In the last year Aberdeen Art Gallery has put a lot of effort into opening their doors for a host of After Hours events, tying in with current exhibitions and adding a bit of magic to what can sometimes be a stuffy experience. And thats not due to a lack of great art or exhibitions but because of the look some older staff memebers have given me for walking in with a skateboard. Being 32 and being asked to "leave your skateboard behind the counter please" is suggesting that I dont have enough self control to not storm around the gallery knocking over old grannies and children while drawing on the priceless artworks! And for anyone who thinks skateboarding is a waste of time you might want to read about how it shaped and influenced some of the greatest cultural icons of the 21st Century like Shepard Fairey, Mark Gonzales, film maker extrodinaire Spike Jonze and pretty much all of the artists in Beautiful Losers.
So when they announced they would be hosting one final day of events before the gallery closed for a 2 year renovation I figured hey, maybe this is the time for me to skate around the gallery since thats what they expect of me! But despite sending a nice email to the staff concerns were raised by the powers that be about Health & Safety issues, especially with the huge numbers of people expected to visit the gallery for its final soiree. Also the fact they would be allowing people to draw on the walls meant that lots of children would be in attendance and I dont want to be the one who encourages them to pursue a life of fun and frolics! Then I had a brain wave, how about letting me in before the general public? Thankfully my plea fell on sympathetic ears and a time was given for me fulfill a personal dream of skateboarding inside the gallery. Although I never would it is something I've wanted to do ever since they said I couldn't but wouldn't have anyway. Ha!
With marbel and parquet floors throughout I decided it best to use the cruiser board, soft wheels would mean less vibration and no damage. Also I was required to wear a helmet which wasn't ideal but stick a go pro on it and hey, you've got some fun footage of an empty Aberdeen Art Gallery! Well almost. There were a few bodies finishing up installing some interactive cameras but I was mostly left to roll around to my hearts content. And I have to say being able to do a full lap around the top floor gallery spaces with a few big pushes at the start was a pretty awesome experience. And when the time came to put the skateboard away I kept filming to try and capture a little bit of the atmosphere on the final day. I think everyone who stepped through the door had a fun experience whether they made paper boats and floated them in the fountain or simply wrote something on the wall.
Its a shame that the gallery had just recently taken steps to open its doors to a wider audience with the After Hours events which seemed hugely popular and now we have 2 years to wait before we can set foot back in side that beautiful space. However the team from AAGM will be working to keep up the good work with various workshops and activities taking place across a range of venues including the Maratime Musuem and the Tolbooth Museum. Various artworks from their collection will be on show in gallerys across the UK aswell. To keep up to speed with the refurb and general happenings give the AAGM Facebook page a like and get your skateboards ready for a four wheeled riot in 2017.
Massive thanks to the staff for letting me in to break the rules and for a fun filled day!