I wasn't too sure about these Wild Dolphins if I'm honest. And it wasn't anything against the artists involved or the ideas behind the project but more the concept of a twee art show, twee dolphins dotted about with pretty pictures on them. Don't get me wrong water colour landscapes are nice and fine art paintings have their place but when the majority of the work you see is based on the traditional then things tend to become a little stale and this is often the problem with creativity in Aberdeen. The cutting edge, the new school is often holed up in grays or its drowing in the apathy of the city and its lack of space to create and share work and ideas. If you asked me what kind of art I like then it would probably fall into the big murals, clean graphics, bold lines, street art, graffiti, tags, gritty and off the beaten track kinda spectrum, work you can stumble upon which has some sincerity to it.
But I have been pleasantly suprised and have really enjoyed checking out a few of these Wild Dolphins. Its good to have the old cynic inside you slapped once in a while and these Dolphins have certainly done that! Walking into work and seeing the buried skeletons of saber toothed tigers every day has been a real treat, walking through the train station to see the swirling waves or the doric wonder up in Old Aberdeen, designed by Gabi Reith has really helped change my perspective. And even more so than seeing them myself is seeing the reactions of others, families turning it into a hunt, searching out each creation, hairy bikers rocking up, jumping off their bikes just to get a quick snap next to one of the beasts and people of all ages stopping and taking a minute to appreciate a piece of art. Anything which gets people in Aberdeen to engage with creativity is a good thing!
Its these reasons that have made this cynic a fan of the project and regardless of aesthetics you have to commend Aberdeen Inspired for delivering a project of this scale and for taking a chance on some new artists like Real Nice Collective and A Wooden Tree. You can check out more Dolphins via the Wild Dolphins Instagram and get a map of the different locations on the Wild Dolphins website.