Bikepath Side Mission

What does the great Finnish artists of the past have in common with an artist of today?

Eero Järnefelt & co, picture from an ongoing exhibition in Ateneum.

Our long time friend Arto Saari visited us while setting up his photo exhibition in Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä. We had a chance to catch up with him and cruise around Helsinki.

Arto became known as pro skateboarder and was once nominated as a skater of the year by Trasher magazine. Around the height of his career in 2004 he was also voted among the greatest Finns of all time. Currently he has dedicated his time in photography, documenting lifestyle around surfing and skating from his home base in Hawaii. A recent Nine Club interview gives a bit of insight of his charming character.

(Suomeksi hyvät läpät myös Viki & Köpi showssa.)

Arto midair bs flip Photo by Jon Humphries

Bikepath Hawaii

Having always had a strong sense of aesthetics, Arto gradually shifted sides with camera and took it into his own hands. After moving to the north shore of Oahu he began loading his camera gear on a bike and ride the local bike paths. What he saw and pictured started to build into a project of its own and he has since begun to the bike path side mission with him wherever he travels.

Above: Arto in his neighbourhood in LA.

Below: Arto’s Bike path photos from Hawaii.

More of Arto’s Hawaii vibes can be found on the Florence blog. (Image above by Tony Wodarck.)

Concrete Currents exhibition


The exhibition in Aalto Museum is a full body view of Arto’s photography — the red herring and the connection being the influence of Alvar Aalto for pool skating. Arguably, Aalto built the first kidney pool in Villa Mairea in 1938 and it became an inspiration to his architect colleagues who adopted the design all the way to California. Turns out Alvar Aalto not only gave shape to a pool, but also to history of skateboarding. Arto also built a pool on his backyard in LA. Not him or any of the visitors would know about the connection. (Btw, do you know what else Arto built in his backyard?)

The museum features more about skateboarding and street culture, including a nice biographic exhibition by Lizzie Armanto and retrospective of the Jyväskylä hiphop scene. The place is a real pilgrim for this summer.

Arto’s pool in construction.

Bikepath Hel #1

The cold spring this year was not exactly a warm welcome for those flying in from Hawaii. But if the weather was cold, the atmosphere was the opposite. When we cruised to a couple spots, it was a full gang. Not all photos and folks get their place in the sun here, so a sequel will follow. Here’s a few snaps from a path that continues.

So what did the Finnish artists of past have in common with those of today?

In the opening image Eero Järnefelt is portrayed in the field with his colleagues. Below Järnefelt is cooling off on sauna terrace in Suviranta. What Arto took with him to Hollywood and Hawaii was sauna, of course. If the man used to be sponsored by various skateboard brands, these days he carries a torch for a kiuas (sauna heater) brand. That is, in addition to being part of the extended family of a local bicycle company.

With these last images we wish you all a peaceful midsummer. Enjoy the sauna, swim and the midnight sun ♥

Island and sauna photos of Arto by Juho Huttunen.