Gary Kemp holding up a skateboard

Temp Check: Gary Kemp of Doric Skateboards

Doric Skateboards was launched in 2017. Gary Kemp wanted to create a brand that the skating community in the city could be proud of…and at the same time bringing in new skaters to the scene, along with those that had drifted away over time. He’s worked with artists to create unique boards that have become huge talking points as they are released.


Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Gary. We wanted to know how your 2020 has panned out, but we’ll start with the simple question…how are you feeling right now?

A mixture between complete apathy and nervous energy! That anxiety that tells you should be doing something “productive,” but then apathy says “nah, don’t worry just watch Netflix.” But overall I am ok…I think!

What inspired you to launch your own skateboard company?

It may sound trite but it was a genuine desire to do something creative, start my own thing, and to be in control. It was during the last oil price crash and redundancy threatened. My coping mechanism was to start this up. I’d got back on my skateboards a few years previously and was enjoying the nostalgia and the occasional role.

It was during the last oil price crash and redundancy threatened. My coping mechanism was to start this up.

One-person companies are rarely that in reality. Who in your community helped Doric Skateboards along the way?

Absolutely. And I like to think I give props to those who deserve it — in fact my website has a page doing exactly that!

My family are obviously front line — Nicola and my Mum have to listen to me. It must be painful. My brother Mark helped get me going with logo, strategy for launching etc. but others in the city are hugely supportive in many ways. Peacocks Visual ArtsCreative LearningRGU/Grays School of Art/Look AgainTransition ExtremeGrey Area InkThe Sticker Job, and Creative-me-podcast have all have been very welcoming and supportive whether I’ve reached out or they have…and without them all this would all be very different.

Doric Skateboards sticker in Aberdeen city centre.

Photo by Chris Sansbury
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Aberdeen features strongly in Doric Skateboards branding and designs. What was the thinking behind this decision?

I’ve always defended Aberdeen. I find the old stereotypes so tedious. Even if there is truth to some, I think we should talk ourselves up more. We’ve got a beautiful city and surrounding area. It’s totally not without its problems…but where hasn’t? So I feel responsible for talking up our culture, our history, our people. Before doing this I had little appreciation for what had happened and is happening in the city culture wise. Now I do I’ll always try to champion that too.

2020 has been an extremely tough year for many, while some have been lucky enough to be able to use it as an opportunity. How would you say you have coped through this wildly crazy year?

I’m not sure I have coped to be honest. I think most of us are trying our best to function without focusing on that existential dread that is around the corner and all around us. I’m getting up, working from home and functioning and I think for now that’s ok!

Running Doric Skateboards has its positives and negatives when it comes to this year. Part of me felt that what I do is so trivial that I was a bit embarrassed to talk about it.

Running Doric Skateboards has its positives and negatives when it comes to this year. Part of me felt that what I do is so trivial that I was a bit embarrassed to talk about it. But we all need something in life to help us through — just the act of creating new stuff was enough for me. I managed to kick off some collaborations, and a wee design competition really helped to give me something to focus on.

What motivates you?

Ha! That assumes I am motivated. I honestly don’t see myself as a motivated person. I tackle what’s in front of me and keep everything else in the periphery as much as I can, then turn to that when I have to/want to. But actual motivation? I get excited to see something come together — a new design, a new collaboration — what ever it is. It’s gratifying to see that become a physical thing.

And the opposite…what demotivates you?

Feeling self-conscious. I’ve had that my whole life and its stopped me doing so much. Being so self-conscious essentially leads to complete lack of confidence. It’s a bizarre thing to feel at 44. But there it is! I think it wouldn’t matter how good I was at something I would always have that feeling of not belonging. Who knows? Maybe its because I listened to too much of The Smiths at school. 😉

Doric Skateboards on the screen printing rack.

Photo by Chris Sansbury
Photo by Chris Sansbury

You very proudly screen print some of your own boards. Why bother doing this in such a time intensive way?

Well I think its part of the DIY culture within skateboarding. All the old school brands didn’t just appear as factory ready; they started in garages and spare rooms. I also think its important to put your hands on the things you sell. This year I’ve tried to learn how to screen print Doric Skateboard branded clothing myself. This has been a real challenge! But I’m just as happy now to get some of the designs printed for me. It all depends on how suitable they are to my skills! But I do think that you should get your hands dirty from time to time!

You are known for your collaborations with local artists as well as those from further afield. Why is that?

I must admit that I didn’t really think about collaborations when I started. Outside of Vanilla Ice the word “collaborate” wasn’t in my vocabulary! So they have happened quite organically — it was never a part of a master plan. I didn’t have one then and still don’t! 😄

Has the pandemic changed you as a person or as a small business owner?

Well I think we’ll need to wait and see but I suspect we have all changed to some degree. I think that the increase we’ve seen in small businesses setting up, a big uptake in new hobbies/sports etc is very reminiscent of where I was 5 or so years ago when I set up Doric. People crave something to control in a world where you perhaps have none — or not as much as you had. Starting something new, learning something, taking part in something — that helps fill that gap for me and reduces the time I spend sitting catastrophising things!


We'd like to thank Gary for taking the time for a chat. It's inspiring to read about a business growing from a small idea and a lot of love. You can follow Doric Skateboards on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Read more of our temp check interviews. This one with Ica Headlam talks about We Are Here Scotland, his campaign to elevate creatives of colour throughout Scotland.


Temp Check: Aberdeen singer-songwriter Rachel Jack

Live music performances have taken a massive hit because of the need to keep people safe from Covid. During this time, many musicians have concentrated on releasing new music to give fans a diversion from lockdown life. We spoke to Aberdeen based singer-songwriter Rachel Jack who has been making waves in the Scottish music scene this year. Having released her brilliant debut EP, The Calgary Tapes in the summer of 2020, we wanted to catch up with her to see how life is treating her right now.


Hey Rachel. Thanks very much for taking time to chat. As always, we start with the easy question that doesn’t always have an easy answer…how are you feeling right now?

I’m feeling tired to be honest. I’ve been super busy and I’m really looking forward to taking a break over Christmas.

What make you take the leap to chasing a career in music?

I had a period of illness and it put everything into perspective for me. I did that thing of looking over my life to-date and felt a bit disappointed that I hadn’t done anything with my voice.

The part I’ll continue to be most proud of is divorcing myself from a career I spent over a decade building. I’d thought about it for ages and it was a really difficult decision to make.

Live performance is pretty much out the question right now, how have you replaced that?

I’ve been keeping my focus by releasing music. In fact, I've released 7 singles since we first went into lockdown.

You released your debut EP, The Calgary Tapes, earlier this year. How did that come about?

I wrote those songs while completing a songwriting scholarship from Paolo Nutini at UWS. I called them the Calgary Tapes because I recorded those songs while living in a place called Calgary on the Isle of Mull.

What are you most proud of so far in your musical career?

The part I’ll continue to be most proud of is divorcing myself from a career I spent over a decade building. I’d thought about it for ages and it was a really difficult decision to make because your job seems to become a massive part of your identity, and for a while I struggled with knowing who I was without a job title, if that makes sense. That process as been the most rewarding.

Rachel Jack sitting in the sunshine against a backdrop of pink flowers.
Photo Credit: AG Whylie

Is there anyone in your community that has inspired you? Tell us about them.

Normal every day people inspire me. I'm interested in their stories. Most of my songs are conversations I’ve had with people. In terms of the musical direction, there’s nothing intentional about it at all. When I meet people I like, we make music together and their style inspires mine. It’s all a very experimental go-with-the-flow kinda thing for me.

What pisses you off?

When people aren’t open to changing their minds. I’ve got a lot of respect for people who can hold their hands up and admit when they are wrong. We all have a right to change our minds when we learn new information but when people dig in their heels and refuse to have conversations about important matters, that really drains me.

I evaluated my life a few years ago and made some big changes. I feel as though I was mentally prepared for this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been easy by any means but it’s also not the worst thing I’ve been through, personally.

The pandemic has been tough on most people, but it has given many the opportunity to evaluate their lives. Has the pandemic changed you?

I evaluated my life a few years ago and made some big changes. I feel as though I was mentally prepared for this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been easy by any means but it’s also not the worst thing I’ve been through, personally.

What motivates you?

Knowing that this is it…right here, right now. Life is short and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.

What does the future hold for Rachel Jack? What are your ambitions?

I feel as though I’ve arrived at where I want to be in that I’ve got a job I like and I’m doing music at the same time. I’d love to write for other artists, that’s the dream really. But I’m only a couple of years into music and I’m enjoying writing for myself so I’m not in any rush. In terms of what I’ve got planned for 2021 — I’ll release my second EP Magazine Girls and I hope to perform live as much as possible!


Find out more about Rachel Jack

Thanks very much to Rachel Jack both for her time and for her candour. You can show your support by following her on TwitterFacebookInstagram and on Spotify, and also check out her latest single, For You, below.

If you enjoyed this Temp Check interview, take some time to read our chat with Stuart McPhee from Siberia Bar and Hotel about his experience of the lockdown. If you would like to hear more local music, check out our playlist, The Lounge. It highlights music from Aberdeen's diverse music scene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H95YudQRQfw

Temp Check: Stuart McPhee from Siberia Bar & Hotel

Aberdeen’s hospitality sector has been hit extremely hard by Covid-19. Business has been massively curtailed and the staff that are still working are on the frontline of an industry that has always had to tread a think line between safety and fun. One of the many venues in the city that has worked positively within the Scottish Government restrictions is Siberia Bar & Hotel.

We thought it was time to catch up with their director, Stuart McPhee. We talk about his active role in standing up for the hospitality industry.


Hi Stuart, this seems like a simple question, but how are you doing right now?

I’m doing well personally…my wife is due our third child in December and excitement building in the house for Christmas. Professionally, it feels consistently like one step forward two steps back a lot of the time, but we’re remaining resilient.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Kirkcaldy, went to University in Dundee and moved to the Granite City about 8 years ago. I’ve worked in the hospitality sector for over a decade and worked my way from being a glass collector in a nightclub to where I am now at Siberia Bar. I’m happily married with 2.9 kids residing in a wonderful little village in Aberdeenshire called Methlick…and I enjoy when I can put the boots on for the local football team there.

We were relieved to understand what was needed from us and we knew that there would be help coming in terms of support at the time. We also thought that it would be short-term and nobody would have considered impacts going on this far down the line.

What does a typical day for you look like?

I don’t have a typical day. Every day presents it’s own unique challenges. My wife will testify to me working 24/7…even when I’m home I’m not off. I’m generally in the bar for 8am and home for 7pm (kids bedtime) and whatever happens in between we solve the problems and we get through the day.

The initial lockdown was a blow to everyone, but especially those in hospitality. Do you remember how you felt at that time?

I remember welcoming the initial lockdown at the time as there had been so many unknown quantities. We were operating as we normally would have been at the time and when you compare that to all the mitigations we now have in place…it’s crazy to think about! We were relieved to understand what was needed from us and we knew that there would be help coming in terms of support at the time. We also thought that it would be short-term and nobody would have considered impacts going on this far down the line.

Siberia Bar's beer garden is popular in Aberdeen

What have some of those longer term impacts looked like?

The biggest long term challenge is having the vision to see what they are. It’s my view that the only way to get out of this is by growing and diversifying our business. I’ve been looking to invest time and effort in advancing our food offering and faculties. That’s my own business view. However, for the sector as a whole I think that the landscape post vaccine will be completely different. We will respect and value for the freedoms that will return to us. I hope it’ll be a time where we can look back on our present position and be thankful for the lessons learned.

Did lockdown mean you had more time away from Siberia Bar? How did you spend that extra time?

I did have extra time away from the venue, I spent it at home with my kids. My wife is a nurse in a GP practice and she worked right through the initial lockdown, so I was on Daddy Day Care most of the time. That time was so valuable. I would never have gained that time before, and will never get again. Between that and doing work around the house. Painting, decorating, organising, moving furniture around to see if you like one room one way or one room another!

Siberia Bar seem to have a very strong community of staff and customers, how have they supported you through 2020?

You know I think we have all just muddled through really. There was no real sense of needing to support anyone. It was very much continuing the sense of community we have always had. We just had to find other ways of connecting. For example Zoom quizzes was one of our favourite ways to catch up.

One of our chefs, Micky, created something called Sibeira Wrestling. This was a championship of recorded simulations of matches between people from the bar. We also broadcasted them for our community to watch. We all had our unique ways of getting through it. A couple of shandies here and there, but mainly making sure we checked on with everyone as often as possible.

What has been some of your biggest frustrations?

Communication and information sharing. In the first lockdown there was such a lack of communication. How we would be moving forward. What is the exit plan. More than anything, how do we get this all under control and get back to normal. No one seems to have a clear vision and thrust for this. And I felt a lot of time I was finding out things too slowly.

Has the pandemic made a difference to your personal priorities?

It has for sure! I have very much gone into survival mode. I would never have considered myself as someone who is confident doing interviews or television etc. Now I’ll do anything I can to make sure that those in power hear our voice in a constructive and considered fashion. Both as a business and as a city. It has very much heightened a lot of the priorities we ran with before. All I want to do is be able to look after the people around me. That's whether that’s my immediate or extended work family.

Customers enjoy food at Aberdeen's Siberia Bar.

Tell us a little about the support you have been lending to the wider hospitality sector?

The sector as a whole is really not being listened to or connected to properly by governments in any country. There’s a lack of understanding as to how these businesses operate and their ecosystem. What happens to footfall when these businesses are not operational and other sectors like retail are.

Out of the depths of despair in the Aberdeen lockdown there was a need for businesses to come together. To forge our way out of it collectively. Therefore we formed an information sharing organisation called Aberdeen Hospitality Together. This brought together 141 venues on the city. As a result of that the local authority has brought me into conversations to discuss issues weekly. I also have a national platform. I have joined newly formed groups. The Scottish Hospitality Group and the NTIA Scotland Commission.

I’ve also been campaigning for positive trade representation and a joined up approach to communication. On a local level I help businesses that have questions I share information. On a national level I help inform messaging. I participate in meetings and do the best I can to coney that hospitality is a wonderful sector to be a part of. Both now and into the future.

If you could give advice to the March 2020 version of yourself, what would it be?

Don’t change a thing. Do exactly everything you think is right and every point you think you have to do it. Stick to what you think and know is the right thing to do and it will serve you well.


It's been great to catch up with Stuart. It was fantastic to hear his frank views on the challenges he has been facing through 2020. You can follow him on Twitter. You can also find the latest on Siberia Bar and Hotel by checking out their Facebook page. In addition, the Scottish Hospitality Group have set up a petition calling on the Scottish Government for better protection. Both of the sector and its employees.

Read more: Our chat with Louise Grant from Fierce Beer.


Temp Check : Colin Farquhar from Belmont Filmhouse

We've now faced restrictions to our lives in Aberdeen for the past 8 months. While Covid-19 has meant that we all have to share the burden of stopping the spread of the virus, there’s a cost to our mental health. We decided to check in with Aberdeen folk to see how they are coping at this point. As a result we hopefully learn a little bit more about them along the way.

First up we check in with Colin Farquhar, Head of Cinema at the Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen’s last independent cinema. They have been forced to close again recently because film distribution in the UK has ground to a halt.


Hey Colin. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about how you are currently dealing with life in pandemic Aberdeen. We’ll start off with a simple one…how are you doing right now?

Good…I think. It’s a strange time for everyone and that includes me. I’ve been part-time furloughed since Saturday (7th November 2020) and that will be an adjustment as I hadn’t been before. Quite often we go on holiday at this time of year. I have a feeling of absence about that, as we obviously can’t travel. Generally good, though. I’ve held up fairly well this year. I’m proud of as, like most folk, I can be fragile as well.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Whitehills which is a wee fishing village of about a thousand people. It's on the Banffshire coast. Beautiful place, not much to do, but I’m very grateful for the prettiness and people when I go back. I moved to Aberdeen to do Media and Communications at Aberdeen College in 2003 when I was 18. Then after a bit of course juggling did English Lit. at Aberdeen Uni, graduating in 2009. I got a part-time job at the Belmont at the end of 2007.

My folks are mostly fishing and farming stock. Dad worked on boats until he decided it was too hard a life (I can’t disagree). My Mum was a nurse at Ladysbridge, which is a now mostly closed mental health hospital just outside the village. My direct family and much of my extended family, work in social care now.

What made you fall in love with movies?

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is a cupboard in my Mum’s house. It was full of recorded VHSs from my early teens. Stuff that I was still much too young to watch. I’d write the name of the film on the side of the black box in marker pen. It was an attempt to make it more readable — Taxi Driver, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Deer Hunter. So there was dozens of these tapes at home that I’d watch a lot. Those late night Channel 4 films.

Prior to that I have a lot of fond memories of going to Elgin and Aberdeen to the cinema as a kid to watch films. Big day was the first time we watched two films in the cinema on one day. My wee brother wanted to watch MiB and I was keen on Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I think that Jurassic Park, and I’ll refer to that original film rather than the entire franchise. It had a huge impact on me in terms of what cinema can achieve. I was the right age, it got me into dinosaurs. It’s still the first film I think of when someone talks about the spectacle of cinema or the cinema. It remains one of my favourite films.

What is your favourite part of your working day?

I guess all jobs have their routine to them. Whenever I get to step away from the admin and talk to customers is a bright spot. You end up talking about films and that’s nice. I feel I’ve been able to do that a lot more recently. One upside of COVID on cinema is that we’ve been able to brush away a lot of the cobwebs. We've been able to focus on the real core stuff like my team and the punters. I’ve enjoyed that immensely.

Working in a cinema is also just full of the occasional pinches that you work in a cinema. So when you do something in a projection room when a film is playing and even a wee glance at the light through the window reminds you of the magic…that romantic stuff. We’re lucky enough that you manage to experience that at least once a week.

Without having to deal with the public quite so much, did you have time to develop any new skills…or catch up on some great movies?

I spent a lot of time reading Scot Gov COVID regulation. I’m unsure if that’s a new skill…Usually I’d try and apply downtime to reading but I’ve found concentrating on that more difficult than usual this year.

I did watch quite a lot of films. MUBI had a great run of Bergman stuff through the summer so I saw Cries and Whispers and The Silence and Autumn Sonata and a few others for the first time. I also watched Le Cercle Rouge which I hadn’t seen before. It’s probably the best film I’ve watched all year. It was also great ton catch up on a lot of films. That was until we reopened but work has been pretty full on since then.

I also walked around the city a lot, particularly in early lockdown. In November I moved flat, so did a lot of trekking around the West End and out to Cults and around Hazelhead. I was mostly back in the office from mid-June. From that point on it was pretty much full bore in terms of reopening planning. So it limits what you can apply yourself to. My headspace was always focused on the mechanics of how Belmont would run, operationally anyway.

How has your community helped both you and The Belmont through lockdown?

The response from the community for our fundraising was amazing. I never expected to raise that amount. It was quite overwhelming. I’ve really felt like people rallied round us and that’s from the hardcore membership and audience to folk who used to come but moved away and then the friends and family of the staff. It helped keep me going. I was still working on my own at that point and reading the letters in particular that came in with the donations (lots of people still send cheques instead of donating online) was lovely.

Photo: Chris Sansbury

The latest closure of the Belmont must have felt like a real blow. Tell us about that decision.

It was hard — I think this year has been quite an acute demonstration of how much we mean to people and that makes these decisions really tough. You know how much people will miss you if you close. The reality was every film we had booked for November dropped off the slate. The audience also petered away a little after the PM announced harder restrictions down south so we felt it became the common sense decision to shut.

But, it’s not March. March was, in all honesty, frightening. On this occasion we felt we were making a controlled choice and although finances will remain a worry for some time we know what we have. Thanks to support grants from Screen Scotland and the extension of the furlough scheme we’re in a better place. All being well we’ll reopen early December and then get into the Xmas stuff.

I take it you have a date in your head for the reopening of the cinema, which I’m sure you don’t want to commit to just yet, but what will influence that final decision to open?

Ideally we’re looking at 4th December but I wouldn’t want anyone to take that as verbatim. If lockdown extends down south then that sets as back, as would a lockdown in Scotland. I’m also expecting the UK and Scottish Governments to relax household rules for Xmas. That might yet have a trade off with other restrictions. If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that everything is subject to change, so you’ve got to be realistic, flexible and patient.

I think this year has been quite an acute demonstration of how much we mean to people and that makes these decisions really tough. You know how much people will miss you if you close.

Who has inspired you recently?

I think everyone to an extent. Seeing people having the will to get on with things and go to work in a year like this has been quite astonishing. I see that in my team, colleagues in Edinburgh and my friends.

My Dad, specifically. I hope he wouldn’t mind me mentioning this but my Dad lost his wife in early in the pandemic to cancer. It was all very quick and sudden. He was due to go back to work when the pandemic was at its peak in mid-April and I told him no one would judge him if he took another week or two off work. He told me that that may be considered selfish and back to work he went. I’ve definitely carried that in my head since. He’s been a star. My brother has also had a kid among all these so that’s been a wee celebration amongst everything. It keeps you going.

Also, with the realisation that it can come across as contrived to point to politicians, particularly current ones, I have a lot of admiration for how Nicola Sturgeon has handled the pandemic. That’s not to say the Scottish Government have done everything perfectly, but being able to get up in front of the country every day for six months and talk them through it is quite a feat. It’s a good example. As someone who manages people it helps a lot.

Do you think you have been changed by the pandemic?

This will be a long answer — I’m not sure. I am someone who is perennially asking myself what I’m good at or what my nature is and this pandemic breeds more of that, so you lose perspective on yourself the same as any other time.

It has made me value more what is close to me; but at the same time I miss travelling. It does teach you can get by on simple pleasures and routine; but the weeks where I just stuck to work and cooking were the weeks I really needed to do something different at the weekend. Ultimately I think we’ve all found out a lot about balance, but we all knew that already really.

One thing definitely — I’ve found I’m far more resilient than I ever thought and for someone who struggled with anxiety through their 20s that has been reassuring. I’m proud of that. Perhaps that’s learning to give up control a little in a situation you can’t possibly. If I carry that out the other side of the pandemic and can apply it to the micro stuff to I think that’s a positive change.

I’ve found I’m far more resilient than I ever thought and for someone who struggled with anxiety through their 20s that has been reassuring. I’m proud of that.

Another realisation is — and I’m unsure this is a change — is just how time passes. It’s just as subjective as everything else and it just siphons away like an elastic blob down a drain if you let it. Books or hill-walks or films or pints in the pub with your pals are the checkpoints that slow it down a little. So, I hope I’ll learn to do stuff I enjoy more and that I’ll remember. Those experiences are wee pauses that slow down time and I think, strangely, lengthen it, at least in memory. If that realization leads me to taking life less seriously, or working less, or procrastinating less then that’ll be a positive change too.


Thank you so much to Colin for his time and frankness. You can follow both him and the Belmont Filmhouse on Twitter. If you would like to support Aberdeen’s local independent cinema on a regular basis, consider getting an annual subscription…it gets you some great benefits too.

We’ll be publishing regular temp checks over the next few weeks…keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't already, check out our interview with Stuart McPhee, manager of Siberia Bar and Hotel.


Aberdeen Art Gallery opens it's doors again

Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened its doors after a four year redevelopment and it's incredible. As a result the city has a modern facility displaying over three floors and displaying over 1000 items. And the work was worth it... it's a must see!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHfwRZGL76Y

Enjoy a splash of colour with a Nuart Aberdeen walking tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hSlhswL-es

The Nuart Aberdeen walking tours are a brilliant way to see Aberdeen, and the spectacular street art that adds a splash of colour to our cityscape.

The worldwide popularity of urban art has grown massively since the turn of the century and this is no small part due the Nuart Festival, held every year in Stavanger, Norway.

Since 2001 artists from around the world have adorned the city’s buildings with beautiful and diverse works that have garnered admirers from around the globe.

Photo @notnixon

In 2017, Nuart spun off a new festival in Stavanger’s twin town of Aberdeen, Scotland and each April, artists are invited to the city to work on permanent legal sites which contrast stunningly against the city’s grey granite buildings. An opening weekend of celebrations, talks and events is seen by many as a kickstart to the summer months ahead.

Every Thursday at 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 1pm, whatever the weather, Nuart Aberdeen hold free tours of the city centre’s street art. They are fun, interesting and packed full of gossip about the creation of the artwork and the artists behind them. They last about 90 mins and if you haven’t already, you should get yourself, your friends and family along to one soon and discover Nuart Aberdeen!


Are you offended by the word “slave”?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1WGhQVKuRk

An Aberdeen artist has had a run-in with a housing officer for painting his trademark SLAVE pieces on a legal graffiti wall at Donside Village and was told never to paint it again because it “threatens residents in the area”.

He told us “It’s not like I have ever written slave in an offensive manner.”

Fellow artist ‘V-Lad’ who runs this legal wall space for Wallspot was told to cover the work before the police were involved. The pair’s solution was to change the pieces into a message about censorship and a discussion about enslavement in the 21st century.

What do you think? Was SLAVE being a little insensitive, or was the housing officer overstepping their authority? Does the resulting discussion bring the issues to a wider audience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.