Skip to main content

Street Art Aberdeen!

2017 is the year that street art came to town! We we're treated in 2016 by UV ARTS and their 'Release the Pressure' festival which brought an incredible array of top graffiti writers and artists from across Europe and Painted Doors has helped get artists out of the studio and onto the streets and Nuart has put Aberdeen on the street art world map. But what about all the graffiti and street art that came before and who's putting up work on the streets now?

Well I'm hoping Street Art Aberdeen can help answer both questions. For the past 10 years and a bit before that I've been documenting graffiti and tags in the granite city along with numerous street art projects from artists like Craig Barrowman and of course my own adventures with stencils and spray paint. Although less active the past few years I've still been snapping away and despite having the blog as a focal point many of my pictures have sat on hard drives unseen. This was a conscious decision as I never wanted mood of collapse to be a graffiti or street art blog but also I didn't have access to the stories behind the tags and throw ups. And I don't think you necessarily need to but I want to look at the authentic experience, what drives people like Slave and Devo to paint, the adventures they've had and the unique history that goes with it. What connects 1970's New York street kids with graffers in Aberdeen in 2017? I also want to try and unpack some of the nuances of what is graffiti, what is street art and where do they cross over.

There's a lot of questions and I certainly don't have all the answers but its something to investigate. After all anyone can start an instagram account, photograph a bunch of tags and hash tag the hell out of it but I want to join the dots, connecting the artwork to the artists (where it wont get them into trouble). Despite Nuart making Aberdeen a graffiti friendly city you'll soon find out its not when you're caught by a local cop for spraying something up. But its street art? Yeah nah, you'll still get lifted. In the last 6 months a slew of new artists have emerged with some travelling from down south and a few older names taking up the gauntlet so it makes for interesting viewing, especially as everyone is on social media, something I wouldn't have dared to do ten years ago but my focus wasn't on trying to get known but to create those moments of interaction with the public that make street art what it is, the same thing that would make me stop and photograph every little tag I see. 

On a more positive note there is a feeling of a new scene emerging as people realise the power in street art and there's certainly a huge fan base for it. Also with a new legal wall space beside The Tunnels it seems like a good time to start educating people on the history of both street art and graffiti and its a history that runs deep in the gray city. So I want to work on supporting that whether its providing a platform for artists to share work, for local instagrammers to share their finds and to build something a bit more solid than just a quest for likes and follows. And I have no ownership or control over what street art is for our city. The whole point is that anyone can create something, paint something or paste something in the street and if others feel like they can shed some light on street art in Aberdeen then go for it. But I will say, Fakesy already hit Aberdeen in 2007, April 1st to be exact so we don't need another knock off Banksy and certainly not that pink bear that keeps popping up on my insta feed!

Its still in the early stages at the moment but I have produced the first Street Art Aberdeen zine which covers almost 20 years of street art, 10 copies of which I gave out at Nuart in Stavanger with another 5 test copies going out in various locations in Aberdeen (Victoria Road, Exchange Lane and Rosemount so far). I'm planning a proper print run in the new year and will be setting up a new webshop as part of this blog, something I've wanted to do for a long time. 

So that's it, a new feed to follow and hopefuly a handy insight into what goes down while everyone is out getting pissed on Friday night. Least that's when I was most active, I prefer being out in the day time now, it feels safer. 

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 2018 - Production Week Part 1!

Its a month since Nuart Aberdeen unveiled the new additions to the cities mural and street art collection and its been great to see the public reaction. As with last years festival Nuart attracts a lot of attention and when you consider the level of work that goes into pulling off a festival of this scale its well deserved. Of course its been a great eye opener to the work that friends Sally & Claire have put into organising Look Again Festival which will be kicking off again in June. Of course its always a team effort and I love the Nuart approach which is that everyone plays a part from artist to helper and its only through this group effort that they can do what they do. And seeing behind the wizards curtain I can vouch for that!

I'll be forever grateful to Nuart for bringing these artists and works to Aberdeen, literally changing the face of the city and helping to make it a destination for street art fans. For me personally, Nuart has not only given me insight into the wor…

'Markings' by Jo Mcintosh at Parx Cafe!

'Markings' is the current show on display at Parx Cafe in Aberdeen's West End. Located just off Rubislaw Terrace. 'Markings' showcases the work of print maker and book maker Jo Mcintosh and features a lovely selection of work from editioned screen prints to hand stiched accordion style paper books. Although Aberdeen isn't short of galleries it's quite nice to be able to grab something fine for lunch while checking out what's on the walls. Its probably one of the things I miss the most about the EARL of Sandwich, that and the fact they gave me a panini tab!

Parx Cafe has been a regular spot to check out new artists and its refreshing to find an artist like Jo who's got an extensive background in the arts and I'm only just discovering her work now. From her degree in fashion design to running creative workshops and now in her current capacity as a lecturer, Jo has certainly been carving out a unique style and approach to her art. Although her work …

'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…

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…