My Corners: JR & EORE

JR & EORE
Graffiti Artists
Ages 34 & 36
IG @yohanannuu & IG @eorerock

Graffiti Love?
EORE:
“We met in late spring 2011. There was a youth event near the Töölö Sports hall that had a graffiti wall and I was there painting it. I met JR for the first time later in the evening, when we happened to be there at the same time to look at the wall. So graffiti played a part in our meeting.”
JR:
“We found out pretty quickly that we had a mutual interest in graffiti. At the time, I myself wasn’t painting, but after hanging out with that guy for two years and watching his stuff I wanted to get my hands dirty again. These days it’s pretty rare for me to paint alone or with anyone else than him. So we go and paint together and we share a studio too.”
EORE:
“Today graffiti has a strong connection to tour relationship. We paint and draw together, we share ideas and overall draw a lot from each other into our art.”

On Cooperation
EORE:
“Doing paintings together has a pretty distinct workflow these days. We do some planning beforehand, for example we discuss what colors to use, especially if it’s a more permanent work. With fast hobby painting, which we do many times a week, we try not to overthink it. It’s more of a good feeling thing.”
JR:
“Permanent works often aren’t so easy to do. Sometimes it feels really annoying that we repeat the same pattern all over again. EORE can visualize stuff clearly already in the planning phase, and when he tries to explain it to me, I might not understand it because I can’t see inside his head. Then we sulk and argue for a while, until I tell him that I trust he knows what he’s doing and it’s gonna turn out just fine in the end. When we started making paintings together, I was constantly saying that I’m sorry that I’m ruining your work since I’m just a beginner. But not anymore. It’s crazy how much fun it is to do this together now.”

Two Styles in One Piece
JR:
“When we paint together, I do the illustrations and EORE does the letter graffiti. I make cartoon-like characters, I feel like they’re my thing. I value all kinds of styles – for example I think that photorealistic stuff can be really cool, but I don’t feel like it’s me. I like simpler things.
EORE:
“I’ve always done traditional letter graffiti, that follows a certain pattern or form. A letter has to be constructed in a certain way, and you can develop it further within those lines. I want my works to show this kind of relaxation, speed, and swing. I like to paint fast, but technically precise, and never rushed. I’m fond of relatively big contrasts between different colors and different forms.”

The Need to Paint
EORE:
“Painting is a basic human need to me. I have to paint. I have to try new ideas.”
JR:
“I guess it has to be a need, when you’ve got to paint even in the middle of the freezing cold winter. The fun is in the painting, not in the other things surrounding it. When you paint, you get this really good feeling afterwards. You always feel that there’s something more you can do or something you can do better after each time. You want to make progress all the time.”
EORE:
“Yeah, it’s something that exceeds the circumstances.”

The Road to Graffiti
JR:
“I got interested in graffiti in 1996. I spent a lot of time in the Lauttasaari shithouse, meaning the old water treatment plant, and I got a kick out of seeing the big boys paint. Naturally, I wanted to try it out myself. I practised doing tags on lined notebooks, and I stole some cans from my friend’s older brother – I was a real tough act. I’ve never experienced any gender discrimination. I’ve never felt that I couldn’t paint because I’m a girl.”
EORE:
“I got interested in the subject when I was eight or nine years old, at the end of the 1980s, when I saw a picture of the Atomic War, a graffiti piece that was located near the Herttoniemi metro tracks. The picture was in some car magazine, and the piece was in the background of a car commercial. At first, I made some copies of that piece and then I started to make some graffiti styled letters of my own, and I started noticing and paying attention to graffitis and tags more and more. I’ve never stopped to analyze the reasons why I paint, it’s just my thing. Or that it has remained as the one constant thing of my own from among many.”
JR:
“Some people like to play football and some like to swim. Like I was a little wild as a kid and did some things that maybe I shouldn’t have done. At first graffiti interested me because it was unsanctioned and exciting, but these days it’s just a thing that I want to make progress in. Last winter I took part in this youth event called Ruuti Expo at Valkoinen Sali (White Hall). I asked many young people there what they thought about street art, and they replied that that they couldn’t care less. I was amazed. Why not? I thought all young people were excited about it.”
EORE:
“I feel like the middle aged and even older people know more about this stuff than young people. Young people might even think it’s not that cool at the moment.”
JR:
“We were just talking about this, when we were painting in the Herttoniemi beach, and some kids were roaming around there. One kid sat near us and kept watching us intensely. There’s always a few people interested in what we are doing. It’s kind of cool.”

The map shows you JR’s and EORE’s Corners. Click on a place to read what they have to say about it.

TEXT: KAROLIINA SAARNIKKO
PHOTOS: MIIKKA PIRINEN