Vantaa, just north of Helsinki, is the city which contains Helsinki's airport, as well as hosting the BRQ Vantaa Festival. In our recent trip there, we were taken round the city by local resident Klaus Kojo, who has been heavily involved in projects to get local people and invited artists to change grey concrete slabs into vivacious art works. Here are some pictures I took at Myyrmäki railway station in Vantaa.

These pictures were part of a project called "Myyr York Street Art City" - the outside walls are by a Chilean group "Un Kolor Distinto", the insides by the Finnish group "Multicoloured Dreams".

These are some of the more spectacular murals, but they're by no means the only ones. There are all sorts of areas in the city where kids from schools have been encouraged to come out and paint the town all sorts of bright colours – first with brushes, then moving on to spray cans. There's a lot more on this link.

What I found most fun was the idea that in times gone by, the graffiti artists were people who came out at dead of night trying as hard as possible not to be seen. The project had them doing their art proudly in the open, with people wandering past and going "oh, that's so cool" – the usual state of the world turned completely upside down. And the idea that a child can walk to school in what was formerly a concrete jungle and proudly show friends and family the bits he or she painted really appeals to me. And I'm sure it's not a coincidence that although we saw the odd bit of boring graffiti of the "xxx was here" or succession-of-swear-words variety, the amount of this was way smaller than I've seen in suburban graffiti sites anywhere else.

By the way, here's a typical view before the street art...

© David Karlin
© David Karlin

Thanks for Klaus Kojo and Ulla-Maija Rouhiainen for taking us round on a very drizzly morning, and thanks to BRQ Vantaa Festival and Visit Vantaa for sponsoring the trip. And thanks to Petteri Niskanen for giving me the correct names!