Oct 062021
 

By Craig Chisholm.

True North continued to cement its reputation as one of Aberdeen’s musical highlights of the year with another excellent event that showcased an eclectic and varied bill of excellent music.

After taking a brief hiatus from crowds last year – the event was online instead – it was encouraging to see people back in the Music Hall, Lemon Tree and numerous smaller venues and enjoying live music once more.

The number of events is slightly stripped back this with less late-night shows and no shows at The Tivoli Theatre but what was missing in quantity was more than made up in quality.

The Lemon Tree is the venue for the opening Thursday night event – a triple bill featuring Lavender Lane, Edinburgh’s Swim School and the indie pop of headliners Peaness. Providing the perfect start to usher in the weekend.

Friday night provides an even more varied bill. Opening musical proceedings is Aberdonian Katie Mackie.

Sat behind a keyboard she provides a short set of soaring baroque, chamber-pop that features a cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Dirty Work’.

Scottish / Kenyan multi-instrumentalist and poet Beldina Odenyo performs under the moniker Heir of the Cursed. Tonight, she plucks on heavily reverbed guitar and her operatic, hypnotic voice is soothing, expansive, and ethereal.

Despite a light-hearted between song gripe about the cost of salad in Aberdeen, her set is calm and transgressive, taking the crowd to a higher spiritual and musical space.

Singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson is another rare talent.

Opening – rather boldly – with a dance, she picks up the more familiar cello for the remainder of her set.

Using a loop pedal she sounds like an entire band as opposed to one woman and an instrument.

Despite an unexpected power cut, Witter-Johnson delivers a strong, inspiring set that uplifts the audience.

Saturday night is the first of the Music Hall gigs.

Opening act Rachel Sermanni plays an intimate, minimalistic set. She somehow manages to make the cavernous Music Hall seem small and cosy, drawing the crowd into her private space.

A unique Scottish talent, she returns to The Lemon Tree in December.

Headliner John Grant is magnificent.
He cuts quite an imposing figure on stage – a large, hirsute bear of a man – but his voice is soothing but powerful.

Alternating between piano led torch songs and disco influenced bangers, he runs through a 100-minute set of dark humour, heartfelt confessionals, and unbridled joy. A stunning performance well deserving of the standing ovation at the end.

For those still looking to party into the night then the Lemon Tree is the place to be. Local rapper Ransom FA headlines an evening of beats, breaks and raps with support from DJ Home Alone, Bemz and Sean Focus.

Sunday night at True North is the traditional tribute night, curated and performed by a star performer.

This year, the performer is the talented Grammy Winner Corinne Bailey-Rae, and the subject of the tribute is the mercurial Stevie Wonder.

Looking radiant in a sparkly gold sequined dress, Bailey-Rae is every inch the superstar.

But this is not about her tonight, and she happily gives over the spotlight to guest vocalists such as Paix, Angus Munro, Jalen N’Gona and Little Acres.

And each more than hold their own and breathe new life in the songs of Stevie Wonder. The hits are all there – ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and ‘Don’t You Worry About Thing’ by Bailey-Rae are particular highlights – but there’s also plenty of deep cuts, forgotten classics and album tracks to keep the die hard Wonder fans happy.

The night – and the weekend – is brought down with a rousing, run through of Wonder’s classic ‘Superstition’ that has the crowd on their feet, hungry for more and ecstatic at the collective feeling of joy.

Yet again, True North has proved to be a success and a jewel in the crown of the Aberdeen Music Scene.

With next to no concerts in the last 18 months, it’s been a cathartic and joyful event, a light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel and credit is due to the organisers, the venues, and the performers for pulling it all together in such a short, potentially unpredictable time.

Here’s to True North 2022, long may it continue!

Sep 172021
 

Ayanna Witter-Johnson

By Craig Chisholm.

Aberdeen Performing Arts’ award-winning music festival, True North will return from 23-26 September for a weekend of live music and free events, boasting an inspirational and vibrant line up of shows and Fringe events at venues across the city.

True North will be based around the theme of Rise Up, celebrating freedom of expression, diversity and community as we prepare to re-open and welcome back audiences to the Music Hall, Lemon Tree and His Majesty’s Theatre for the first time since March 2020.

American singer songwriter and former Czars frontman John Grant will headline True North at the Music Hall on the Saturday evening.

John Grant

Described as ‘the misfit’s misfit’, Grant is too weird to be mainstream, too mainstream to be weird; too sad to be happy, too sharp not to crack a mordant joke about it.

The dolorous ace in his song-writing pack is to gauge impressionistic childhood experiences against their amplified adult consequences.

Rachel Sermanni

He will be supported by acclaimed Scottish performer Rachel Sermanni.

Grammy and MOBO award-winning star Corinne Bailey Rae will close the festival on Sunday with a specially curated concert at the Music Hall called “A Celebration of Stevie Wonder by Corinne Bailey Rae.”

The evening will see Corinne joined by special guests to perform the many legendary hits from the catalogue of Stevie Wonder songs in what promises to be an extraordinary evening of music.

.

With previous True North curated concerts celebrating the music of Neil Young, David Bowie and Kate Bush among others, this concert at True North has become a highlight of the festival and a firm favourite among audiences.

Headlining on Friday night at the Lemon Tree with a Night of New Voices is the soulful, eclectic Ayanna Witter-Johnson.  A singer, songwriter, cellist, composer, producer and arranger with phenomenal musical prowess, mesmerising vocals, uncompromising lyrics and mastery of the cello. Ayanna unapologetically imprints her unique musical signature into her music.  

Heir of the Cursed, Robyn Davidson and DJ Rebecca Vasmant complete the line-up.

Ransom FA

Aberdonian grime rapper Ransom FA will head up late night at the Lemon Tree on Saturday.  The fast-rising artist, was a contestant on the UK TV show, The Rap Game, where he battled other budding rappers for a record deal.  

Prior to the Rap Game, Ransom had already shared the stage with many of the biggest UK rappers, such as Skepta, Wiley, Mist, M Huncho to name only a few. He will be joined by Chef, Sean Focus and DJ HomeAlone.

Playing on Thursday 23 September and kicking off True North 2021 will be Peaness, who will be bringing their catchy, fuzzy, harmony-driven indie-pop songs about love, friendship, frustrations, Brexit and food waste to the Lemon Tree.

Formed in 2014 in Chester university digs, the trio have secured nationwide and international shows with bands such as The Beths, Kero Kero Bonito, The Cribs, We Are Scientists, The Big Moon and Dream Wife. They will be joined at the Lemon Tree by Swim School and Lavender Lane.

A spoken word event specially commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts and headed up by award winning poet and three-time slam champion Jo Gilbert will focus on the festival’s theme of Rise Up.

Four local spoken word artists will produce new work based around this theme and showcase their work at the Lemon Tree on Sunday in an event which promises to challenge and inspire in equal measure.

Fringe events are planned to take place in venues across the city over True North weekend and details will be announced shortly.

Ben Torrie, Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Director of Programming and Creative Projects said:

“We are thrilled to announce the lineup for True North 2021, which feels like a huge step in the return of live performance at our venues. It feels really good to be able to bring the festival to a live audience once again.

“It means a lot to us to be able to put this on for people in Aberdeen, and to shine a spotlight on so many talented performers and musicians is a privilege that has never been so important.

“The theme of this year’s festival is Rise Up. It’s a positive message about rising up to bring people together, marking the re-opening of our venues, and celebrating the power of music to help us stand up for the things we believe in. We could not be prouder of this festival at this time.”

Tickets for all True North events are available from www.aberdeenperformingarts.com

 

Nov 082017
 

With thanks to Roger White.

A prestigious North-East Scotland magazine of new writing and the visual arts, Pushing Out The Boat (POTB), is reminding young writers and artists in the North East and
beyond that they’ve got less than a month left to submit entries for their new online venture, ‘ePOTB’.

ePOTB will be the magazine’s first e-zine and will be devoted entirely to work by young people aged 12-17.

Like its parent magazine, ePOTB submissions will be subject to the same distinctive ‘blind selection’ process, which ensures that work is selected on merit alone.

Prize-winning author Juliet Lovering, chairing the ePOTB team, said:

“We know there’s a wealth of young writing and artistic talent out there but this is the first time we’ve given young people the chance to shine in their own publication. Three prizes of £50 are also on offer for the best contribution in the prose, poetry and art categories.”

The ePOTB team encourage anyone considering entering to read previous editions of the magazine, which are available on its website, to understand the variety of work accepted in years gone by.

Young writer Hannah Kunzlik, one of POTB’s previous contributors, said:

“I was published in POTB when I was 16 and it remains one of my proudest moments. Submitting a piece is something I would advise any young person to do with even a passing interest in writing or art. Apart from the creative fulfilment, it’s like gold dust on a CV for college or work.”

The call for submissions to ePOTB opened a month ago. Full details and registration are available at www.pushingouttheboat.co.uk.

The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2017 and the e-zine will be published on the Pushing Out The Boat website in Spring 2018.

Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of Nuart Aberdeen have made a ‘call for walls’ to identify city centre sites for new street art murals to be developed when the festival returns in 2018.
The international award-winning festival made its debut earlier this year and a team of globally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by producing powerful murals attracting large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

In anticipation of the festival returning next year, work is already underway to find prospective new walls to use next year and the festival project team are keen to hear from property owners and business that would like to be involved.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it has been truly transformational, attracting significant footfall over the summer months. 

“We are delighted that the festival will be coming back and the festival team has started work to identify prospective new walls in the city centre for street artists to use next year. I’d encourage property owners and businesses in the city centre who would like to be considered to contact us.

“Already we have noted interest from city centre businesses, however we want to maximise this opportunity to shape Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Held in the Norwegian city of Stavanger since 2001, and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“The artists, team and partners had an incredible first year in Aberdeen, a truly remarkable event that we took a lot of credit and accolades for alongside our partners, Aberdeen Inspired.

“It’s always a little humbling taking credit for Nuart, because the reality is, the event is a huge collaborative undertaking between so many different talented and passionate individuals and partners. This is where our ‘call for walls’ comes in. It’s a truly democratic way to have the public and local businesses involved in where the art might be placed.

“We can’t wait to see what comes in and to get feedback from artists who will be with us next year. We’ll be in town shortly to scout locations, and the more options we get the better.”

Shaun Hose, Assistant Director of Rockspring, which owns Aberdeen Indoor Market, which was the centrepiece of the inaugural festival has encouraged property owners to come forward.

He said:

“Rockspring have been fortunate enough to work with Nuart on three artworks which exceeded our expectations. The art is now an integral part of the Indoor Market space overlooking The Green and the trendy Merchant Quarter.

“We are proud to have worked with Aberdeen Inspired and Nuart by providing them with a canvass to enhance the urban landscape and breathe life back into our building.

“We and the stakeholders of the Merchant Quarter have benefited from Nuart Aberdeen and look forward to working with them again on other projects whilst continue to invest in Aberdeen.”

The call for walls comes as discussions with Aberdeen City Council are ongoing to secure Nuart Aberdeen for the future.

Councillor Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, said,

“Aberdeen City Council was both proud and delighted to be the joint delivery partner for Nuart Aberdeen this year.

“The festival showed the very best of the Granite City and this is reinforced by the overwhelming response to the festival by residents and visitors alike. It is therefore right that discussions with partners are continuing as to how the council can best support this very special festival going forward.”

Walls must be in a good condition for paining and interested parties should contact the Nuart Aberdeen project team via: 01224 566291 or email: callforwalls@aberdeeninspired.com

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Jun 022017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of the hugely popular inaugural Nuart Aberdeen have hailed the response of visitors, as research reveals that 80% of attendees agreed the event increased their pride in the Granite City.

The festival, brought to the city by Aberdeen Inspired, attracted crowds of thousands and set the arts and cultural scene in Aberdeen alight.

A survey put together by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has revealed the thoughts of visitors to the event, which reflect the fantastic feedback received throughout the festival and in recent months.

Nearly 90% of respondents to the survey agreed that Nuart Aberdeen, which was supported by Aberdeen City Council and Burness Paull LLP, demonstrates that Aberdeen is a progressive city, with three in four also stating that the artistic extravaganza was their main reason for coming into the city centre.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The response we have received to Nuart Aberdeen, both in the city and around the world, absolutely blew us away. We knew the ambition of the event was high, so to receive such an amazing reaction was incredible after all the hard work that went into bringing it here.

“These findings are wonderful to look at, as they reflect what we strive to achieve, increasing footfall to the city centre and bringing a sense of pride and joy back to our wonderful city.

“Feedback in recent years from our levy payers has highlighted a demand for more large scale events to be held in Aberdeen and we are pleased to be delivering this, and seeing the benefits that it is bringing in terms of economic impact and the aesthetic of Aberdeen.

“The survey also showed that 76% of respondents agreed that the festival brought communities together, which is very much what we felt throughout the weekend, as families, individuals, couples and visitors to our city came together to enjoy and celebrate street art and the transformation it brought to the city.”

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery all showcased their latest work.

Elaine Farquharson-Black, partner and head of planning at Burness Paull said:

“The Nuart Festival has reenergised the city centre, igniting a pride in Aberdeen and promoting a real feeling of inclusivity.

“The stunning artworks and the stories they tell are reimagining our built environment, but what is more important is the positive vibe Nuart has brought to Aberdeen and its people, and the long-lasting effect this will have.”

The popularity of Nuart Aberdeen has led Aberdeen Inspired to introduce regular walking tours throughout the summer. These will be held every Saturday at 11.30am, led by expert Jon Reid, with a meeting point outside Contour Café on the Green.

Mr Watson added:

“The numbers at our walking tours during the festival were absolutely incredible, with more than 1,600 people taking advantage of them, and we are thrilled to be introducing them in the summer months.

“The tours will give visitors the full Nuart Aberdeen experience, taking attendees to the smaller pieces of art as well as the bigger murals created for this year’s festival. Our dedicated tour guide Jon Reid will also give background on each of the 11 international artists that took part, as well as an insight into their inspiration for the work they created.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Apr 282017
 

By Fin Hall.

“Beneath the paving stones, the beach.” That was the apothegm of Nuart Aberdeen. I would add: “Above the rubble, art.” 

I must admit, the level of success that Nuart Aberdeen has achieved is beyond my expectations.

I knew that this innovative project, I nearly used the word ‘happening’, because that is what it was, was going to be interesting and popular, particularly amongst people who like art and culture, but it captured the imagination of so many others also.

Before the international artists arrived, not many people I spoke to was aware of it. But as soon as the Herakut painting of their six year old daughter on the New Market wall in The Green was underway, the interest of the citizens of the city was well and truly piqued.

As each new work was underway or completed, it was virtually all that the conversations was about.

The magnitude of some of the works quite surprised some people: such a thing has never happened in Aberdeen before. But equally pleasing was the reaction to the smaller scale pieces too.

Norwegian artist, Nipper’s Mission Directive, Make, Take and Replace installations were popular (where he left made items on clipboards in various locations, e.g. The Shiprow, Trinity  Quay and Harriet Street to name but three, and these things were free for people to take and keep. Then local artists could leave a sample of their work, to be taken too), and so successful, that I personally only saw a work left on one place as I drove by, and by the time I got parked and went back there, it had gone.

Local artists, however were leaving samples of their work at various locations on the trail.

These clipboards are still in situ with the hope that this sharing of work will continue.

The school children I mentioned in a previous article helped paste up their contribution to Julien de Casabianca’s Outgoings project in Queen Street and Shiprow, and in the future, they will pasting more works up in their local areas, thus creating a bit of a legacy.

Julien himself said, in a very interesting and comical talk he gave in the Anatomy Rooms, that he is looking forward to returning next year – as did other artists, particularly on their social media pages.

The event, which was more than just painting, stencils, and sculptures etc, included films and discussions in the Belmont cinema, live music in Drummonds and a fight club debate in Underdog. There were also free pavement chalk painting and street printing workshops too.

Proving exceedingly popular was the street walking art trail tour. Around 300 turned up for the Saturday afternoon one, meaning that it had to be split up into two seperate groups with more than one guide per group.

On the last evening of the event, the members and artists from NUART ABERDEEN spent a very enjoyable time having a game of bowling down at Codonas.

It seems inevitable that the event will return next year, James Finucane, told me,

“The people embraced the art and the artists wholeheartedly. The turnout for the street art tours was phenomenal and it was great to see so many people exploring the city on their own as well, looking for all the works.

“We look forward to developing plans for Nuart Aberdeen 2018 with our partners in the near future.”

So do we James, so do we.

Meanwhile his task continues as he goes ahead with the organising of Nuart in it’s home city of Stavanger as it enters it’s 17th year. This year it runs from 31st August until 15th October.

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Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix.

Organisers of the Nuart Aberdeen festival have hailed the overwhelming response from members of the public to the city’s first ambitious international street art festival.
A team of internationally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by creating eye-catching murals around the city centre which attracted large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery all showcased their latest work.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it was great to see so many people admiring the work, engaging and capturing it in the build up to, and throughout the weekend.

“All of the artists involved have caught the imagination of Aberdonians and we are very proud to have spearheaded this ambitious project with our partners to bring the festival to Aberdeen.

“We all know the granite shines in the sunshine but it can be a different story on gloomier days and we hope the influential art helps to enhance the area and offering for residents and visitors alike.

“The festival will leave a lasting legacy in the city, all of the street art will remain in place and we hope help to attract more cultural activities to the city and help Aberdeen as we encourage a transition through the city centre masterplan.”

As well as street art, there was also an extensive festival programme of activity including walking tours, talks, presentations, art workshops and the UK cinema premier of Saving Banksy at Belmont Filmhouse.

The festival artists also worked alongside local artists to create a lasting impression in the city centre by brightening up neglected spaces with their work.

Locations for the Nuart Aberdeen Festival work include: Market Village (Market St), Centro Court (Loch Street) Mackay´s (29-31 Queen St), The Illicit Still (Guestrow, Aberdeen), The White Screen (visible from Union Bridge), and Robert Gordon’s College Wall (Harriet Street).

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“It’s been amazing to see the diversity of those who participated in the festival, from young toddlers taking part in our Easter egg hunt to young people and adults engaging with the street art throughout the weekend.

“It seems like people have taken it upon themselves to explore the city centre throughout the festival which is a positive outcome.

“We are really pleased to have trusted custodians in our partners to continue the work of the festival, and we look forward to seeing the city flourish creatively.

“We’re also looking forward to working with Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and our partners to develop Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Colourful street art will begin to appear across Aberdeen city centre this week as a team of globally renowned artists start work for the inaugural Nuart Aberdeen Festival.
Walls at locations throughout the Granite City will be transformed as part of Aberdeen’s first international street art festival which will run from Friday, April 14 to Sunday, April 16.

The first piece of festival street art in Aberdeen was completed by Norwegian stencil artist Martin Whatson on the Mackay’s wall on Queen Street which was unveiled on Sunday morning (April 9).

Nuart Aberdeen has been brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and is supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, this is the first overseas version of the festival.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re very proud to have a very talented line-up of international street artists for the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, and are looking forward to seeing their work take shape around the city centre this week.

“The festival is held in Stavanger each year and the organisers were keen to work with us to bring it to the UK for the very first time so it’s a huge coup for Aberdeen.

“It is also going to be a fantastic opportunity for local and international artists to work alongside each other on such an exciting project. We have a fantastic artist community in Aberdeen and we can’t wait to see their work.

“Nuart Aberdeen is an ambitious project which will give residents in the north-east and beyond the opportunity to engage with all of the colourful artworks which will soon pop up on walls across the city centre.”

The festival provides a platform for national and international artists to showcase their work through a series of murals, installations, interventions, and temporary exhibitions.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery will showcase their latest work.

From Market Street and Queen Street to Belmont Street and Guestrow among others, the artists will use buildings and walls as their canvas to create their artworks.

The festival artists will also work alongside local artists to create a lasting impression in the city centre by brightening up neglected spaces with their work.

The first locations for Nuart include: Market Village (Market St), Centro Court (Loch Street) Mackay´s (29-31 Queen St), The Illicit Still (Guestrow, Aberdeen), The White Screen (visible from Union Bridge), and Robert Gordon’s College Wall (Harriet Street).

As well as street art, there will also be an extensive programme of activity including talks, presentations, film screenings, workshops and a few surprises over the course of the Easter weekend.

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“One of the often overlooked and possibly most long reaching positive effects of street art is just how many people it inspires to have a go themselves, many, not having touched a paintbrush since their last art class at school.

“And whether you go on to become an internationally renowned street artist like Martin Whatson, or you simply cut a stencil at the kitchen table with your kids for a skateboard, is irrelevant, the fact is, street art puts art back into people’s everyday lives like no other art form has even considered.

“Martin’s work, like Banksy before him, is crying out to inspire the next generation of stencil artists. As well as impressive works on public walls across the globe, it will be those smaller DIY attempts at kitchen tables, inspired by Nuart Aberdeen, that form part of the cultures’ lasting legacy.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson, said:

“We are delighted to support events like Nuart through the City Centre Masterplan. The Masterplan’s Aberdeen 365 project aims to deliver a year-round programme of events, recognising that an enhanced cultural and sporting offer can add enormous vibrancy to a city.

“It’s been great to see the first piece of art take shape and I’m sure Aberdonians and visitors will be delighted with the colour that artist Martin Whatson has brought to Queen Street.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Apr 112017
 

By Fin Hall.

Nuart Aberdeen has finally arrived. A first for the city, sees a collection of street artists, organised by Aberdeen Inspired gather to paint, talk and show films etc over the Easter

Old and rarely used doors on the streets within the city centre, mainly around the Merchant Quarter, are being painted in different styles by different artists.

Among the artists participating in this current international project is Julien de Casabianca, a French/Corsican artist.

His Outgoing project features images of paintings in art galleries, often taken by members of the public on their phones, the main subject from said painting isolated via photoshop, then printed onto paper.

This paper is then pasted on buildings, walls etc in public spaces.

To this end various primary schools were invited to send a group of children to Aberdeen Museum Treasure Hub in Northfield, a building which stores many of the works of art that have been relocated from the Art Gallery during the refurbishment that is currently ongoing.

I was in invited by Aberdeen Inspired and NuArt to catalogue this process, working with Manor Park, Riverbank and Walker Road schools.

On arrival, the children were told what the general purpose of their visit would entail, before being split into two or three groups. I would stick with one of the groups each time. This took place on three Thursdays in March.

In the first part of their session, the children would be in an almost classroom like situation where they were given practically free rein to express themselves art wise.

They had a large wall mounted monitor complete with a white screen where they could copy images from the Art Gallery’s digital representation of the art works in it’s collection, or just draw whatever they wished; there were props and dressing up clothes so they could utilise and get their friends to take photos of themselves, or take selfies, with their iPads.

Also, there were word searches and sheets of A4 paper which had a pre-printed frame on, so they could draw whatever took their fancy. It was interesting to watch and see how they reacted and the choice they made. Some would throw themselves wholeheartedly into it, others just sat quietly and concentrated on drawing.

After about 45 minutes, the group I was with were taken through into the first of two storage rooms, with their iPads, to view and photograph the paintings, or rather, parts of paintings, be it a figure, an animal or something like a tree.

the youngsters had ever seen such paintings, and they were quite amazed

This room contained paintings of various sizes and from various eras, stored in racks which slid out when pulled. These works of art were paintings done on either canvas or or other fabrics, but not paper.

Some of the works they weren’t able to capture because they are still under copyright, or were covered in protective tape and plastic, but many others were available.

This was the first time that many of  and interested in them. I had to explain to them that they should concentrate on just part of a painting, and not fill their screen with the whole thing, some of which, as you can imagine were rather large.

After that they were led into a smaller room where paintings and drawings done on paper, were stored in drawers. Some of these drawers were already pulled out and at just the right height for the children to stand over, making sure that their device covers were either removed or held securely up, and snap until their hearts’ content.

The net result is that selected photographs the children have taken will be chosen to be the ones used by Julian to paste up in the East Green – an area other artists will be utilising, and where the official opening ceremony on Saturday 15th April will take place.

This part of he city already has several doors from the Painted Doors project already in situ. So it is the perfect location for the hub of the event.

Saying that, there will be several events taking place in the few days leading up to that. See the NuArt website for details.

All in all it was a pleasure to be involved with the schoolchildren.

The Treasure Hub is available for group and organisation tours. It is well worth visiting. So, this coming week get out and about in the city centre and see this unique event.

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Apr 072017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Youngsters from Aberdeen schools have delved into the city’s prestigious art collection to get inspiration for their special involvement in Nuart Aberdeen.
Pupils from Manor Park, Woodside, Riverbank, Seaton and Walker Road primary schools got the opportunity to explore a wide range of art at the Treasure Hub in Northfield, currently being kept in safe storage while the Aberdeen Art Gallery undergoes its multi-million pound redevelopment. 

The sessions were held as part of The Outings Project, a participatory public art project founded by the globally renowned artist Julian de Casabianca.

The artist, who is participating in the inaugural Nuart Aberdeen festival, will work with the youngsters to paste their selected characters at specific sites in Aberdeen city centre.

Pupils had the opportunity to examine a number of paintings from the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collections, from Portrait of a Lady (The Artist’s Wife) by William Dyce to La Perla de Triana by John Phillip, among others, choosing and photographing their favourite characters to share with the Aberdeen public.

They will then enlarge and paste them up in the city centre under the guidance of Julian, as well as in their own schools and neighbourhoods – getting the change to turn the streets into temporary art galleries during the festival, which is taking place from Friday April 14 to Sunday April 16.

The artworks that the children accessed for this project aren’t currently on display, giving the public a wonderful opportunity to enjoy them in a new way.

It is hoped that the project will help children feel involved in the festival, especially as their efforts will also be displayed in their local areas, as well as encourage new audiences to engage with the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums collection.

There are a number of fun ways for youngsters and families to get involved in Nuart Aberdeen including street printing and chalk drawing workshops, walking tours and an Easter Sunday Street Art hunt.

Nuart Aberdeen will officially open on Saturday April 15, when Herakut’s monumental mural on the façade of Aberdeen Market will be unveiled before the guided Street Art tours begin.

Local breakdance group Bring It Boys will perform a ‘Street Art’ inspired routine created especially for the event.

Also on Saturday, the street printing workshop with Berlin-based collective Raubdruckerin will teach participants how to transform old clothes with street inspired graphic designs from the area in and around Castlegate.

The Chalk Don’t Chalk workshop, being held on St Nicholas Centre’s Rooftop Garden on Sunday April 16, gives children of all ages the “freedom of the city” to create their own chalk street art pieces, with professional artists on hand to teach and guide children on their designs.

Belgian street artist Jaune has been busy hiding his mischievous bin men and women around Aberdeen city centre for the Easter Sunday Street Art hunt also on Sunday. Children can follow the hints provided to find six hidden artworks and win a special Easter Sunday prize.

Elaine Farquharson-Black, director at Aberdeen Inspired and partner at sponsor Burness Paull, said:

“It was wonderful to see the children enjoying the sessions at The Treasure Hub and getting so involved. Nuart Aberdeen is a legacy project for us and we are really looking forward to seeing their paste-ups in the city centre and their local communities.

“This particular project was the brainchild of Julian de Casabianca and it was intended for local children to feel ownership of these images. It is also hoped that they will bring their families to enjoy the Art Gallery when it re-opens in 2018/19 because it will feel, quite rightly, as if they are artists, in the same way as those displayed in our local art space are.

“We would like to extend our thanks to Aberdeen City Council for supporting school staff during these project, as well as community staff who will help with the next stage, and of course, the Aberdeen Art Gallery staff who facilitated the sessions at the Treasure Hub.

“There will be a range of fun events that youngsters and their families can take advantage of during Nuart Aberdeen and I would urge everyone to check out the programme and enjoy what is on offer.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said:

“We are absolutely delighted that our schools and pupils are participating so enthusiastically in the latest festival offering in Aberdeen’s cultural calendar. We have placed a huge emphasis on culture and education and to bring the two together at the Treasure Hub and for the children to work with a globally renowned artist is absolutely fantastic.”

For more information on Nuart Aberdeen please visit http://www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk/

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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