Monday, 24 April 2017

NUART Aberdeen - Part 3, The Big Murals!

So time to recap what went down at the inaugural NUART Aberdeen and its a lot! First up some snaps from my brother who ventured out and explored Aberdeen with fresh eyes in search of the art works. Being a freelance graphic designer aka Reid Advertising & Design my brother knows how to get a good pic and kindly sent me some to fill the gaps in my own documentation. I've repaid him with the location of the secret Isaac Cordal and Jaune pieces. For this post I wanted to look at the larger scale works which appeared over the 10 day production period and festival weekend.

First up M-City with his oil tanker piece. When I first saw the finished murals I assumed the oil barrels were falling overboard, a comment on the ecological impact we have on the sea and marine life but the barrels are in fact ascending up, a fact told to me by Steve from the Brooklyn Street Art blog. Certainly a big statement piece and a conversation starter especially post NUART as people begin to look at Aberdeen in a new light, as a city which has a lot to offer beyond the new build offices and shopping malls. You can find the M-City wall on Harriet Street, just beside the Bon Accord car park exit.

Next up the fantastic Martin Whatson golfer, a nod to Scotland's history as the home of golf but also perhaps a comment on a local presidents golf resort? Martins work is apolitical and leaves the viewer to make their own mind up, sometimes its nice to just appreciate a giant golfer smashing some tags into the air! The golfer is located on the side of McKays shop on Queen Street.

The Robert Montgomery poem is very much a political piece and asks us to imagine a different kind of modernism, one that puts each person at the centre and fulfils their needs and desires. At a time when political apathy is rife we need to ask ourselves the question of what sort of world we want to live and who can help us achieve this. I believe Roberts piece is part of a longer poem which delves more into the current state of world politics so there may be more to come whether in the form of a flyer or perhaps some projections to complete the work. Roberts piece can be found at the start of Jopps Lane.

Just at the other end of Jopps lane you will find 2 walls by Australian artist Fintan Magee. With time pushing on I began to wonder if Fintan would stop at 1 wall or continue with the 2 and I'm chuffed to say he finished both walls just after the NUART opening weekend. I think people actually enjoyed seeing him at work with the help of Mary while we conducted the first street art tours, a chance for them to see behind the wizards curtain. Depicting people standing on broken down walls, the work is a strong reminder that we need to stand together and I think help each other. Its hard to believe just 2 weeks before these walls were just bare white blocks of nothing. You can find them just along Jopps Lane.

The Addfuel wall is a bit of a beast. Working long days in some pretty crappy weather, Diogo with his assistant Slav somehow managed to transform the never used projection screen at the side of Siberia bar into an iconic metaphor for Aberdeen. The ripped up tiles reveal more stunning tiles beneath, a metaphor that I can relate too having spent many years trying to engage with creativity and culture in Aberdeen, its always been here, you just had to look beyond the surface. With an incredible view from Union Bridge on Union Street, this piece is perfect for catching your eye as you walk past and shows how versatile Addfuels work is while still working in his own distinctive style. He also had time to produce a small collaborative piece with Jaune which you can find up on Langstane Place, just along from some of the Painted Doors.

Although not the biggest wall I wanted to put Alice Pasquini in with the big murals as she went big on the number of pieces she created. With her huge doors completed on Ship Row she set about producing a series of smaller works which are scattered from the Green along to the Tunnels and down Exchange Lane. Alice also completed a beautiful face piece on Belmont Street which reveals itself the closer you get to Seventeen. Armed only with my old ladder she managed to produce two large scale free hand murals which bring some much needed colour to the city centre. You can find all her pieces on Ship Row, Exchange Lane, The Tunnels, The Green (next to Mary Butterworths Painted Door) and Belmont Street.

Finally the big big one, the Herakut mural. For years the Green has been stop ended by the Indoor Market, a building which many see as an eye sore and in need to a refurbishment and I tend to agree, to a point. When you actually look at the fabric of the Market, the wood grained concrete blocks are actually quite beautiful, just look for the wood grain detail in the ridges. Of course many can remember the previous incarnation of the Market in granite form but in some way its removal has allowed us the gift of the Herakut mural. Finally the Green is capped off by what can only be an iconic mural, a true gift to the city from Hera & Akut. It reads "Don't hide... Because you are that light" and is a clear message to each of us to see the value in ourselves and in others. Its not often were told such things, at least not without an alterior motive. Although Akut had to fly home to get married, Hera spent some time exploring the city and was able to produce a number of small scale works, one a collab with a local painter Charlie to compliment the big mural with children and unicorns located just off the Green. Further down on the side of Sopranos she produced two more pieces side by side (not pictured) a seagull boy just down on Riverside Drive and a really special Seagull girl over at Nigg bay.

All of the pieces, in all their different shapes and sizes are a gift to the city and one's which people have really embraced and will hopefully cherish and look after. Its been incredible to see these artists at work and to see just how much blood, sweat and tears goes into producing these large scale works. But big isn't always best as you'll see in my next post covering the smaller interventions and pieces which have graced our city over the past few weeks but really, I love em all!