Inspiration from stories, nature and strong colors – 19 murals completed in Finnish cities

In the space of one month, Tikkurila paints were used to paint 19 murals in 12 cities around Finland as part of the UPEA18 Street Art Festival. Today, experiential storytelling, bold colors and closeness to nature are prevalent in urban art.



As before, this largest public space art event in Finland organized for the third time involved internationally renowned artists who created impressive murals on building facades in September. This year's achievements can be admired in Espoo, Helsinki, Hyvinkää, Iisalmi, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kemi, Kotka, Oulu, Salo, Seinäjoki, and Tampere.  

"In order to ensure an end result that is as durable as possible, we studied surface samples from all buildings to be painted in Tikkurila’s analytical laboratory. Based on the results, I gave technical recommendations for optimum surface treatment solutions, so that the selected product adheres well to the existing base, the finish resists UV radiation from the sun and the changing weather conditions of the Nordic region, and the color options match the plans of the artists”, describes Risto Hakkarainen, a technical specialist at Tikkurila. 

Emotional stories, wild colors and themes from nature 

Several of the works are based on experiental stories or societal themes. For example, the popular comic artist Pertti Jarla designed a humoristic Fingerpori strip on the ends of three apartment blocks in Tampere. In Salo, the Dutch pop artist Leon Keer realized a playful police-themed 3D painting on the wall of the police station, utilizing an optical illusion.  

The color schemes of the murals are bold, even bright. In Oulu, the world-renowned artist Andrew Hem painted a portrait as a mural, pulsating with the vibrant tones of fall. In Kemi, the talented Spanish artist Kenor used strong colors to paint an abstract work of art on the facade of the Prisma building, inspired by techno music.  

Many of the murals bring nature to the street scene in a new way. In Hyvinkää, the artist Mantra painted magically lifelike butterflies on the facade of a residential apartment building. In Seinäjoki, visual artist Silja Selonen created a series of murals where birds soar on the facades of several properties. A flora-inspired mural was brought to life on the side of a silo building in Salo in the hands of the Italian artist Fabio Petan. 

Communal landmarks 

The goal of the mural art is to enliven the urban environment and also increase the feeling of community.  

"Many of the housing companies have organized mural parties after the completion of the works and illustrator Eero Lampinen, for example, designed the Vaasankatu mural in Helsinki in cooperation with the residents of the housing company. The works have been very well received, and some of the murals have already become local landmarks”, says Jorgos Fanaris, the Artistic Director of the festival. 

During its three-year history, the UPEA festival has created around 50 murals around Finland in cooperation with Tikkurila. The murals were painted with Tikkurila’s durable Kivisil facade paint and Yki socle paint, and the hues selected from Tikkurila’s comprehensive Facade 760 exterior paint selection. 

See all sites and their exact locations:  

Further information:

Tikkurila Oyj
Päivi Kivilä, Senior Manager, Communications and Sustainability
Tel. +358 40 533 4922

Risto Hakkarainen, Technical Specialist
Tel.+358 40 764 9229

Photos: Upeart

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Tikkurila is a leading Nordic paint company with expertise that spans decades. We develop premium products and services that provide our customers with quality that will stand the test of time and weather. We operate in around ten countries and our 3,000 dedicated professionals share the joy of building a vivid future through surfaces that make a difference. In 2017, our revenue totaled EUR 582 million. The company is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. Nordic quality from start to finish since 1862.