For the past few weeks, I’ve been planning and finally executing something that made me immensely happy: the Doors of Love, a Helsinki Pride inspired mural / street art piece. Originally, I just wanted to bring some color to Hotel Katajanokka‘s beautiful old prison yard and perhaps encourage people to share the message on social media during Pride Week.
In the end, I myself got something out of it that I didn’t even quite realize needing so badly: some physical, creative quality time and days spent far away from my ol’ keyboard and photo editing software.
I’ve been creating social media content for Hotel Katajanokka for quite a while now. Even though it’s sometimes a lot of work and concentrating on a thousand little details (which is not the easiest task with an ADD brain), I’ve loved it. The team members I work with are absolute superstars. I learn, I get inspired and even after failing to do something just right, I keep getting up and back at it again.
The Doors of Love are a great example of what I most love about them: I got the idea late one night, sent them a message saying something like “ok, an idea: a wall in the hotel courtyard with a loving Pride message, we’ll call it the Wall of Love or something! Yes?!” Their reply was simply something along the lines of “Do it, we’ll cover the cost.”
So there I was, wondering how the hell was I supposed to get a mural set up at a historic, protected location without altering anything on their own walls and the old prison grounds. “I need a carpenter. How do I find a carpenter?”
It’s not often one needs a carpenter, but there I was
After a little thinking, I realized I have a lot of connections in the movie industry and tadah, that means, also connections to set decorators and production designers. I instantly messaged my fellow team members at Blockbusters Gang. Within minutes, I was given the phone number of Katri Ilona Koppanen, a Finnish set decorator and all around awesome gal.
For the next two weeks, we set aside afternoons and evenings to prepare the wall. First, we decided to go with old doors (because yo, recycling is good for the world, mmkay?), then went over to figure out the perfect placing for the doors.
It took some more emails and phonecalls to confirm that it was 100% ok to set up something like this on the city grounds — Hotel Katajanokka is an old prison hotel and the building and its surrounding walls are protected by some good ol’ museum laws — and it was! Hurray! The Doors of Love project was a go!
Finally, we got to actual building work. It took four people to move each door as they’re quite massive, then a lot of woodwork and two concrete roadblocks just to hold them safely upright.
I loved watching Katri work. I felt like I should just quit all the work I do at the computer and on social media, and go to a carpenter school. I wanted to learn everything about it right then and there.
When we finally got the doors up, it was time to paint. I was so excited! I had my paints, my paintbrushes and a sunny day to help dry the paint as quick as possible. I brought Einari with me on both days, so he got to enjoy some sunshine as well. (Like dog, like owner — we’re definitely both some serious summer creatures.)
Painting with “non-art” paints wasn’t quite as easy as I expected, and the design ended up being much more simple and bright than my original sketch, but I’m quite happy with the way it turned out.
And even though it doesn’t look that massive, I have to say it was a lot more effort and working hours than I originally expected. I was still fixing some lines and details at 10:30pm on the last day, finishing the whole thing just moments before we started raining that night.
Helsinki Pride with friends
Now that the doors are up and finished, I’m already thinking I want to do something bigger. More street art. More murals. Art, with important messages. I want to practice, become better at it, figure out the easiest way to create fancy stuff in massive size & just the right materials to do it.
But for now, we’ll go with the Doors of Love 💖
Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with some of my best friends and we’re heading down there to take some photos just before joining the Pride march in Helsinki. We already went with my best buddy Timo the other day and he posted some fun poses on his Instagram account. More of this please! 😂
Anyway, the doors are there for anyone to see & pose in photos with! Just make your way to Hotel Katajanokka (it’s a beautiful area to visit anyway) and share yours! And if you want the chance to win a three course dinner for two, check out their Instagram competition. YUM!!!
See you at Pride March tomorrow, yeah? ❤🧡💛💚💙💜
PS: For all the camera nerds: all the photos were taken with Canon EOS RP, the slightly more affordable version of their amazing new mirrorless camera bodies. The lens I used is the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM. And it’s so dreamy. I need this lens. Alas, I’m only test-driving it for now. Thank you Canon Finland for the opportunity!