Skip to main content

26 Collective City of Culture 2017 Mural!


Got to admit it was rather strange to be standing in the old One Up shop minus everything that made it such a special place. Instead it contains a few desks, some shelves and a selection of posters for up coming events in Aberdeen. If you hadn't heard the space is being used by the Aberdeen 2017 City of Culture bid team as their HQ.

When I first heard about this I thought it seemed like a bit of a slap to the previous occupants who in their own way were a cultural hub for the city although not enough to stay in business sadly. But there's no point in making bones about what used to be as space is precious, especially in a city like Aberdeen where oil prices and greed have created a rental economy which can only be matched by London for its ridiculousness! And this is a major problem in a city with such a rich artistic culture, the lack of affordable studio space. Wasps seems to have a waiting list as long as your arm and is occupied by corpses who never seem to see the light of day or people who could probably use the 3 spare rooms in their West End mansions as studios but that wouldn't be as cool. 

Some how Jim & Craig managed to find a space which met our needs at the time and so we banded together, a group of like minded strangers and started 26 Collective Studios. Over time the collective idea took off and through a wide range of events we managed to establish ourselves as a group, bridging the gap a little bit but with very limited space. And even the space we do have has been used for the better of the common artist with exhibitions by Mark Rennie and the 4 month corridor Mural Project to name a few.

And it feels like some of the hard work and sweat has paid off as the collective were invited to paint the first ever Aberdeen 2017 mural. The actual painting took place on Saturday and was based around a design by newest collective member Chris. It was a group effort though with everyone chipping in from the layout of masking tape to the actual painting of the window, apart from me, I did very little but I did take some snaps!

But it turned out really good and its had a profound effect on my outlook towards the City of Culture bid and what it stands for. Initially I was going to write a post a few weeks back about what Aberdeen needs to be a viable cultural city and why this will never happen. I guess the apathy got to me for a minute. But after reading the initial aims outlined by the Culture bid, more studio space, gallery space, events, engagement etc, all good things and some key issues which need to be addressed, hopefully it will benefit the wider creative community as apposed to those who already have studios and opportunities. 

So make sure you pop past next time your in town, have a chat, find out what they are up too and why not ask what you can do too as I believe it will be the grass roots artists and collectives who can win this thing!

Popular posts from this blog

Painted Doors 2017 - Year 2 Recap!

It's been a busy old year and I for one cannot wait for the christmas break. I'm lucky to be off til the new year and I'm hoping it'll be a chance to catch up and take stock. Its certainly been another busy year for art and culture in Aberdeen and especially putting art into the public realm. Nuart Aberdeen, Look Again Festival and Painted Doors both provided lots of incredible opportunities, and the artworks were nae bad as well. But with famous street artists and international design stars on the programme, what makes Painted Doors special?

Firstly all the artists are from or are based in Aberdeen. And many of them are new faces to me which is a good sign that we have a healthy creative scene in the city. I pride myself on getting out and meeting artists and creatives and spend a lot of time trying to help promote and shine a light on their work but even in the big village of Aberdeen where everyone knows everyone its fantastic to come across new faces. The artists fo…

NUART Aberdeen - Part 1, Production Week!

By now the sight of a giant yellow cherry picker at the Indoor Market is a common sight with hundreds of photos appearing across Instagram and Facebook. NUART Aberdeen kicked off last week with the arrival of our first artist Martin Whatson. I had the pleasure of seeing Martin at work up a cherry picker in Stavanger for NUART 2014, a sight that definitely makes you stop and stare. Having initially met team NUART on their first few visits to Aberdeen I'd offered to help in any way I could and was given the role of artist host. I would be meeting them at the hotel, showing them around and hopefully giving them a little insight into our fair city.

So on a sunny Wednesday we headed to airport to meet the infamous Martin Whatson. Being the first to arrive I was a little unsure what to expect, after all I've been a huge fan of street art for 10+ years and to be honest the whole concept of NUART in Aberdeen has been blowing my mind for months. So when this tall blonde Norwegian appear…

Painted Doors Aberdeen Project Recap!

With spring upon us new artists will be added to the painted doors line up and well have a fine selection of large scale walls by the NUART Aberdeen which is kicking off tomorrow with a host of international talents. I wanted to share all of the completed doors to date and shine a bit more light on the door artists, collating them all before part 2 kicks off. Already the doors have had a big impact on local business and the people who frequent them such as Contour Café and Cafe52 on the Green. With a clear view of Katie Guthrie and Cosmic Nuggets doors, Contour is the perfect spot to get some lunch and a perfect view.
With the doors stretching from just off the Green to the far end of Langstane Place you can have yourself a nice little walk along the back streets, avoiding the bustle of Union Street. Its a nice way to connect up some Aberdeen's more overlooked areas and really conveys for me what art can do, in making us look at our surroundings a little differently and seeing the …

'Darkness Can't Exist In The Light' by Jo Muir at The Anatomy Rooms!

If you've been in town recently then you'll certainly have seen the banners and posters proclaiming "Art is the new Oil" although I think its less a proclamation as it is a question. The poster is part of a campaign by Citymoves Dance Agency to promote their 3 week festival of dance which finished a few weeks back. Now partner organisation with The Anatomy Rooms (Citymoves have taken on the large open plan dissection rooms) they aim to bring contemporary dance to the forefront of Aberdeens cultural offering. I'm sad to say I couldn't make it the various events but did get a look at Jo Muir's exhibition, organised to coincide with the festival.

Jo is one of the numerous artists based in the Anatomy Rooms studios and has spent the last 12 months hiding from day light and working out her ideas. She was finally ready to present a new body of work which seemed like a perfect fit with Dance Live and so over the course of 3 weekends the show was open to the publi…

'Past, Present And Future Subversions' by Dundee Print Collective!

If you go down to Dundee today you're in for a big surprise! And its not a teddy bears picnic. To say Dundee is a city on the up would be a slight understatement but its also not entirely true. You see Dundee has been up for a while, at least in my view with its world class arts centre The DCA complete with café, bar, cinema and screen printing facilities, the fantastic art school Duncan of Jordanstone (still one of the best degree shows I've been too) and the benefits of affordable space which has helped numerous artists and collectives thrive and led to great intiatives like Creative Dundee.

Last year some friends put me onto Dundee Print Collective. Made up from a group of artists and paying members, their aim is simple, to promote print making and making it accessible for everyone. Founded in 2014 the group has held numerous shows and been part of a huge exchange event which saw their work travel to China. DPC have consistently pushed their mandate and a quick scrawl throug…