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Nuart Aberdeen 2017 Already Has Locals Saying “Haste Ye Back!”

Nuart Aberdeen 2017 Already Has Locals Saying “Haste Ye Back!”

The sky is still twilight blue above the streets of Aberdeen at 21:00 this time of year and as you walk the city’s edge on the beach of the North Sea the winds pick up with a chilly bluster. Of course, that’s just for this minute. In a half hour it may be a gentle warm caress, or you’ll be pelted with hail and sleet mercilessly. Locals like to say that this northern Scottish seaside city has 4 seasons in one day. During one Street Art tour that we gave for 350 Aberdeenians on the day before Easter, we cycled through those seasons, twice.

This is Nuart, the festival begun in Stavanger, Norway in 2001 by loveable bad boy and (some would argue) curatorial visionary Martyn Reed which invites Street Artists from around the world to partake in thoughtful aesthetic excursions on the street and in public space.

The cumulative success of Nuart’s indoor/outdoor programs is now well recorded and looked to as a model. Remarkably they have risen despite tensions that occur when commingling frameworks of illegality and institutional acceptance; including a relatively new academic rigor that is now investigating the family of practices called Urban Art, their absorption into the commercial market as contemporary art, the badass anti-establishment musings of jilted outcasts who want nothing of it, and a somewhat romantic notion of communicating with the public in a meaningful dialogue.

Jaune. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ah, but this is the bumpy, potholed, slimy street along which counter-culture becomes culture and the marginalized becomes the mainstream  producing a modicum of nausea for all involved. While not explicitly aiming for legitimacy on these fronts, the Nuart Festival has gradually metamorphosed into a standard by which some others are judged, with reason.

Now for the first time Nuart exports its hard won and uniquely prickly formula in a perhaps more reserved manner to this new, old city which lies 500 kilometers across the North Sea in Scotland.

This is the stirring, storied North Sea known globally for the black oil lurking beneath it, and the two cities of Stavanger and Aberdeen have both been impacted greatly by the plunge of world-wide petroleum prices since the end of the last decade; a downturn described by London’s Telegraph as “vicious”.  We may have stumbled upon evidence of this during one of our walking tours when we remarked on the large number of people there who were interested in seeing the new artworks and one woman cracked with some sarcasm, “that’s because none of us has jobs.”

Jaune. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And here we are with eleven international artists to ease the grayness of this historic and granite Gothic city by the sea where daffodils cover the meadow in Union Terrace Gardens and single malt whisky eases the sight of iron leg fetters in the 17th century prison museum called Tolbooth.

When it comes to Nuart Aberdeen the people whom we met are nearly exuberant in their responses, even awestruck by the appearance of this new art in their city. With the introduction of aerosol, brush paint, wheat-paste, stencils, miniature sculpture, and poetry to street walls, it is as if a hidden pent-up desire for art in the public sector has burst open, a geyser if you will.

“I think there are quite a lot of places now in Aberdeen that are quite plain. It’s like there are a lot of empty canvasses. It’s good to see something be done with them,” says Mark, who’s touring the new pieces through the streets with Julia, who’s originally from the capital Edinburgh. Map in hand, the couple appears to be about 30 and they say that while they’ve seen work like this in other cities, they’re glad to see something more youthful now appearing here in a historical seaport that boasts soaring, turreted and spired cathedrals and narrow stone streets.

Jaune. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’ve been to Leipzig lots of times and there’s lots of sides of buildings,” says Mark, “they’re similar in size to these, with lots of murals in the city center, and it really kind of brightens the place up, makes it a lot more lively.”

“Welcome to a city investing it its city and its culture,” says Councilor George Adam, the Lord Provost, a prestigious post and an ancient office with its roots in the 13th century. During a reception with other members of the Aberdeen City Council and the local business improvement district (BID) named “Aberdeen Inspired,” Mr. Adams says that he is excited by Nuart and has received a lot of positive feedback as well.

Add Fuel. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indeed, the reception from youth, middle aged and senior patrons at our 14 short-video film lecture and the sold-out screening of the premiere of “Finding Bansky” at the independent art theater Belmont Filmhouse was ardent, enthusiastic and full of inquiries afterward. The walking tours had more people than anyone had predicted, with a few people using canes and others pushed in strollers. It would appear that the worldwide Street Art phenomena had seemed frustratingly out of reach for some of the young people, who have been fascinated by it from afar. Seeing these works by international artists here in their city was like a jolt of electricity.

During an entertaining slide show by festival participant Julian De Casabianca at the Lecture Theatre at the Anatomy Museum Thursday night, the steeply angled seats held a full capacity crowd, with many sitting on the floor and steps. The somewhat inebriated and raucous artists and students in their twenties hooted and hollered and pounded on desks during the 50 minute lecture which included mobsters, murder, the Holocaust, stolen artworks, and Street Art – specifically the museum art images which De Casabianca has been wheat-pasting on public streets for all to see for the last decade or so called “The Outings Project.”

Add Fuel. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martin Reed’s curation of the program is wise and the selections are contextual from the perspective that Nuart Aberdeen 2017 presents an array of disciplines from a solid thoughtful selection of perspectives, each attached to the history of graffiti and Street Art from their unique evolution of practices – as well as to the culture of Aberdeen.

Germany’s Herakut dominates one concave wall of Aberdeen Market overlooking “The Green” with their improvisational blending of illustration style portraiture, textual flourish, and symbols germane to the city. De Casabianca chose images form the Aberdeen Art Gallery of two children – haunting in a narrow street known by local folklore for ghosts of children who were sold as slaves to America in previous centuries.

Belgium’s Jaune peppers doorways and electrical boxes with multi-layer stencils of fluorescent-vested municipal workers in humorous scenarios. These are partnered in scale by small grey-suited and somber businessmen by Spain’s Isaac Cordal, which are hidden before your eyes and camouflage into the daily city until you discover one standing on a ledge, balancing on an electrical line, or sitting atop a CCTV camera.

 

Robert Montgomery. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Norway’s Martin Whatson has perhaps the most obvious reference to the locality, with a golfing figure swiping into a plume of colorful graffiti tags. With Donald Trump’s golf course only minutes away, the piece raises an immediate association with a guy who is heartily disliked here. The Street Artist named Add Fuel create an enormous tile-patterned wall that refers to local motifs and decorative artisans on a wall that can be seen easily by pedestrians looking from Aberdeen’s Union Bridge the largest single-span granite arch in the world. Italy’s Alice Pasquini brings imagery of the harbor into her figurative pieces and Norway’s Nipper works directly with local artists to compile gifts of art posted on clipboards around the city.

This is not to say that Reed is running from possible controversial material or opinion: Poland stencilist M-City is without doubt critiquing the oil industry with his oil barrels flying through the sky and tankers in the sea, the UK poet Robert Montgomery’s piece addresses topics like the definition of modernism, race, and social equality, and Australia’s Fintan Magee’s very large mural diptych obliquely references rising sea levels and man made environmental degradation.

Martin Whatson pays an homage to graffiti writers and taggers, from whom much of today’s Street Art and mural festivals evolved. “Luckily we got one of the local guys who came past,” says Aberdeen photographer and expert art blogger Jon Reid, “He left a tag in the bottom right hand side. So at least he managed to get a bit of ‘local’ in as well.” Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In review of the successful event and the relatively young history of the Street Art movement as one that is continually in motion, a few points come to mind as worth mentioning: The first is the ongoing discussion of illegal graffiti and Street Art culture giving way to legal mural festivals that have as their aim some form of business improvement and/or gentrification in a city, particularly when a city previously persecuted and derided the organic and illegal artists who began the scene.

This situation is not specific to Aberdeen, but the concern probably will come up in conversations (including during panel discussions at Nuart) and at the very least it is an irony that art practices once reviled or verboten are now to some extent embraced as worthwhile because they can be economically advantageous. These are not direct relationships, but close ones certainly.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Similarly there have been a few so-called Street Art festivals in recent years where the primary driver is commercial brand-building and while they give opportunities to artists they somehow cheapen the dialogue between people. It is always ironic, if inevitable, when a subculture becomes more closely associated with mainstream culture, sometimes specifically because of its cache as being rebellious. The trick here would be to accommodate the activist voices in the program, and clearly Nuart aims to do so with panache.

An argument could be made that counters the quick-on-the-draw “selling out” charge that says true rebels are somehow abandoning their values by working for “the man”. From our perspective, we’re happy when artists are working, are treated fairly, and when people get to enjoy their work. Even in this second least affordable city in Scotland  where artist spaces are at a premium if not scarce altogether, it is a good development to see art on the walls outside and a public dialogue facilitated by art.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This mural initiative will invariably jump-start two outcomes. One will be a renewed interest in the zone in which the art appears, driving foot traffic and, if all goes according to plan, new business initiatives and increased interest in the arts in general.

Secondly, it will spur an uptick in locally grown Street Art. We already witnessed it mushrooming overnight on surfaces during the days we were in the city and were pleased to learn of many local artists who have been looking for opportunities for exposure in addition to this one and last years’ “Painted Doors” project, which was spearheaded by Aberdeen artist Mary Butterworth. As this local scene continues to coalesce in public space, one hopes that the city will challenge itself to find healthy and proactive ways to support this organic scene as well.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overall, the first year of Nuart Aberdeen has been hands-down successful by many standards, and talk of a 2018 program has already started popping up in discussions online and elsewhere. From what we could see and hear, the city is longing for more.

“We want you all back! You showed us what can be done!” says Dr. Fiona-Jane Brown, the author of “Hidden Aberdeen” and founder of Graft Theater Company in her comment on Facebook to the Nuart team.

“Haste ye back, loons and quinies!” says Morag Russell, another Facebook commenter as the Nuart artists, production team and assorted misfits say their final goodbyes in a posting.  The sentiment rings just as sweet at the song it comes from, like this version from Scotland’s legendary entertainer Andy Stewart.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fintan Magee. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jon Reid)

Fintan Magee. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jon Reid)

M-City. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca. Outings Project. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca. Outings Project. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. This is an interactive piece where the public is invited to use the stencil. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. And an enthusiastic street art fan is accepting the invitation. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The very supportive people of Aberdeen came out in huge numbers to all four of the official art tours. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. We began with pigeons…we must end with pigeons and spring love. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


We would like to express our gratitude for the professionalism and support of the Nuart Team, to all the volunteers whose work and dedication made our work more efficient and our stay a lot more pleasant, to the team at Aberdeen Inspired and to the people of Aberdeen for being such gracious and generous hosts, and to all the artists whose work we love and admire and for your inspiration and talent. Thank you. We hope to meet again next year.

For more information on Nuart Aberdeen click HERE.


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Tours, Films, & Fight Night : Nuart x Aberdeen x BSA Dispatch 3

Tours, Films, & Fight Night : Nuart x Aberdeen x BSA Dispatch 3

“I have two questions,” said one smartly sweatered and coiffed lady of a certain age. She had grabbed an elbow as we waded through the 350-person tour that we were leading through Aberdeen streets with Jon Reid. “Who gave you all permission to paint your pictures on these walls?” she asked. “And number two: When and where did this whole movement begin?”

Martin Whatson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Those seemed like relatively easy to answer questions, and they would have been if a small blue car didn’t start honking it’s little insistent horn at us, seeing as we were standing in the middle of the road with Mrs. Siddens. As it turns out, Mrs. Siddens didn’t just have two questions. She had 162.

But that is to be expected here in Aberdeen right now as Nuart has more or less popped open the magic Street Art lamp and the lively spirits are swirling up Jopps Lane camera-in-hand behind parking lots and mechanic shops, and other streets that locals rarely explore.

So here’s an aspect of the scene that we don’t interact with too much – the completely gob-smacked art fan who can’t believe their luck to be regaled with new art and artists. The big cities that have a history with graffiti and, later, street art – or just the plastic arts in general, are often blasé when encountering a new addition to the street, so easily spoiled us humans are.

Jaune. Need we say more? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But here in Aberdeen – today it looked like there had been such a pent-up desire for any kind of public visual expression of art in the streets that it erupted inside the bottle and verily foamed and frothed out to these historied brick streets.– Like a top secret camera-armed terrorist cell suddenly activated; old, young, entire families… all fanned out across the streets to capture hundreds, thousands of images of M-City and Jaune and Nipper and Alice Mirachi and Martin Whatson and all of the crew.

Okay terrorist analogies are ham-handed, but its just like that!

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our BSA Film Friday LIVE event at the Belmont Filmhouse was a lot of fun, with engaged and aghast reactions to art interventions by artists like Kut Collective, Akay, and Vhils. Hawaiian born artist Hula’s portraits painted on ice rafts in the melting arctic cap amongst the Inuit people was the one that actually elicited gasps, with at least one woman crying.

Also Street Artist Fintan Magee left his wall early to come to the show and be our special guest presenter of his video about his mural made during his time with Syrian children who were confined to refugee camps in Amman, Jordan recently.

 

Add Fuel at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Also, have we mentioned the Fight Night? A Nuart tradition worth preserving, with artists and experts of all ilks convening as small teams on the stage to debate two sides of an issue. Friday night in the “Underground”, a basement pub with wood and soldiered steel stools and deliberately dark lighting, the assembled clump of fans Street Art and beer gathered around the stage to hear a debate that pitted large murals against small interventions.

Among the sparring, personal insults, laughter, and flashes of Juanes leg’s vexing and tantalizing the crowd beneath his new his new plaid kilt, somehow the female panelists on each team landed some of the strongest arguments. – Alice Pasquini for the small interventions and Jasmine from Herakut presented thoughtful reasoned rationale while the men bandied about jokes referring to size and an inexplicable reference to baby pandas by Evan Pricco turned into a running joke. Ultimately, the “small interventions” team prevailed by the thinnest of margins over large murals in during the final audience vote.

Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So the panel discussions, on-stage interviews with artists, kids programs, tours and movie screenings continue today, with us introducing the debut of “Saving Banksy” and Nuart’s James Finucane introducing the 2011 mini-doc about Nuart and it’s early beginnings.

In an exciting development, there are some surprise Street Art pieces going up in the areas that the new formal interventions are going, suggesting that a seeding of the soil is producing local fruit. It is spring after all. Time for a renewal. Slàinte mhath!

Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This Nipper interactive piece provides all the tools a passerby needs to be a Street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper an aspiring artist plays with interactive piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

At the Fight Club/Pub Debate last night from left to right. Jasmin from Herakut, Pedro Soares Nieves, Sasha Bogojev, Alice Pasquini, Jaune and Evan Prico debating the merits of large murals vs small scale interventions. Pedro’s team argued in favor of murals and Evan’s team argued in favor of small interventions. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Almost 350 people showed up for the first ever street art tour in Aberdeen battling cold, rain and hail, sun and clowds all at once!. Here they admired the piece by Martin Whatson.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The crowds in front of Fintan Magee’s work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The crowds in front of M-City’s mural. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

These intrepid art lovers who lasted throughout the entire tour were such troupers and they stood at the last mural by Add Fuel in the background braving the intense cold rain falling on them. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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BSA Film Friday Special Edition: Nuart x Aberdeen x BSA

BSA Film Friday Special Edition: Nuart x Aberdeen x BSA

Aabody* at the club got tipsy* last night in the Anatomy Rooms, a former academic space for students at University of Aberdeen that still has random skeletons and 3-D plastic diagrams of humans cut in half.

Julien de Casabianca. Outings Project. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anatomy Rooms is now an artist-run space with studios for “makers” and creatives of various disciplines and the Nuart Aberdeen event brought a central focus to Street Artist Julien De CasaBianca in the main lecture hall; we watched attentively pacing back and forth in front of us where bodies were probably dissected for lectures.

To many people’s delight, he gave a riveting and humorous lecture to the packed hall of rowdy desk-pounding bookish attendees, recounting his path of accidental entry into the Street Art scene via reluctant museum visits and classical painters – which alone would have been entertaining enough.

Jaune. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

However Professor Julian just happened to throw in additional colorful story-lines about Corsican mobsters, stenciled signs at concentration camps, jail time, accidental homicide, and an uncle’s planned suicide that was accompanied by an elaborate display of fireworks.

At the end of Julien’s barrage of 234 slides and the accompanying raucous applause, the rambunctious guests headed down the steps for the beer (2 pound donation), the loo, the Street Art Instagram projection show by Jon Reid, and the darkened DJ chill lounge which seemed to be playing slow jams from the 80s and 90s, encouraging art folk to gently sway their anatomies in close proximity to one another.

Also, murals.

Jaune, stencil artist who features city workers in his small pieces for Nuart Aberdeen, heralds the important contributions they labor over to make our cities and homes livable day after day after day. Just steps away from one of those new stencils with paintbrush in hand, we found this municipal worker maintaining the city’s streets with a coat of fresh paint. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

De CasaBianca’s “Outings Project” completed his second enormous installation of a thoughtful boy in a previously industrial passage over slippery rounded brick streets.

With all that wheat-paste splashed acrossed the wall in buckets there was a huge puddle of the white gooey stuff just waiting for at least one intrepid camera-happy Street Art hunter to evaluate carefully.

M-City. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

M-City put the final aerosol touches on his two walls, which are set at a 90 degree angle with one another along a tightly winding street that snakes among old factories with smokestacks and a parking garage that serves a nearby shopping district.

The images of oil barrels falling through the sky onto two oil tankers below and into the ocean have a direct relationship to the petroleum-fueled economy of  Aberdeen and we’ll need to get that full story from the Polish stencil machine and professor – We’ll get back to you on it.

Herakut. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jasmine was high on the lift making final adjustments to the Herakut mural that on Aberdeen Market that now commands a triangle of pedestrian activity while Falk, the second half of the German Street Art/fine art duo, was off getting married. Slacker.

Juane continued to find secret small locations to install his miniature workmen stencils while Isaac Cordal prepared a wall for a larger multi-terrace show of his morose and guilty businessmen to contemplate their existences upon.

Fintan Magee at work. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper, the Norwegian (Bergen) of generous spirit, worked with local artists and volunteers to create his glassine envelopes stuffed with artworks – which are then snapped onto clip-boards and hung around the city center. These missives are meant as encapsulated communications, with some containing directives to carry out activities, while others are simply a collection of collage, drawings, crafts from local artists, poets. He calls them #missiondirectives .

Fintan Magee at work. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This is Street Art as a most engaging act, a method of somewhat random communication that meets you at eye level and asks you to participate if you would like. While Cordal and a friend and Jaime played Jenga nervously at the breakfast table and the waitress brought a small iron skillet of eggs, tomato, sausage and bacon, (John) Nipper talked about one of the local artist contributor’s idea for the street missive that she was making contents for.

Nipper. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John says that she wanted to encourage the concept and practice of taking a creative journey, so she was thinking of buying a bus ticket to a favorite Scottish destination and putting it in the pack to be hung anonymously on the street.

Fintan Magee has been working on the first of two walls that will together form one complete story, with the assistance of local artist and public art curator Mary (check out “Painted Doors” here in Aberdeen) and her legs and knee-high boots are actually featured standing upon a boulder in the brand new mural.

Robert Montgomery. Process shot. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fintan tells us that he still has a lot of work to do, but he will be to stop work today by 1800 hrs so he can get over to our BSA Film Friday LIVE show tonight – we’re actually showing one of his videos among the 12 we have selected for the Belmont Filmhouse – Aberdeen’s foremost independent cinema. As our special guest tonight, Fintan is going to regale the audience about the genesis of the film and what he was doing in Amman, Jordan at the time.

So we are about to run out on the street and see as much as possible right now – but if you are in Aberdeen we’re really looking forward to meeting YOU tonight at BSA Film Friday LIVE! (see more information below).

If you got tickets to “Saving Banksy” which we’re introducing tomorrow, lucky you! It’s sold out the for largest theatre of their three screens. Aberdeen represent, yo!

Isaac Cordal. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Window dressing. Nuart Aberdeen  April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA Film Friday LIVE tonight at Belmont Filmhouse – more HERE.


*Aabody – Doric for everybody, or as J-Kwon says in that dope 2000’s jam “Tipsy” – “errrbody”.

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Nuart X Aberdeen x BSA: Dispatch 1

Nuart X Aberdeen x BSA: Dispatch 1

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.

“Modernism Modernism”

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)

 


 

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Nuart Aberdeen 2017: Full Roster of Artists Confirmed

Nuart Aberdeen 2017: Full Roster of Artists Confirmed

And then there were 11.

With yesterday’s official announcement that Norwegian artist Martin Whatson and Belgian artist Jaune will be participating this April at NUART / Aberdeen the full line up of artists has been announced. It’s 11 international artists from 10 different countries, sort of like a New York melting pot in Scotland over Easter Weekend. Nuart Aberdeen 2017, it’s on, and we’ll be there with you.

Here are some highlights of each artist courtesy the folks at Nuart.

“Leading the line up for Nuart Aberdeen is Scottish-born artist and Venice Biennale participant Robert Montgomery, whose text-based artworks come in the form of light installations, murals and temporary paste-ups.

Image courtesy of Nuart

Julien de Casabianca is founder of the global participatory art initiative Outings project, which embellishes the streets with portraits plucked from classical paintings. He’ll be raiding the archives and liberating characters from the prestigious collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

From BSA:

Julien De Casabianca, Angry Gods, and Hacking Disaster in Kathmandu

Image courtesy of Nuart

“Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehmann AKA HERAKUT will be making the trip to Scotland. Widely regarded as leading lights of the global street art movement, we can’t wait to see what these two get up to in The Granite City!”

From BSA:

Herakut In Paris With A Message for the Kids About Magic

Image courtesy of Nuart

“Portugese visual artist and illustrator Add Fuel is known for producing optical illusions with painstaking attention to detail, Add Fuel’s interventions hint at the history and heritage that lies beneath our cities. We couldn’t think of anyone better to dig below the surface of The Granite City!”

Image courtesy of Nuart

 Transferring his participatory art project, Mission Directives, from Stavanger to Aberdeen this Spring is Bergen-based artist Nipper. Through utopian ideals of sharing, creativity and citizen-led communication in public space, Mission Directives questions who has the power and authority to communicate messages and create meaning in our shared spaces.”

Image courtesy of Nuart

“Born in 1985 in Lismore, Australia but of Scottish descent, Fintan Magee is considered one of the world’s leading figurative street artists. Following his blockbuster ‘rorschach’ inspired mural for Nuart Festival 2016 we can’t wait to see what Fintan has up his sleeve for Nuart Aberdeen!

From BSA:

Fintan Magee in Rome and Rising Tides Around Your Knees

Image courtesy of Nuart

“M-City is an artist and lecturer at the Academy of Art in Szczecin, Poland. A long-time collaborator of Nuart, M-City is best-known for his large-scale, industrial-themed murals, which involve piecing together hundreds of carefully cut stencils to create a coherent imagined cityscape. Always a joy to work with and guaranteed never to disappoint, we can’t wait to let him loose on Aberdeen’s walls!”

From BSA:

M-City Meets the Commercial Buff in Mexico City

Image courtesy of Nuart

“Alice Pasquini is a multimedia artist from Rome whose affectionate street art explores the brighter side of human relationships. Encompassing murals, paintings, and illustrations which tell stories about various acts of kindness and love, Pasquini leads a new breed of female street artist bringing some much-needed femininity to our public spaces.”

From BSA:

Australian Italian Museum Honors Immigration With Alice Pasquini Mural on Façade

Image courtesy of Nuart

Leading our penultimate artist announcement is Spanish sculptor and interventionist Isaac Cordal, whose small-scale installations capture the humour and absurdity of human existence. At just 25cm tall and hidden in multiple locations throughout the city, little by little Cordal’s characters transform the urban environment in its natural habitat.”

From BSA:

Nuart Day 1: Isaac Cordal Installs His Preoccupied Little Businessmen

Social Isolation, Isaac Cordal, and Neighbors (Sasiedzi) in Łódź

Massive Installation by Isaac Cordal in Nantes “Follow The Leaders”

JAUNE

Celebrating the unsung heroes of our everyday lives is Jaune, a stencil artist and urban interventionist from Brussels. Sanitation workers (Jaune’s ex-profession) are the protagonists in his humorous installations and paintings, which playfully draw on the paradox between the visible and the invisible in our cities. Jaune’s participation comes courtesy of our good friends at The Crystal Ship festival in Ostend, Belgium.

Martin Whatson

Image courtesy of Nuart

Completing this year’s artist line-up is a Nuart favourite and one of Norway’s leading stencil artists, Martin Whatson. Cleverly combining the aesthetics of abstract graffiti and stencil art, Martin Whatson’s distinctive urban scenes have brought him worldwide acclaim and an international band of fans and followers. We are greatly looking forward to seeing how he responds to the unique environment of Aberdeen!

 

For more info go to:

Website: http://www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/nuartaberdeen

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nuartaberdeen

 

 

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Nuart 2016: ‘Post Street-Art’ and Our Changing Terminologies

Nuart 2016: ‘Post Street-Art’ and Our Changing Terminologies

For a considerable time now at BSA we’ve been discussing with authors, artists, academics, writers, historians, political scientists, sociologists, criminologists the topics of Street Art, graffiti, Urban Art, public art, and the milieu. Often considered is whether a piece or action is  illegal, legal, activist, aesthetic, mark-making, territory-marking, interventionist. With few exceptions, there are often exceptions when it comes to labeling works and the artists who make them.

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SPY. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

Perhaps with more emphasis than it merits, we regularly note that no point on our individual or societal timeline is static. The state of art and creative expression in the public sphere is one of continuous evolution along the continuum. From Villeglé and his ripping back of layers of street posters that revealed the colorful strata of public communications like a social scientist to Add Fuels’ surreal ripping back of the skin of buildings to reveal a decorative Trompe-l’œil Portuguese tiling, art of the streets has infinite through-lines that defy our ability to label them.

But we try.

Invariably, it pisses someone off. For the record, we’re okay with that.

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Henrik Uldalen. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

“Street Art” the term has had a number of definitions in common usage since at least the 1970s (probably earlier) that include things like handcrafts, jewelry, even the current ballyhoo, the mural. Today, because we’re all so much more enlightened and street-wise, we are convinced that no credible scholar of academia or the street would include a mural in the definition of Street Art, which must be illegal and (most likely) installed on-the-fly.

Recently Raphael Schacter made a claim to renaming a family of practices that moves beyond the confused state of labeling we are in to something with more clarity called “Intermural Art”. He says with his signature humor and cadence that “Street Art is a Period. Period.” – and that very soon, if not already, we are moving beyond that period.

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Jeff Gillette and Jaune collaboration. Pictured here is Jaune at work. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

Aside from the association that “intermural” has with both murals and with boys and girls playing dodge-ball in the school gymnasium (sorry that’s intramural), it somehow doesn’t capture a post Street Art period that is expanding to include so many practices and practitioners that it is altering things its path. But we get the point. Wait, did we just say “post Street Art”?

That’s what Martyn Reed at Nuart would like us to consider as a term that describes what he is illustrating with the curated installations this year for the festival in Norway. With a number of leaders of thought and letters doing some heavy lifting of street art antecedence and corollaries (and beer steins) at this annual festival over the last few years, it is with some careful consideration that he chooses his artists, and his terminology.

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Jeff Gillette . Jaune NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

According to the show description ‘Post-Street Art’, an inside exhibition that opened last Saturday and continues through October 16, is an expression that “has been adopted to describe artworks, artists and events that are “informed by” and “aware of” the strategies, forms and themes explored by Street Art but which couldn’t rightly be regarded as ‘Street Art’ or ‘Street Artists’ per se. The term could also be used to describe a new breed of studio practice-based street artist, whose interest in and knowledge of the contemporary art world often far supplants that of an engagement with the street.”

Yes and yes. Additionally, we have heard this studio-originated practice that is informed by street practice described as Urban Contemporary or more simply Urban Art. You may also wonder how the label intersects with Post Modern and Post-Graffiti, if at all. We will not turn over these little monsters to look at their stomachs just now. Instead, let’s see these new exclusive photos from Ian Cox and Tor Ståle Moen of some of the new installations at ‘Post-Street Art’ at Nuart 2016.

Participating artists include: Add Fuel (PT), Axel Void (ES), Eron (IT), Evol (DE), Fintan Magee (AU), Henrik Uldalen (NO), Hyuro (AR), Jaune (BE), Jeff Gillette (US), KennardPhillipps (UK), MTO (FR), Nipper (NO), Robert Montgomery (UK) and SpY (ES)

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Robert Montgomery. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Robert Montgomery. Process shot. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

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Evol and Add Fuel collaboration. Process shot. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

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Evol . Add Fuel. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Fintan Magee. Process shot. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Ian Cox)

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Fintan Magee. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Nipper. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © James Finucane)

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Nipper. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © James Finucane)

 

EXHIBITION – ‘POST STREET-ART’
11 September – 16 October 2016
Opening hours: Wed – Fri 12:00 – 17:00 / Sat – Sun 11:00 – 16:00
Tou Scene Beer Halls, Kvitsøygata 25, 4014 Stavanger

NUART-BSA-Banner-740-2016

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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.20.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.20.16

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The Street Art world was shaken this week by the announcement and group action by BLU and friends in Bologna buffing/chipping away his street pieces in reaction to the opening of a new show there Friday night that contained BLU works done on a derelict building owned by someone else.

The ironies are rampant when a city chases down vandals, sponsors graffiti/street art clean-up programs, and then heralds the exact same works in a formal museum show with good lighting, cocktails, elegant suits, a press conference, and invited guests. Aside from the various contingencies trying to hi-jack these events to put forth other agendas or establish their opinion as sacrosanct, the psychological and philosophical rifts have been self-evident long before this show and this astounding act of self-destruction.

We’re all wondering what is an amenable solution to interests that are by nature in conflict yet are so intertwined as to appear fused, and the list of questions to consider continues to grow. See our questions from a posting earlier in the week HERE.  Normally the press ignores these stories which we talk about regularly, but BLU mastered the PR game this week (and you know that serious money is involved) so it was in Le Monde, The Guardian, and ArtNet, among others. See some images from the opening and press conference are here.

Meanwhile the street can’t stop, won’t stop.

Here’s our our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Adam Fu, ATOMS, Butt Sup, El Sol 25, Fish With Braids, KEO Xmen, Knon, London Kaye, Nipper, Persue, Reed B More, Sean9Lugo, Scott Marsh, Self-Indulgence, SGNL, Skewville, Tara McPherson, The Yok & Sheryo and Zola.

Our top image: Reed B More. — Finding this handmade wire mobile hanging from electrical wires somewhere in Brooklyn made us very happy this week because; a. mobiles are cool, b. It’s hand made, one of a kind, and c. artists like Skewville and others were doing them at the turn of this century and we haven’t seen many lately. It is fashionable to bash muralism at the moment for usurping the spirit of Street Art, or some other silliness. It’s mucho mas dopetastic to just do good work and put it out there and let the hackneyed non-debate rage without you. We’re keeping our eyes open for small, often hidden, fresh, well placed, unexpected, unpredictable, original, one of a kind, non-derivative, non-hash-tagged pieces. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Speaking of Skewville…these new dogs have suddenly been flying in Brooklyn skies. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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It’s not just Pi. It’s octopi. London Kaye forever and ad infinitum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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London Kaye. Here is our guess with this installation. The graff by Knon was already on the wall and she decided to collaborate. What do you think of the results? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Butt Sup under a Pear. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SGNL (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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KEO Xmen on the other side… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tara McPherson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo in collaboration with El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Sol 25. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Popeye imagery pops up again. El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nipper in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © @toris64)

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Zola. An apt street visual representation of the polarity we’re dealing with today. Although there would probably need to be 98 more of the figure on the left to present a more accurate ratio, and 97 of them would be sleeping or watching reality TV and ESPN. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zola. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Speaking of celebrity culture, Sydney based muralist Scott Marsh often depicts recognizable music personas like James Brown and Biggie Smalls in his figurative works. This week he completed this intense love scene parody on the street. But this is evidently more than romance, it’s carnal.

“No one can love Kanye quite like Kanye,” says Marsh of the new piece on Zigi’s Wine & Cheese Bar in Teggs Lane, Chippendale. Wonder what music they are listening to?

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New mural of Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Detail. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

“I’m a big Kanye fan,” says Marsh. “He’s an incredible artist and a character and I like that. I was contacted by Lush’s manager to help find him a wall in Sydney. He painted a giant Kim Kardashian at the other end. It’s probably the least effort I have put into any mural – I painted it in four hours as a bit of a laugh. The response has been hilarious.”

 

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Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

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Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

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Fish With Braids updates Frida Kahlo on a purple van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Indulgence (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ATOMS. Adam Fu and Persue (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. SOHO. NYC. March 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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