Nuart Aberdeen - Production Week

As the dust settles on the third instalment of Nuart Aberdeen, we think it best to take a minute to reflect on what has been a momentous week, filled with some incredible moments and that’s before the graffiti grannies started tagging their wall!



For the past 3 years Nuart has descended on Aberdeen, bringing together a special group of people both artists and production crew who proceed to work night and day to make sure the art works are finished on time. Where artists like Dotmasters will happily plough ahead leaving a trail of stencils in his wake, others rely on the expertise and skills of our production team to help them realise their vision. And with numerous big scale productions this year it meant all hands on deck for the week long adventure that would see 11 large scale works created along with countless smaller interventions which quite literally, changed the city.

Of course we all know that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better and quality over quantity rings true but this year we found a good balance between the two. Having worked with some of the (now) biggest names in street art, we have an incredible network of artist’s who are producing thought provoking and captivating work and Aberdeen is the perfect canvas for them to produce bold and exciting new pieces to showcase their talents. But its not all plain sailing. Behind closed doors hundreds of hours have gone into securing walls for the artists and making sure that everything is in place before we even pick up a paint brush. It’s a key component to the production and one we’d be lost without.



As crews started to prep the walls numerous passersby would stop to ask if its for Nuart, a good sign that we’ve made it into the public consciousness and the festival is creating something that people know and recognise. In fact some of the team even got their photos taken as the public assumed them to be the artists, although many of them are artists in their own right but that’s a story for another post. Wall permissions were granted, white walls became blue, wall permissions were revoked before new walls were given permission and most of the artists made their flights first time around, landing safe and sound in an unusually mild weathered Aberdeen. Sun in the North East is a truly magical thing and casts the Granite City in a very different light and we love it.



Off the bat SmugOne put in the hours prepping his massive wall, conscious of the scale and the enthusiasm of Aberdonians for his murals, he didn’t want to dissapoint. HUSH quietly worked up his stunning piece on St Andrew Street while just down the lane the Dotmaster master made a start on the wallpaper background for his big wall. While some went straight to work others took their time with painter Axel Void exploring the city with Mary (Painted Doors Abdn) and looking to Aberdeen’s iconic history, mining numerous books and photographs for inspiration before settling on his final plan. Some productions saw a huge effort from the crew and volunteers whilst others (like Julio) saw the artist head out on their own, happily painting behind wire fences and down crooked lanes. Indeed Hama Woods got straight to work on her piece on Crooked Lane using giant 3 meter by 2 meter stencils to construct a new Leopard for the city, an animal embedded in its history along with Unicorns and dragons. Ok, maybe not dragons.



Even the brutalist high rises at Virginia Court proved inspirational with EVOL making a new stencil specifically for Aberdeen thanks to the help of Peacocks Digi Lab. A lost bag in Manchester almost scuppered Ememem’s plans but local artist Shelagh came to the rescue, and not for the first time on a Nuart production. But for every problem we found solutions and thankfully Helen, Anders and Ben managed to finish up their productions with a little time to spare. And the illusive VHILS and his team we’re in and out before anyone even knew but the legacy of their piece will hopefully shine a light on some important Aberdonian history!

The residents showed their generosity with Jan Vormann receiving an abundance of Lego for his Dispatchwork project despite only doing a call out a few weeks ago. Jan arrived one hand down, a potentially problematic handicap but one he overcame thanks to the help of Andrew, another local artist and Lego enthusiast who diligently worked throughout the week both with Jan and on the re installation of Carrie Reichardt’s ‘Everyday Heroes‘ piece.  With many night time productions our artists and crew were met with hot cups of tea from neighbours who looked on as the murals took shape. Some even offered to help when generators proved problematic, where technology failed us, people picked up the slack and came through in abundance with many of the artists speaking of the new friends they made during their stay. Truly the people of Aberdeen have shown a real spirit and heartiness for Nuart that’s left many artists recounting it as one of their best painting experiences ever.



Although we faced a few challenges, the artworks we’re all finished on time and record numbers of people turned out for the opening weekend and walking tours. Our Nuart Plus conference welcomed some fantastic guest speakers who also used Aberdeen as a jumping off point, looking at the history of areas like the Denburn and Union Terrace Gardens and tracing new lines, new narratives about the city which is exactly what we’d hoped. The universal nature and unifying power of street art is proving that even a remote city like Aberdeen can be so much more than just the sum of its parts and much more than just a blank canvas, in fact the city is full of creative voices and the more embedded art becomes in the city the louder those voices get. That can only be a good thing and Nuart is just one of many but we’re honoured to be among them.



To everyone who helped make Nuart Aberdeen run smoothly, a MASSIVE thank you!

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