All too often I still hear people say "Aberdeen is boring, nothing happens, blah blah" and suprisingly it can come from people who should be doing stuff whether its painting or making films or recording music but for some reason they have become blind to their own apathetic bullshit. But fear not, here's some insights and a little local knowledge. So where to see good art in Aberdeen...
|Kaffe Fasset at Aberdeen Art Gallery|
Peacock Visual Arts started almost 40 years ago as a printing studio run by a rabble of drunks and hippys and not much has changed except the hippys have PHDs! Peacocks has been through a lot of changes during its time, most recently losing the old main gallery space and adapting an old shop on the Castlegate to create W OR M, a new contemporary space for housing exhibitions but also a place for conversation, learning and ideas. How this will pan out remains to be seen but with Nuno at the helm things have been opening up both in the print lab and on the critical thinking front. If you wan't to learn about screen printing, etching or laser cutting then they have you covered. They also house an impressive print catalogue with work by Shepard Fairey (OBEY), Mike Giant (see above), Adam Bridgland (Jealous London) and Michael Agnew (Grays School of Art) so get rid of the Bob Marley posters and start your art collection now!
|The Painted Doors|
|Ade in the studio at WASPS|
|The Anatomy Rooms|
Its was Esmee & Rory from Aberdeen University Arts Society that gave me the idea for this post. They recently joined me for one of the Nuart Aberdeen walking tours where we go find all the artworks and I speak about how they came to be. The society aim to highlight a bit of whats going on in the city but also provides workshops, organises talks and looks to help students engage and experience some of the wonderful things Aberdeen has to offer. You can stay in the loop via their facebook group here.
|Work at the Grays Degree Show 2017|
|Student work on show at HATCH|
Also located on Belmont Street, Seventeen is the councils cultural outreach space, initially set up to handle the city of culture bid, the space now plays host to exhibitions and events along with housing a digital lab where you can 3D print yourself and get things laser cut. They try to keep a finger on the pulse and do daily updates about whats on via their facebook page but can sometimes forget to remind people about the stuff they have on show in their own space. But despite the failed city of culture bid Seventeen has proven to be a vital asset to the city and provides great opportunities for new graduates and established artists alike as well as hosting workshops and events across all disciplines.
|Prep for a stencil making workshop at Rosemount Community Centre.|
|'Same Same, But Different' at The Suttie Art Space|
|Pester & Rossi for Look Again Festival 2017|
Nuart Aberdeen made huge waves in April for many reasons. Being the first time the festival has appeared outside of its native Norway was a big deal for Aberdeen and the local reaction to the art works has been phenomenal. The level of engagement has been high right across the board from the very young to the very old with everyone in between coming out and getting lost in the city trying to find all the artworks. The festival brings artists operating at the top of their game and facilitates the production of new works, both big and small in scale, murals and street level interventions but also works to add an academic and informative element through talks and panel debates. I was lucky enough to help out during the festival and have been running the walking tours which take in about 95% of the artworks and I get to regale people with the tales of their production. With tours only running on Saturday 21st & 28th October there's limited time to get the full experience but the joy of street art is that its there, on the streets and you can do your own tours using the handy map available here. If you struggle to find any of them feel free to get in touch with me via my facebook page.
A few other orgs worth checking out include Aberdeen Artists Society, Aberdeen Art Centre (ACT), for life drawing classes check out Nudles, beyond the city limits you'll find Deveron Projects up in Huntly and Scottish Sculpture workshop (SSW). All of the orgs and spaces mentioned above are run by good people so reach out, fire them a message, find out what they have on and get out and explore. Also this is by no means a be all and end all, there's probably a load of fun things that you guys know about so be sure to share their pages and help clue others in.
I have to admit I don't go out as much as I used to. The idea of being down the front at a sweaty techno night isn't really my thing these days but the experiences I had at the old Snafu are well cherished, having to deconstruct the visuals for Bloody Beetroots for fear the TVs would get smashed and watching sweat drip off the fake cave ceiling (video here), hanging out with 2 Many Djs and watching them admire the big projections I did was another highlight (check out the video here) but all bragging aside music was and still is an important aspect of my daily cultural intake. And Aberdeen has a lot to offer especially with Let It Bleed continuing to bring the top names in house and techno to Aberdeen. Venues of choice are Unit51 who also host hippy markets and have combined music with art via the Walk The Block festival along with The Tunnels who have hosted everyone from Olafur Arnalds to Les Savy Fav (that was a wild one!).
If more alternative sounds are your thing then Interesting Music have brought some incredible acts to the Granite City and continue to host intimate gigs and are always on the look out for interesting places to put bands on, maybe you have a cool basement they could use? Labels like Fit Like Records have been shining a light on North East acts including Best Girl Athlete (new album is amazing, really) and Wendol Borton while Captain Toms studios is the perfect place to experience a bit of the underground scene, scuzzy punks to riffed up metal heads and everything in between. Tribal Takeover did a great job mixing up a club night with live dance performances, visuals and a gallery up stairs (read about it here). And of course there's a whole load more that goes past my radar but if you're looking for comprehensive guides then 57North should have you covered.
|Old adverts on Victoria Road, Torry (circa 1930s)|
If its oldie world you're interested in then Aberdeen University is slap bang in the middle with the quaint Spital showcasing some beautiful old housing while further along Old Aberdeen you'll find St Machars Cathedral and Seaton Park. You can make your way over to Bridge of Don or along to the Don Mouth and back along the beach, walk far enough and you'll come to another old settlement called Fittie or Footdee. The old fishing village is located right on the harbour mouth, cut off by the beach and the industrial sprawl, oil tankers loom and supply boats fill the horizon but I can't think of a more perfect evening than catching a sunset from beside the harbour masters tower.
That's it for me, if you want to find out more about what I mentioned above click on the names, they're all linked to the relevant social media, you can find me on Facebook here so feel free to get in touch and be sure to get out there, keep your eyes open and hopefully the next 4 years will be full of adventures that go beyond Soul Bar and Espionage on a Wednesday night!