Uudet diktaattorit (2017) - full transcript

You could get a good shot from there I
just spotted a 'Romeo', an old tag of mine.

It was January, February '86
when we started writing our names...

it started around our own neighborhoods
and then around Helsinki.

We were little boys back then
and rolled in our own hoods.

Here in Itä-Pasila there was a lot of cool stuff
around construction sites, train tunnels etc.

So there was a lot of surface where to make
your own mark and from there it all started.

When you were a kid,
you hardly had any patience to draw...

and if you had just been drawing
images of war or something silly...

and then suddenly. Graffiti!

It seemed so difficult
with its weird shapes.

So it was all about learning
since we didn't know anything about it.

All we knew was that we wanted to write our
own names, be painters and wreck the city

and we had to learn
how it works.

We were so young that with our small allowances
even getting the spray cans felt almost impossible.

When we went to tag our own names
in a another part of town...

we found other people's tags
and realised…

That there were others
doing this...

and it was being done
in every part of the city.

And then something
just clicked in my head.

And I was like, goddamn,
this is something I want to do!

I hardly knew
what spray can was...

and I hadn't even painted a moped or
anything before I went to do my first piece.

All the colours
and shapes...

I had to
master them...

The early eighties graffiti scene
was extremely good...

because there were new people coming in
and the progress was amazing

all the time more colours
and characters started to appear

it was cool back then and you didn't
run over anybody's piece

there was that respect.

And if some spot
was already painted...

you went around looking
for another one.

It was a fine and fruitful period
for Finnish Graffiti.

Then a new phase started, which slowly
developed into an 'all city phase'...

where I, writer from Herttoniemi, a long
time tagger of the backseats of busses…

Got myself into
slightly bigger circles...

And then we founded TDF:
The Diamonds Five.

Which later on
became TDC...

So the number of the crew members
wasn't so strictly defined.

We started to sketch the pieces together
And painted them together...

according to the plans...

so that everybody had
their parts to play.

And we could make
bigger pieces and do them faster...

And probably
cooler as well

since everybody had painted
on their own names...

and when we put
our forces together...

we could go
bigger and better.

Sometimes we went at it
with a big posse...

something like 5-10 guys at
a time wrecking trams...

sometimes things stayed cool...

there were always somebody looking out
for us and telling us when to tag

not to go all out
all the time...

that everybody should
take turns and shit...

but because of the fact
that we were such rascals...

it often got out of hand anyway...

and we were all a bunch of
termites with markers

wrecking the shit...

Then we would force the doors open
and run away...

then we would maybe
walk around a block...

or then take
another tram line...

maybe some of us started
considering toning it down...

some wanted to continue...

and then eventually everybody
went their own way.

Perhaps some of them
started to think that...

since we wrecked the shit
out of those trams

that we would eventually get caught
and heavily sanctioned.

- We wanted to go... well... big…
- Yeah big!

And what would be a better spot than that
big wall next to Kulosaari Metro station

and of course we had
couple of guys on a look out.

But at the end of the day they were just hanging
around -Just there to hang out and feeling the vibes.

And it was a quite a surprise when someone went to
check after hearing something like a car nearby.

He went to take a peek around the corner
and found two security guards standing.

- Then we had to run like hell.
- Yeah.

We had to leave all the spray cans
and everything behind...

Among other things, my jacket with a note form
school inside its pocket, which stated my name.

And then, one day a police officer called
from the Pengerkatu police station...

asking if I had lost
73 cans of spray paint.

The officer then said
what we had done looked goddamn fabulous.

And he would see fit that if we finish what
we had started, since it was so fabulous.

On top of that we could paint the other walls
of the building too as a bonus of sorts.

When walking between the Siilitie and Herttoniemi Metro stations,
you could always recognize other painters when you saw them...

and then you were just like 'Yo yo,
what's up dude? What's your tag?'...

and that is how you
got to know other painters...

There were people hanging out at the Railway Station
and Citykäytävä where you could find other painters...

When you saw cool tags, you were interested
to know who and from where they were from...

you were kinda hunting for them and would usually
find them hanging out at some local spots...

especially if you didn't know
which school someone was going to...

since you could always find the bad boys smoking
cigarettes around schools during recesses

you quickly got to know people
from all around the city...

and then you would hang out with them for a while,
tagging electric boxes or going on tram rides

and that was the mission,
tagging together, that's it!

And it wasn't a big deal
if you didn't become better friends

you just kept on going.

When the Lepakko Hip Hop jams started, you
got so many contacts, which was awesome.

There were breakdancers, rappers,
painters, everybody was united...

The jams in Lepakko were extremely nice
and they had a really positive vibe...

like it is with real Hip Hop to have fun,
which is the main point. Enjoy what you do!

It's funny how much this graffiti and hi
p hop thing had united people...

last year someone could have been your
worst enemy but when they became painters...

when you shared the same circles,
you became friends on a deeper level.

Back then, there were no fights whatsoever,
people had fun and respected one another...

We were competing for who tagged the most,
painted the most, was the best beatboxer…

Was the best rapper, scratcher.
There was no violence back then.

The first wave of painters were these
fucking breakers, dj's and 'hip hoppers'.

But we came in
with a rougher attitude.

If these old school guys had done 10-20
pieces a year, we did about 300 a year…

There was a big difference
there already...

And of course they were tagging too, but we
tagged the shit out of places... for real…

The amount of new people
that came in just exploded.

And of course you could see that from the
walls. There were new names and new pieces...

and in many spots the wall space
got smaller and smaller.

We were the kings back then. We got new
subordinates that worshipped us. And it was...

- We didn't really like the styles…
- a lot of silver, hasty shapes and all...

it kinda killed the vibe…

We stepped out from doing
pieces for a while because of that.

Some of them would just tag wherever… new
buildings, old buildings, fine buildings...

There was no question about the fact
that it wasn't some underpass...

or some electric box etc.

There was no chance that I would have
painted a wall of some nice wooden building…

located within a garden
or church wall...

When you really go tag,
you don't fucking spare anything…

You don't have any specific targets,
you just wrecked everything... homes, cars…

Fuck... we painted live frogs
and entire trees with chrome...

shit like that...

Maybe that wasn't
very romantic but...

The old school painters started to fade out a little
and the new generation of painters were just starting…

So it really didn't look that creative… It was
more about how creative you could be at wrecking…

You didn't go home before all your fucking
cans were empty. You emptied them on the walls.

Quite quickly one could see the
scribbling that had filled the walls.

But where it was most visible
was at the Lepakko jams…

I think it was during
the 1989 Lepakko jams...

where you could see
that the clientele had really changed.

We would come into these jams
with a big crew...

wreaking havoc
and fucking people up...

Quite idiotic behavior.

Maybe they weren't
too happy about that...

Because they really had
this 'hip hop united' thing…

But we were...

maybe a little
too crazy for that.

The early nineties were...

a golden age of sorts…

There started to be
quite a lot of painters...

you had different styles and attitudes
evolving in different parts of the city.

When the Citykäytävä hangarounds
split up… in the end of 1991…

People started doing
their pieces more...

and it evolved
into this underground thing...

where things happened
more within your own crew.

It didn't seem
so serious then...

we thought that we are painting nice things
with nice colours

and what we were doing was more beautiful
than those grey concrete walls.

Sometimes people passed by
when you were painting…

But they didn't seem
to mind much.

You had to be careful
in certain places

so that the cops
couldn't see what you were doing...

because then
you'd have to stop...

You also had to hide from the taxi drivers
because they had this ULA phone connection...

that they could
call the cops with.

But because
no one had cellphones...

if someone would mind you painting, it
would take time before they reach a phone...

and something would happen.

Feeling some pressure?

The marker's quite dry…

No, it doesn't matter…

It'll be classical.

- It wasn't that dry when it started to open up.
- Yeah, yeah.

They got a deal to do a legal
piece at Rekola station - Yeah.

We didn't approve
of that at all…

I was at a juvenile institution
at the time…

Fuck, that they would come to do
legal pieces at our stations!

Yeah, are they these...?

Comedy and Krylon did this
52-meter wide 'Fuck The Cops' on top of it.

It was unreal, because it was summer
and the track makes a slight curve...

from the Korso station...

and you could see this
chrome mirror...

- that would reflect the evening sun.
- Yeah, yeah.

What's up with this now?

Why is it not coming off?

There is still some
left in the letter S...

What punishments could get
from those things back then?

- You wouldn't necessarily get anything.
- Mostly it was just a visit to the police station…

Where they would preach to you a little
and they would then see about it.

Back in the day, in the mid-nineties
and even at end of nineties...

you would usually do some reconciling
and/or pay the cleaning fees...

which were quite reasonable
back then...

and you would try
to learn from your mistakes…

You tried not to get caught
but that didn't always work out.

If you have started out
with block letters…

And when the wall
was filled with those...

the next option
was to paint on top of them

and then you had to
make it a bit bigger...

You couldn't be weak...

you had to be strong…

You had to have style.

Yeah, you had to practice first…

Before doing anything to the walls.

Graffiti quickly became popular
and then it wasn't enough anymore…

That you would only be seen
in many places...

It became more about
how you were seen.

A kind of visual competition,
where the thing was...

to make your name seen
in the coolest possible way.

In the eighties
big brand logos started to appear...

and I would see that graffiti
came to complement them...

so this is the aspect of graffiti
that makes it an art form...

Art mirrors the society around it and graffiti has
reflected the kind of societal change in Finland…

Where trademarks and logos started
to appear in the city…

In the shops, at the shelves
and on people's clothes.

- There's another one…
- What?

There's another one…

During the so called
first 'train boom'...

was when
I saw painted trains...

rolling on these tracks.

There was pieces by
Comedy, Krylon, Pyro, Comet etc.

It had a kind of effect on me that...

This is the thing!

I have to start
doing this as well!

This is totally insane!

That there is no bigger way
of expressing yourself than this!

These fucking trains going
back and forth…

With your name
on the side.

Then it took a couple of years
before I got…

those are the ugly new ones...

...to paint those trains
back then.

There's a certain limit here…

Perhaps I was aware that…

For Finnish State Railway...

the trains are in a way

important phallic symbols...

The railway company wouldn't look well upon
the fact that people would paint them.

It was in the early nineties when
there were pieces and tags everywhere...

and I got the feeling
that any fool can…

Or not necessarily a fool…

Anybody could go and do a piece
at Pulu, Galleria or on the streets

those places
didn't require much effort

and of course they were
completely full...

and in order
to really stand out...

you had to
do something wild...

But painting trains
wasn't something

that everybody
was going for.

When the train fever hit me…

I started to choose colours
more on the basis of...

how quickly the paint
would come out from the can

and not so much
from an aesthetic perspective.

It's from where the entire
thing comes from...

it's the highest form of graffiti
that exists.

We've had these
fucking crazy moments…

Where we've spotted
an empty cart

and went at it
full force...

and suddenly... Fuck!
There were conductors on board...

all four of them,
started walking towards us shouting...

'- What the fuck?'

the four of us had
completely wrecked the cart...

We just had to
force the doors open…

While the train was
moving at 30-40 Km/h.

We then jumped into the snow
hoping that we wouldn't hit any poles.


It was like that
back then.

Let's go.

The logic of
'me tagging this ugly concrete wall...

to make it more beautiful'
Doesn't necessarily justify me doing it.

In my opinion, the goal was
to make the city more beautiful…

So our crew
had a good cause.

Well it's a dilemma…

Where are you allowed paint?
And where you aren't?

I think that
it's up to each painter to decide

I wouldn't necessarily go
and paint on...

let's say, historical sites
or religious sanctuaries.

But if this city
was built solely out of pyramids...

I'd definitely tag them.

I haven't touched private property,
Someone's house or something...

I've had quite clear limits
on where I have painted.

The places have always
had something in common...

like underpasses, train stops...

Or... something like...

abandoned houses or
the walls of some storage building...

into places where I've felt
that painting does no harm...

I can of course be wrong about that,
someone might still get upset.


Well fuck, if you have started painting
and doing this thing…

You just have to
fucking ignore that kind of shit.

Tax payers money…fuck it…
I'm not interested.

We do have our own code
on where we don't paint.

has it up in here.


Yeah, all good.

We've never messed around
with property of an individual

in a way
this is all common property, this society…

But when the powers that be fuck around...

and there is all this corruption
and everything…

Then you just pick up
your backpack full of paint...

and go wreck the shit out of places.

Why you would
you just stay at home…

And follow
all this crooked shit?

When you have your
own way of making a stand...

You can go out there
and write what you think.

Your own view...

Onto these trains,
stations or somewhere else.

I feel that you even have right to do so.

- Yes, I have showed some mercy…
- my ethics don't bend..

I show mercy when I see
that there are four cameras...

Then I say that let's not tag here,
we go somewhere else…

However drunk I would be,
I would get this feeling from somewhere…

That this tag doesn't look good here…
nor it is easily removable…

But of course, while in my teens
and sometimes after…

I've felt the need to fuck shit up.

But it never was my thing..

- But hey, you are from Eira.
- I'm from Korso..that says it all..

Yeah, maybe there's some
difference between a well-off rich kid…

And the true concrete jungle king.

In our hallway there was dog shit
and flames and neighbors shouting…

Yeah, yeah.

Even though your neighbors
probably shouted too…

You have this 200-year old jugend castle
with its ornaments and shit...

- Yeah, maybe it comes from there then..
- Well it has to come from somewhere!

Once I was tagging a seat
with a fresh marker.

I got up and happened
to look over my shoulder...

and saw
an old lady sit on it...

she was wearing a
electric blue fleece jacket...

and before I could open my mouth
as to warn her or something

because I really didn't want
her to sit on it.

But she had
already sat down...

when she got up,
she had my tag's imprint on her back.

That's something that I
could have been left undone.

Then the fucking cellphones appeared
and shit got quite hectic…

It took about one and half years from
there and phone records came along.

Nobody knew about any of
that shit back then.

Nowadays you have to
fucking send smoke signals…

When we are going out to paint.

I got called in
for a Police interrogation...

I didn't know for what
since they didn't explain.

I decided to go and I hadn't really
thought much of it

so I went in
with some sketches in my pocket...

I ended up spending
a couple of nights there.

It was back then in the early 2000's
when they started to become…

More interested about this thing
and wanted to stop it.

It was like
The Inquisition all over...

and one could say that
the cultural history of Finnish graffiti…

Was destroyed
in a Talebanish way.

They cleaned everything,
even the really old ones…

There was nothing left anywhere.

When the Zero Tolerance
and the persecution started…

It had an effect
on the styles a lot.

And I think that at some point the styles
had become really bad…

Because the point was
to paint as fast as possible...

and that became
the main thing...

The style came second.

We were thinking that
this cannot take many years…

That their campaign would
run out of money at some point...

But surprisingly enough.
It didn't.

These northern Helsinki neighbourhoods
which are close to railway tracks

have been extremely restless
and violent places.

And also tagged as fuck.

So from here
they started the control...

and then the Vandal Squads
stepped into the picture.

They wore plain clothes
at the stations…

And they also had these
old ticket vending booths...

where they sat
and peeked between closed curtains.

There were like four guards inside,
waiting, with their batons ready…

For someone to
make a wrong fucking move.

With these
security companies…

There was no...

No reason or moral
in their way of operating.

When the telephone surveillance
and the overall heat from the cops came…

It caused some people
to go and snitch.

Then you trusted
your own crew more...

who really kept
their mouths shut.

When you got caught,
you stayed quiet…

Since you knew that
others would follow. That's that.

Which didn't mean
you wouldn't get sentenced…

Because in our case,
if you admit, you're sentenced.

If you don't,
you're sentenced.

Its like…
fuck the whole thing.

I like doing what I do…

And not one punk ass security guard
or police could scare me...

in a way
that I would stop doing it.

I just kept going and made
the whole thing more reasonable...

For example, I always had a
couple of guys on the look out.

So that nobody would come,
when you are doing something.

Of course there were
less painters around…

Since many had got enough
of the persecution, cleaning...

and the punishments
that were severe.

The ones who stayed, were those
who were the most enthusiastic...

and those who had nothing to lose,
who had already got their 'bills'.

And of course they
just kept wrecking shit...

just to fuck with them.

Maybe it was a good thing
for Finnish graffiti...

that this crew came
and showed how to wreck shit...

maybe it kinda needed that,
in order for things to change…

And when the control came,
we didn't slow down...

but went in head first
and did even more.

The Police came to pick me up
from home one Sunday morning…

I opened the door
and they said "Pack your stuff…

And take some books with you,
because this might take a while."

They locked me up for a month
and then another…

And eventually they
transferred me to a prison.

There I was with car thieves,
and all kinds of other looneys,

like robbers and killers.

And even inside there
I didn't feel scared or anything,

in a way that would
have lead me to stop this art thing.

It made me think about all this
in a new way.

The inmates were perplexed that I
ended up there just because of graffiti…

And especially there.

Everybody was in there
for some really serious shit.

But no biggie…

Of course I had the early symptoms
of a first time inmate,

like carrying the shit buckets
into the wrong place etc.

you get used to the routines,

because you're in there
for quite some time.

I remember the day when
we went on trial again in Vantaa...

going through
the same things…

And there was
a national TV news crew present.

There I woke up to the fact
that this had become a big thing.

When I returned to prison,
after I was acquitted,

so as to be released immediately.

- The other inmates asked.
- "How did everything go?"

I told them
it felt kinda weird that...

there was a big reporter show
and in the end I got acquitted.

They said "Fucking wonderful!
We were wondering…

What the fuck
you were doing here anyway".

- We can't get through…
- he can't get there…

Let's go now!

All the things people do on this planet
can't be measured with money and shouldn't…

can't be profit-driven

it is an absurd idea.

We are not a factory…
The Earth is not a factory...

that would only strive...

to make profit
and produce money.

The reason why I paint graffiti
is because I like it…

And I don't want
any money from it…

I want to feed my soul with it
and share it with others.

So, keep your money!
I don't want it!

And maybe that's the thing
which scares people the most…

That there are people
who aren't interested in money…

Cars, televisions and
all these fucking pinnacles of hedonism.

As soon as I got out from prison,
we went and did more graffiti...

on to public transportation.

Because I was pissed off
from being there for nothing.

There was no other way
to show those security guards...

that we're back in business.

Even they understood
that it doesn't help.

One guy got a month in prison
for putting up concert posters.

Other people also suffered
from this control of public space...

so then The Zero Tolerance campaign ended…

That was the peak of
hysteria around graffiti.

In a way the whole thing fell
to its own impossibility.

We, the second generation, came
and took over...

and I would guess that it must have
been difficult for the old school guys...

and it's difficult for me now,
when its happening again…

But that's how it goes.

Someone needs take over.

There is always a new dictator
to replace the old one.

That's how it goes.

Graffiti has been understood
to be taken more easily and lightly.

That this isn't so serious…

Of course someone
can see it as being so fucking serious...

there's that serious aspect to it too...

You can be
playful with it...

Don't paint there
where it's oozing…

Let it dry for a moment…

Just like that…

- You can colour the whole diamond inside..
- I want to also!

Well, let Ari colour it now.

You just couldn't resist
after that initial bite…

Every once in a while
I feel like I have to go and do a piece…

Or then it's a kind of call
to go out and do my thing…

But that's how it is
with any other hobby...

be it fishing
or whatever...

I think a fisherman
feels that he needs to go fishing.


It's that simple.

I do it because I can
and I want to…

It runs in my blood.

Can you say it so?
I don't know…

The culture is part of me
and my personality.

Well…of course the trains
still run to the depot...

you can go there and paint
it's not about that.

It's all about whether or not
you feel the call in you heart.

All the shitty fingernails
and huge fucking bills…

Fuck the bills...

I've gotten so many good friends
out of this…

That's the most important thing.

Nowadays, the most important
thing for me is amusing myself…

Well..I don't know
if it's the most important...

But the thing
that keeps me going.

Of course there is no sense in it…

But what sense is there in ski jumping?

Or driving a Formula One car
around a circuit? How stupid is that?

This thing is a culture,
an art form.

I could do way more idiotic things.