Another hectic month but lots of great things happening so here's my round up of whats been happening and whats coming up!
Local skateboard company Doric Skateboards have just celebrated their 1st year in business, a year that's seen a dream become a reality for founder Gary Kemp and one that's helped add a bit of community spirit that I think has been missing from the Aberdeen skate scene. As Gary has grown in confidence so has his output as he continues to promote Aberdeen and also noting the importance of the cities creative community. His first collab series with artist Honk went down a treat and now he's teamed up with designer extraordinaire Gabi Reith aka Small Stories. Riffing off the classic John Rattray photo where he's doing an impossible looking wall ride next to graffiti "Adeen thugs kill all visiting fans" Gabi has switched things up and added a more positive spin as a skater drops in on a giant beard. Decks have been selling fast so if you're looking to cop one (click here to purchase) you'd better get in quick, perfect for sidewalk surfing or as a wall hanger! Big ups to Doric and the crew!
/KəˈKUːN/ is a new studio space set up by myself and my partner Mary Butterworth. All though its little more than a table and some chairs we do hope to start opening up the space to local creatives with a view to providing space to make, show or just hang out. I've often thought art spaces are made not by the people who occupy them but by the people who come into them so its really important for us to be open and welcoming to people. Of course we need to find our feet first but I'm hopeful that in the next month or so well have something to show for our efforts up to this point and if you have an idea for a show or need space for a project then feel free to get in touch and well see what we can do! You can keep up to date via our instagram page here.
I'm still on a slight come down from Nuart Aberdeen although I learned some valuable lessons from last years festival its still far too easy to burn out when working on such a large project. As someone said to me earlier "its only paint on walls" I think the public reaction and engagement highlights just how much more is involved. From the international artists at the top of the street art game to academics, writers, bloggers and of course the Aberdeen artists who helped and assisted with so many of the art works, its a huge undertaking and one that hopefully continues to engage people and opens them up to new forms of creativity. As part of this years festival we saw the return of Nipper and his 'Mission Directives' project where he places clips and boards on the streets, adorned with artworks, poems, drawings and small instruction cards designed to help the finder break out of the monotony of their daily lives.
As Nuart has begun to seep into the local consciousness so it also aims to engage with the local creative community and 'Mission Directives' and the Riso Workshops are the next steps. Teaming up with Peacock Visual Arts, the riso workshops combine the awesome printing powers and expertise of Peacocks with every day people who wish to create a print which will then be put up on the Nipper boards. Participants will be left with their own copies which they can give away, sell or place on the streets. There's something quite fulfilling about placing art on the streets for people to find, escaping the dilemma of pricing and galleries, instead creating a simple transaction where if you find something, hopefuly you can replace it with something you've made! The workshops will be continuing every Thursday and Saturday but booking is essential (sign up for workshops here) and well be taking open submissions for the project at the Worm space on the Castlegate so pop in with your art and well fill the streets!
At the tail end of last year I met up with local podcaster Ika of Ceative Me Podcast. Our initial chat about culture in Aberdeen spurred him on to set up the podcast which looks to explore and highlight culture in the city, from all corners of the creative spectrum. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ika on mic to chat about Aberdeen and the changes we've seen in the city over the past 10 years since I started this blog and about the numerous projects, events and festivals that have appeared to brighten up and highlight the creativity that exists in Aberdeen along with the numerous underground collectives and artists that pushed me to start writing in the first place. With the return of the Art Gallery and more visibility of art in the city I think Aberdeen, as a city is on the up but its a collective effort and requires us all working together to engage those on the fringes as well as those who are in the know! You can check out my episode here and be sure to check out the full list here.
Painted Doors has kicked off for its third year running, placing Aberdeen artists and creatives on the streets and pushing their work into the public realm. Local artist and designer Laura Bremner aka Juniper Press is first up with her beautiful 'Song Bird' design. Located next to the bridge on Correction Wynd, her door is filled with intricate detail and had many a passer by stopping to admire her work and attention to detail. Corvid Eyes aka Jenny Hood also created a new piece for the project, this time in the form of a collage paste up created just along from The Tunnels. Both pieces have attracted a fair amount of attention and rightly so as our artists have been overlooked for too long and Painted Doors is the perfect remedy! Catch up on the latest from the project via their facebook page.
'Set The Scope' is a new exhibition from Anatomy Rooms founder Jim Ewen and forms part of the organisations 'Underpinning' programme. Part installation, part painting show, 'Set The Scope' is currently on show at the mini gallery space located along the corridor as you enter the spaces. With a wealth of talent beavering away in their studios its great to see the fruition of their labours being displayed. Of course with Jim its about more than putting pictures on walls and has opted to refit the mini gallery to make it more in line with his vision, an attempt to create an atmosphere or a sense of a different time and place. Its a cracking wee show and will be open to the public from 4 - 7pm tomorrow (Friday 20th April) with more dates to be announced on their facebook page.
'Pale Blue Dot' is a new group exhibition from CAP (Contemporary Art Practice) students at Grays School of Art. Opting to branch out from the hallways of Grays, the students will be setting up and displaying their pre degree show work at Spin on Littlejoh Street, also this Friday. So for those who wish to make an evening of it why not pop along to see Jim's show before popping along to Spin to see what the art students have been up to. And if the weather is nice maybe you could even bring some of your own mini works and put them up in the Nipper clips dotted around town. You can find full details about the show and the artists on their facebook event here.
I've been inundated with invites to events like the one above after delivering a short presentation to students at Grays about "Life after art school". Although my confidence in public speaking has grown immensely over the past year with the Nuart Aberdeen walking tours, I suddenly felt uneasy as students began to pour into the large lecture theatre. Thankfully Vivian Ross-Smith decided to speak first and delivered an excellent talk about her own art practice and journey since leaving Grays. She highlighted the importance of having an online presence, the ability to meet and connect with people and how it can manifest in real world opportunities. She also spoke about working in a remote location and how its no longer a barrier to being a creative and to having a fulfilling career, Glasgow aint all its cracked up to be!
Of course following Vivian only added to my own feeling of dread but as I intended to tell the students they need to push their work out there its only right I should be able to stand up and do it myself. Even after 10 years of Mood of Collapse its difficult to figure out how far it reaches and who's paying attention. Likes and shares do pay off but its real engagement that's the key, sometimes that can come from a computer screen but sometimes you have to be out on the ground, speaking to people and making them feel included in your projects, if you can do that then we'll all win!
As always there's more going on that I could hope to cover including Catherine Ross Graduate in Residence show over at Grays School of Art and the Hatch pop up Zine Fest taking place at Six Degrees North this Saturday. The sun will be out and so am I. Enjoy!