Swedish graffiti artist Finsta decorates house walls in Sweden’s roughest suburbs. There, graffiti is far less unfamiliar than traditional art. Read more about the Swedish street artist and how he arrived from sketchbook drawings to international fame.
During the last 25 years, the multidisciplinary artist Finsta’s art has spread from the pages of his sketchbook to the walls of his native town in southern Sweden and beyond. Today, he gets commissioned by global brands and exhibits his artworks all around the world.
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The multifaceted artist Finsta (Finn Hallin, born 1978) is one of Europe’s leading urban contemporary artists. He moves between painting, design, music and animation. His love of popular culture and the urban environment, combined with a strong desire to be seen and produce works available to the general public, has made him move endlessly between the established art institutions and the street. With megalomania as an engine, Finsta always wants to do more, better and bigger. Nothing is impossible in graffiti – the art form in which everything is about being visible and making your personal mark on your surroundings.
From the outside, Linehed outside Halmstad on Sweden’s west coast looks like any other Swedish suburb. Uniform brick apartment buildings, adapted for play and recreation. Walking distance to bus, shops and services. On a bumpy meadow are a couple of football goals made of welded steel pipes, tattered remnants of what was once a net wire from the crossbar. Besides the rustle of the birch trees and an enthusiastic labrador in the distance, the district’s park area is quiet.
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At the entrance to a small – and strangely out of place – outdoor amphitheater, the graffiti artist Finsta stands and applies black and tubular streaks with a spray can on sky-blue concrete walls. Like most graffiti painters, he has chosen to keep a low public profile, but has no reservations about being photographed.
With a career spanning back to 1993, when he as a fifteen-year-old made his first public graffiti painting on the walls of a fraternity in his hometown Lund in the south of Sweden, the name Finsta has long been well-known within the graffiti community. In the last decade, as public acceptance for the artform has increased, his eye-catching, often humorous, artworks have caught the attention of a wider audience with commercial commissions and international exhibitions as a result. Even though he’s mostly known for his work with spray cans, every project begins with a graphite pen and piece of paper.
His first major solo exhibition in Sweden is at Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art in Lund. At the exhibition visitors are able to follow Finstad’s journey over his 25 years as an artist, his creative process and sources of inspiration. The exhibition runs through 11 September, 2022.
“Everything starts as a sketch. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember and that has developed my expression. When other graffiti artists did letters and tags, I’ve always done characters. It helped me develop my unique style at an early age, and today I benefit from that. Like any brand, you want to be easily recognizable”, Finsta says.
Finn Hallin was part of Skissernas Museum’s international residency program for professional artists. With generous support from the LMK Foundation, a highly qualified international artist is offered the opportunity to work for a time in connection with Skissernas Museum and its collections.
“I do not want people to call me if they see one of my walls and do not like what they see”, says Finstad. “Then they can rather send a reader’s letter to the newspaper or go and paint something themselves.”
Swedish Street Artist – From Sketchbook Drawings to International Fame, written by Tor Kjolberg