Final artists announced for Aberdeen street art festival

Nuart Aberdeen have announced the final artists for this year's socially distanced event. The Aberdeen street art festival made its long-awaited return the city last week. Local talent Katie Guthrie, aka KMG making a welcome return to her hometown to create the first two murals of the 2021 run.

Henrik Uldalen and duo SNIK are the final artists for Nuart Aberdeen 2021. Organisers have added them to the group of already announced, Helen Burr, KMG and the pioneer of ‘balloon graff’ Fanakapan.

Henrik Uldalen

Henrik is a self-taught artist whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting, presented in a contemporary manner. He explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. Though he's a figurative painter, his focus has always been the emotional content rather than narratives. Henrik often presents his work with a dream or limbo-like atmosphere. Using elements of surrealism and expressionism.

Internationally acclaimed artists SNIK took part in the 2018 festival. They then created one of the cities most loved murals. ‘Hold Fast Hope’ faces out to the harbour from a wall on Virginia Street. Both are delighted to be returning to Aberdeen. The city hold fond memories for them. They told us, “This is our second visit to Aberdeen and our fourth wall for Nuart. We couldn’t be happier to be painting again this year. We can’t wait to be involved again, up a lift and painting a wall for such a great city.”

SNIK

SNIK combine the creation of hand cut, multilayered stencils with haunting, ethereal portraiture, born from a male/female dual perspective. The duo’s work has been commissioned on walls the world over. Their post-industrial scenes loom large over passers-by in locations as diverse as Miami and Hong Kong.

Away from city streets, the pair have become revered by urban contemporary art collectors in recent years. This is thanks to rare releases of editions that can take up to a year to produce. The smaller scale and intricacy of layered stencil work requires incredibly precise cuts and careful compositional thought. This work has captured the attention of critics, art lovers and collectors alike.

Commenting on the announcement Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen inspired said “The focus this year has been on bringing UK based artists to the city over a period of time which helps to ensure that that we can deliver the productions as safely as possible.

“Henrik Uldalen and SNIK are talented artists who will bring interesting work to the walls of our city.  It’s particularly rewarding when artists want to return to our city as this shows the warmth of the welcome they received first time round.

Nuart Aberdeen is curated and produced by the Stavanger based arts organisation Nuart, spearheaded by Curator and Director Martyn Reed, one of the worlds most respected and critically acknowledged authorities on the culture, he added “Nuart Aberdeen captures the imagination of people in a special way and we leave it to Henrik and SNK to create their art and the hope you the viewer will see something positive in what we’re trying to do.”

A covid safe event

Nuart Aberdeen 2021 has returned as a COVID secure series of individual street art productions which will take shape on the city’s walls throughout June and July. Artists will produce work supported by a local production team during the extended festival period.

With the first two productions complete Aberdeen Inspired are confident the plans for the event ensure the safety of artists, the production team, volunteers, and the public. As a result of covid, elements which would attract large scale gatherings, like the guided tours and public launch will not take place. This is to keep the public safe. Nuart will, however, provide resources and information to allow members of the public to conduct their own self-guided tours. The public can enjoy their tour at a time that suits them. In addition, it will be in accordance with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.


Stuck Up - the Nuart Aberdeen event you can be part of

Nuart Aberdeen have called on the people of Aberdeen to be part of a record breaking new street art project. 'Stuck Up' is a worldwide collaboration which will take place in the city centre this July.

Aberdeen Inspired have earmarked a half kilometre wall for the world’s largest paste-up wall. 'Stuck Up' will feature curated pieces from a selection of Nuart artists. Partner Flying Leaps will provide archive revolutionary street art posters. The wall will also feature submissions from artists, poets and creatives from around the world.

Organisers are asking local folk to contribute to 'Stuck Up', making this a truly collaborative paste-up wall. It will run from the East Green into the Tunnels. They hope that the finished wall will the biggest of its kind in the world.

A wide angle shot of the Aberdeen Market wall where Stuck Up will be posted

Martyn Reed is Director and Founder of the Stavanger based arts organisation Nuart. He told us, “Paste Ups are more often than not regarded as an artwork in their own right. Artists usually create them in a studio before they transplant them on the streets. The practice also crosses over into notions of the more familiar fly-posting. This is when art becomes the vessel for political sentiments and social calls to action.

“In many ways, Paste-Ups demand little more than a tabletop, scissors, magazines and /or paper. They are as much related to ‘craft’ as to the rarefied world of contemporary art.

“Perhaps what the world needs right now is a less ‘stuck-up’ and judgmental look at the collective capacity of our communities to engage in shaping public space. We are returning to a more honest involvement in art as we create it within cities.

“Art can be humble while still making an impact; as much craft as high concept, while still grabbing attention and changing minds. The more accessible the initial process of making art becomes, the more likely it is to reach a wider audience.”

A crowd of people look up at the street art above
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Nuart Aberdeen will take place over the whole summer for 2021. The socially distanced event brings back the fun and colour of Nuart without crowds. In previous years people visited the city centre in one weekend.

Aberdeen inspired Chief Executive Adrian Watson commented on the 'Paste Up' project. He said, “This is an exciting opportunity for local artists, creatives, schools, poets, companies and even groups of friends or families to get involved with Nuart Aberdeen this summer."

“Classes can get together to create a poster from their school. University students can perhaps recreate some of their work in poster form. Colleagues can have fun creating a poster of unique work for the wall. Perhaps these posters reflect the challenges they have faced over the last fifteen months."

Nuart Aberdeen is all about making art accessible and open to everyone. ‘Stuck Up’ is a safe and novel way to involve local people in creating an original and unique piece of work for the city as part of this year’s production
Adrian Watson

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said “What a fantastic opportunity for local people to be part of Nuart Aberdeen this year. The wall, which we hope will be the biggest ‘Paste Up’ gallery in the world will be a unique piece for the city and regardless of age or ability."

"The public will create their posters and to submit them to be included. Then the team will post them alongside posters created by international artists. I’m looking forward to seeing all the submissions. It will be so interesting to see what the people of Aberdeen and the North-East say and create for the wall.”

How to take part in Stuck Up

As long as they are not massively offensive Nuart will use all submissions for the wall. As a result you can easily get involved by creating your own posters, poems, print outs, photos and collages. Send them to: STUCK UP, THE ANATOMY ROOMS, MARISCHAL COLLEGE, SHOE LANE, ABERDEEN, AB10 1AN.

The wall will be produced during the month of July 2021. Read about Indie's McCue's Look Again project.


Nuart Aberdeen - Herakut's Mural at Aberdeen Market

Nuart Aberdeen makes a long awaited return for 2021

Nuart Aberdeen will return to the city for a Covid-safe series of outdoor events starting in June, and continuing over the summer of 2021. As a result, we can look forward to a full summer of new street art murals around Aberdeen city centre.

Organisers cancelled the 2020 event due to the global pandemic. Also, many had assumed the same would happen this year. However, producers of the event have announced that a return of the city’s flagship street art festival is imminent, albeit in a slightly different guise. In a change from previous years organisers have set a theme for artists to explore; Memory and the City.

Photo by Chris Sansbury

In previous years all the artworks we revealed by organisers over one weekend at the end of April. However, this year, starting in June, one artist will come to the city at a time, supported by Nuart’s local production team. Organisers are hoping that the extended festival will attract visitors to the city in a covid-safe way. This will be the fourth year that the Nuart festival has come to Aberdeen, and hopes are that this could be the best yet.

Nuart haven’t wasted any time by announcing the first artist in their 2021 line-up. Renowned painter Helen Bur is making her way back to the city. The Aberdeen public loved her twin works the now demolished Greyfriars House at the Gallowgate. She’ll be exploring the Memory and the City theme.

We are very exited for Nuart Aberdeen's return to the city. Last year’s cancellation was necessary but a real blow. Also, we’re pleased organisers have re-worked the event in order to avoid massive crowds…maybe we can all get back together next year!


Read More

Check out our previous story about Nuart Aberdeen walking tours. These were a brilliant way to explore the murals, and find out the stories behind them.