This white and grey skurry appears rather plump as he waddles across the stone road in Aberdeen toward the cherry picker that holds Jasmine from Herakut aloft as she paints the new piece on the concave wall. Skurry is the Doric term for seagull, and Doric is a dialect of the North East of Scotland that thrives principally here in this seaside oil city of 230,000, so you’ll hear a few terms creeping into the sentences here and there.
Jaune plays with Elki Stencils’ Piper painted 13 ago in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nuart Aberdeen. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
There are plenty of skurries flying above and cawing and milling about these narrow streets. With their clean feathers and portly dispositions they are also looking a lot like a Sunday dinner, bellies round from a hearty diet of shellfish and other small sea creatures – and Doritos, according to a humorous story of theft you’ll hear here over a tall beer in a dark bar.
We’ve just arrived and it’s a cold and windy Passover/Easter week and nope, no bagpipes or kilts yet. Well, except for the one punk girl in a kilt-inspired skirt and black boots near Belmont Street walking past the former St Nicholas Congregational Church, now the home of booming nightclubs called Priory and Redemption over the last couple of years.
Jaune at work. Nuart Aberdeen. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Elsewhere we found a kilt on one of Street Artist Jaune’s miniature stencil workmen, newly sprayed at the foot of a larger 13 year old stencil of a traditional ‘piper’ by Scottish Street Artist Elki, who now does a lot of studio stencil work in Glasgow. This fresh collaboration is a metaphor for what is happening here with Nuart Aberdeen this week, say a number of the local art scenesters, including artist Jon Reid, who is touring us around on foot with his friend Justine and Evan Pricco from Juxtapoz.
Jon peppers his tour with plenty of local history and pointed commentary as we head up Castle Street (well named), past the Salvation Army citadel, glancing at the old clock tower, the courthouse tower, the Tolbooth Museum in a 17th century former jail with steep spiral staircases and tales of crime and punishment.
Isaac Cordal. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
He looks at the old Elki stencil of the bagpiper and says that its one of those Street Art pieces that somehow is taken care of, despite the rules of ephemerality one usually expects in the urban art game. “They’ve always preserved this one. There’ve been tags and stuff around it and you can see where its been whitewashed but they’ve always preserved it.”
For Jon, a tall young guy with a beard and strong voice who has been following and advocating the local art scene with his blog “Dancing in the Dark” for a number of years, seeing this new addition of Jaune’s signature workmen is a meaningful development, symbolic for the local artists scene and to street culture here. And Nuart is a part of it.
Hera from Herakut at work. Nuart Aberdeen. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Seeing it makes me quite proud, to see that Aberdeen has got this festival up and that people are embracing it – everybody can take something from it, the artists and yourselves and the local people,” he says as we walk a few more meters past the a large billboard that will be new Robert Montgomery piece for Nuart Aberdeen.
Only two words from the upcoming missive are visible so far, written in white block font on the upper left corner of the black rectangle.
Perhaps this is a most apt description for a this new festival that is inserting fresh artistic voices among the winding streets and the historic buildings of Aberdeen. Sort of like these teens you watch doing hardcore BMX bike tricks despite the cold April winds blowing here across the fortified base of the yet another ornate Flemish-Gothic granite behemoth from hundreds of years ago. The tricks and energy of the new generation brings the site alive on the street, startling and relevant in these raucous moments of change and upheaval.
Herakut. Process shot. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Julien De Casabianca. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Alice Pasquini. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nipper. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nipper. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martin Whatson. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
M-City. Process Shot. Nuart Aberdeen April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)