Helsinki’s graffiti-painting deputy mayor gets a 2,500-euro fine


Helsinki’s graffiti-painting deputy mayor gets a 2,500-euro fine

That’s still less than the cost of cleaning up his urban art

Do you remember the story about Paavo Arhinmäki, the deputy mayor of Helsinki, who had a penchant for urban adventures in the form of painting graffiti in his free time? The rebellious streak ended up in him being arrested last summer and charged with vandalism linked to spray-painting the underpass near a railway section in his city.

Then again, being an underground street artist has its risks and that’s often part of the thrill. Speaking of which, the punishment for the mayor’s act of vandalism was finally decided by a district court at the end of last week, which ruled that Mr Arhinmäki has to pay 2,520 euros as a fine.

No street artwork fame to follow

Despite the publicity, the artwork created during a rowdy Midsummer’s Eve last year will not be able to achieve viral fame a la Banksy, because only a few days after its creation near the arrest of the deputy mayor it was cleaned up by the authorities. And the act of doing that job reportedly cost some 3,000 euros, which is actually more than the fine.

Apparently, the graffiti piece featured a phrase in English: “world domination and great career moves“. It might have lived to reach more prominence by clearly the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has no eye for art with prospects.

After his arrest Mr Arhinmäki apologized publicly for his behaviour and promised to pay whatever fines come his way, so now it will be time to put words to action.

Trying to defend and justify his artistic endeavours, the deputy mayor explained that the street artwork was meant to be a tribute to Pasila, the neighbourhood where many of his earlier works as a youth appeared.

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