As part of my course ‘Art in Public Places’ there was an excursion to Oulu to visit various galleries, churches, studios and theatres to observe public art. This was the first time I had visited Oulu (another Finnish city) so it was a great opportunity to see the city and the art in Oulu.

We visited Aineen Taidemuseo where I was really intrigued by the Estonian artist Jaanus Samma with his project Sweaters. His exhibition featured jumpers (or sweaters) in frames on a wall. The jumpers had graffiti found around Finland sewn onto the jumpers, the graffiti was, as you would expect, rude and homophobic. However, putting these somewhat offensive markings onto a jumper softened them and turned them into art. It also explores the question of ‘what is public art?’ from taking graffiti in the public to then on an outward facing piece of clothing placed on a gallery wall for the general public to see. It is interesting how the messages from the graffiti have been given a whole new context when placed on a jumper. I found the project really inspiring. Another project I really enjoyed was Strindbergin Huoneissa by Marja Pirilä at the Northern Photographic Centre. In her project she turned her apartment into a camera obscura (which is when you create an inverted image by light rays passing through a pinhole into a darkened room). She basically lived in darkness for six months with only being able to see outside by the upside-down image projected onto her apartment. The images were beautiful and unique and they really made me think about how I can use alternate process in photography, I already have an idea buzzing around my head for a future project.

It was really interesting to visit schools and cathedrals and really understand the affect and importance of public art, I hadn’t thought too much about why we make art public and its uses as I typically create projects for myself rather than for the public. I also enjoyed visiting various working artists studios. It was really eye opening to see these workshops where these artists created their art. Each studio had the artists work plastered on every inch of the wall, they were creating art by being surrounded by their own art, it was such a beautiful thing to experience and made me think about using my own art to act as inspiration for myself. It was also fascinating to see work-in-progress projects in these studios and comparing them to the public art we had seen by the same artist in the museum.

It was an intense two days and we visited 14 separate venues so my mind was overloaded with thoughts and inspiration. I now have to write a five page ‘learning journal’ from the experience where I can put more concentration on my feelings throughout the excursion.