. The artwork can be seen only during dark hours.

The following text is translated from a press release and that is why it is written in third person.

Fotonigraffiti / Photon Graffiti (2016).
Fotonigraffiti / Photon Graffiti (2016).

Man has always drawn pictures into different kinds of surfaces such as sand, rocks, ceilings and walls. Graffiti have become an essential part of urban view. Sometimes they are done with a permission, other times not. In general one can say that the bigger the city the more it has graffiti. Sometimes the attitude towards graffiti as an acknowledged form of public art is still in its baby steps – especially in smaller communities such as in the town of Rauma. There are only a few graffiti and mural paintings in Rauma that are made with a permission. So it makes you wonder why couldn’t it be otherwise?

Getting a permission for a graffiti in a public space is not easy. And of course not every place is suitable for them. For example the Unesco World Heritage Site, the Old Rauma is a very challenging place to all kinds of public artworks, not only to graffiti. But outside of the old town there are lots of surfaces, both public and private, that would fit perfectly to urban street art. One example of this is from the last Summer when Thorström and a bunch of school children made over one hundred lace graffiti to the pavement in the main street in Rauma. A story of that case can be read here.

Photon Graffiti speaks out on this case. The artwork is drawn with light – which is of course photons.  It can be seen only during dark hours to raise awareness by its form: graffiti are so rare in the town of Rauma that you recoil when you see one as it is so extraordinary. It not only advocates urban street art but also combines two themes that are close to Thorström’s heart. Lace, which the town of Rauma is famous for, is naturally the first one as Thorström is known as a promotor of bobbin lace and contemporary lace art both in Finland and around Europe.

The implementation of the artwork derives to further back in time in Thorström’s way of expressing his artistic self. Before bobbin lace became Thorström’s focus he took old school black and white photographing, developing films and printing photos very seriously. So the name of the Photon Graffiti is a word play. The term photography came to English from Greek (although French was the middleman in this) in which the words phōtós and gráphō mean drawing with light. So, Thorström doesn’t only make lace with thread and paint but also with light. Hence the graffiti is made of photons.

Artists often work around the same subject without any knowledge of each others. Around the same time as working around the idea of Photon Graffiti began one could notice a whole bunch of news of new mural paintings in Finland. So one could say that the Photon Graffiti is very current. In addition to these The Artists’ Association of Finland has recently been promoting public art.

The artwork is funded by the Seppä House Working Committee’s grant which was given by the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s regional (Satakunta) fund. It was given to develop the use of Seppä House and to create artistic program in the house.

Fotonigraffiti / Photon Graffiti (2016).
Fotonigraffiti / Photon Graffiti (2016).

PS. If you are interested in lace and light art then check this out:
Light art in the old town hall

Lace graffitis in the town of Rauma

(Read the story first, the photos are in the end.)

For the last six months I’ve been visiting frequently a local upper elementary school. I was leading a project that was a combination of visual arts and lace. Working with the 7th graders reached it’s goal today as we painted over one hundred lace graffitis to the main street’s paving.

Project description in a nutshell: First I introduced the students to the world of lace. Then we examined the essence, form, looks and structure of lace. What makes lace lace and are there other things, both man made and natural, that have the idea of lace in some means. After that the students got a homework to find these “laces” in their own natural environments. Their task was also capture them either by photographing or drawing. With the pictures we started to photoshop them into two-colour images. Those we could transform into a machine readable format so that a laser cutting machine could cut them of thin mdf-board. This is how we got stencils to use for spray painting lace graffitis to the pavement stones.

Rauma Lace Week starts in four days so I’m pretty sure they will last at least until that.

I want to express my gratitude to the students for the great work they have done both during Spring and today’s painting operation. And can you imagine: no-one even called the police for us being painting graffitis!

Pitsigraffitin maalaus käynnissä. Kuva: Ewelina Dobosz
The painting of Rauma Lace Graffitis. Photo: Ewelina Dobosz / Town of Rauma
Pitsigraffitin maalaus käynnissä. Kuva: Ewelina Dobosz
The painting of Rauma Lace Graffitis. Photo: Ewelina Dobosz / Town of Rauma
Pitsigraffitin maalaus käynnissä. Kuva: Ewelina Dobosz
The painting of Rauma Lace Graffitis. Photo: Ewelina Dobosz / Town of Rauma
Pitsigraffitin maalaus käynnissä. Kuva: Ewelina Dobosz
The painting of Rauma Lace Graffitis. Photo: Ewelina Dobosz / Town of Rauma

The making of Rauma Lace Graffitis was supported by the town of Rauma and the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Satakunta Regional fund. Great thanks to both of them!

Finnish Cultural Foundation, Satakunta Regional fund
Rauman kaupunki

Bridge that connects us

Last fall, when I was in a Polish lace festival in the town of Bobowa, I got an invitation to participate in a lace conference in Kozárd (Hungary) in the beginning of June 2016. My physical presence was not only wished but also a participation in a collaborative lace artwork. This so called bridge of friendship was started by the Hungarians, Polish and Slovakians, but later on other countries have joined. The two latest just few weeks ago were Finland (by yours truly) and Croatia (Lepoglava lace).

Silta, joka meidät yhdistää

The bridge that connects us consists of several lace pieces, each made by a different participant. The connected (= sewn together) lace pieces symbolize the friendship and connection among us. So I was asked to do alike. Measurements are 24 x 32 cm. Also it has to be sewable on both ends, so those have to be straight. Something typical and traditional was in the wishlist, so I chose to made border lace for a table cloth called “Rowan’s leaf”. I didn’t want to put any cloth in it even though that would have been traditional, so instead I made another lace to fill the center. I wanted to represent the theme of friendship so I picked up this motif of endless knot, which is known around the world. In India it is known by the name of Shrivatsa, it is a symbol of eternal love and friendship, so it fits the theme quite well.

Finland_Tarmo_Thorstrom_lace_2

Check out the whole artwork:

The bridge continues to become longer so new countries are to be expected.

bridge-that-connects-us-participants

 

Rauma Market Square’s falling stone bollard and reflective laces

In the market square of the town of Rauma there is one infamous stone bollard that falls down once in a while as sloppy car drivers fail to evade it. It has gotten a lot of publicity like this:

Sanomalehti Länsi-Suomi: Kauppatorin tolpan tapaturmapäivä: tolppaan törmättiin taas

The headline tells that the bollard had an accidental day once again as it got hit.

My first attempt to increase the visibility of the bollard was two years ago when I made bobbin lace of reflective band. It wasn’t that pretty but it surely served it’s purpose – until it got stolen after being on the bollard for almost two weeks.

From this theft I got a good reason to make another one, but this time with style as I wasn’t that satisfied with the first one. I also documented the whole making process and turned it into a performance which you can see for yourself:

tolppapitsi-3 tolppapitsi-2 tolppapitsi-1

Unfortunately but naturally some moron stole this one also. So after this theft the bollard continuet it’s life getting hits by sloppy car drivers.

Until this fall I got an idea to make a reflecting lace that can’t be stolen, unless you steal the whole bollard as well. I made a lace stencil and then with reflective lace spray paint I just simply painted the lace. Or to be precise I painted the empty areas in the lace so in the bollard you can see the lace made of stone that doesn’t reflect light as well as the surrounding areas.

Anyway, check this link to see a couple of good photos the local press took: https://ls24.fi/uutiset/kaupungin-kuuluisin-tolppa-sai-heijastinpitsin

And here’s my shots:

Rauman Kauppatorin kolmas pitsiheijastin. Rauman Kauppatorin kolmas pitsiheijastin.

So, what do you think about it all?

Light art in the old town hall

The old town hall in the center of Old Rauma is one of Rauma Museum’s attractions. It is known for its historical lace collection which includes several hundred lace samples. To modern people old laces and the art of making bobbin lace feel like they are from another world, even many light years away. The same way as star’s twinkle has actually happened long, long time ago, also Ancient light, spectaculum 79 Ceti brings forth in the form of light bobbin lace over a hundred years ago.

Rauman Raatihuoneen pitsivaloteos Vanhaa valoa, spectaculum 79 Ceti
Light art by Tarmo Thorström: Ancient light, spectaculum 79 Ceti (2015).

This public light art appears as the sun goes down and vanishes as the dawn comes. It can be seen during dark hours until the end of February 2016.

The artwork is a part of a national event Light for Art, which is produced by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland. More info (in Finnish only, sorry) in the web page: http://valoataiteelle.taike.fi/

[EDIT, the following was added December 6th 2016]

The artwork is back! It decorates The Old Townhall again from the beginning of December to the end of February. And most likely it will become a permanent wintertime artwork in the old Town.