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Discover Your Backyard – Nuart Aberdeen Festival 2021

Updated: Nov 3


Author: Barry Pickard

Aberdeen’s nickname has been the Granite City ever since the burgh was built with this solid, locally quarried stone. The name doesn’t necessarily conjure up visions of colour and beauty – unless on those odd occasions of glorious sunshine when the granite blocks shine of silver. Since 2017, however, Aberdeen has been brightened up considerably by the Nuart Festival. The festival’s organisers have done a fantastic job each year enticing some of the world’s best street artists to come to the city and dazzle us with their creativity and skills.


This year has been no exception. After the disappointing postponement of last year’s festival, we were treated to pieces from five world-renowned artists this summer. The festival is usually conducted over an intense couple of weeks, but this year the painting was spread over June, July and into August. There was a little bit of secrecy surrounding the exact days when the artists would be working, which was in an effort to reduce the likelihood of crowds gathering during these uncertain times. In some ways this actually led to even more excitement, at least for myself, as it was like an artistic scavenger hunt, trying to discover where the artists were and catch them mid-creation!


KMG - Nuart Aberdeen
KMG - Nuart Aberdeen

To celebrate the odyssey of discovery, as well as these amazing works of art, this blog will document the murals as they began and then took shape, culminating in their triumphant finale. I hope that you get as much enjoyment out of these pieces as I have.



Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if exploring Aberdeen’s street art appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating Aberdeen’s attractions and its colourful murals, or indeed, a tour of Scotland in general.



KMG


The festival kicked off with the skills of KMG, who originally hailed from Aberdeen itself. This was her biggest mural to date and dominates the side wall of Union Square’s carpark, on Palmerston Road. ‘Ken’ is a recurring seven-eyed character of Katie’s (KMG) work and is sure to bring a massive smile to everyone’s faces who make the pilgrimage to Aberdeen’s largest shopping centre.



As an added bonus, KMG also created a fun piece on the garden roof park of the St. Nicholas Shopping Centre. She also has other works around the city from previous years and we look forward to featuring some of these in our next blog post.



Tailor-Made Top Tip: Look out for the number five shaped balloon held by Ken. This was a later addition painted by another of the festival’s artists, Fanakapan, and this collaboration with KMG is to celebrate the five years that the Nuart Festival has been active in Aberdeen.



Hendrik Uldalen


A self-taught artist, the Norwegian Hendrik’s work tends to be very atmospheric and emotional. The piece he created for this year’s festival was no exception and even managed to include a homage to Aberdeen’s crystallised granite. The work can be seen in a courtyard at the Spring Gardens student accommodation.

Tailor-Made Top Tip: You can get an interesting elevated view of the painting by walking along Gerrard Street, opposite the Baptist Church.


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SNIK


SNIK is an artist duo from the UK who ‘combine the creation of hand-cut, multilayered stencils with haunting, ethereal portraiture, born from a male / female dual perspective’. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect after reading their bio, but however you describe it, their stencil art piece down at the East Green is glorious and eye-catching.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Make sure to look around The Green, as there are other superb Nuart works from previous years, as well as a handful of colourful doors, courtesy of the Painted Doors project.




Fanakapan


You will always need to have a double take of Fanakapan’s work. This UK artist somehow manages to magic up quite startling 3D effect street art. It is always interesting to see murals take shape, but to see how Fanakapan’s 3D art is designed is quite astounding. Fanakapan’s ‘Pulling Faces Aberdeen’ work can be see along the A956, between West North Street and the Beach Boulevard roundabout, on the side of the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: 3D glasses are not required!


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Stuck Up


Proving that the Nuart Festival is not only about stunning painted designs, the organisers have also attempted to create the world’s largest official ‘Paste Up’ wall. At this point, I am not sure if they reached their target, but with over 1500ft of wall space on the Aberdeen Market building to work with, the festival team did a cracking job of pasting up the work. Many of the posters were from recognised artists, but there was also a chance for anyone from the public to submit their work, and indeed, work flooded in from all round the globe. It was hard to pick a favourite from these talented creations, but the subversive political prints more than piqued my interest. Let us know in the comments section which was your favourite!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Make sure you follow the cobbled road down the East Green, onto Carnegie’s Brae (otherwise known as The Tunnels) for more satirical works of art and commentary.



Helen Bur


Aberdeen was already acquainted with the renowned UK artist Helen Bur, after she had completed a beautiful set of paintings on Greyfriars House in 2019. There was more than a ripple of disappointment around the city when the building was recently demolished, losing this lovely art in the process. It is a reminder of how fleeting street art can be. For Helen's new creation, she featured the two models from her previous murals, who are friends of her's, and has documented them now that they have had a child together. A simply stunning work.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Explore Union Row and find four more murals from previous Nuart Festivals.


Conclusion


Nuart 2021 made a triumphant return this year after the disappointment of 2020. Although conducted in a slightly lower-key than the previous festivals, it has cemented Aberdeen’s place as being one of the must-see cities in the UK for bold, exciting street art.


Related Blog Posts

If you are interested in finding out more about the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:

Discover Your Backyard: The Kings in the North

The Tailor-Made Top 21 Must See Stone Circles in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Discover Your Backyard - The Picturesque Fishing Communities of the North East of Scotland

Discover Your Backyard - The Banffshire Coast

The Tailor-Made Top Ten Best Castles to Visit In Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Discover Your Backyard – From Deer Abbey to Boddam

10 Things To Do And See In Stonehaven, Scotland

Explore Royal Deeside - Craigievar and Tarland

Explore Royal Deeside - Ballater & Dinnet

Explore Royal Deeside - Braemar & Balmoral

Welcome to Our Backyard – The Mearns Coast


If you would like more information on street art from around the world, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:

The Tailor-Made Guide to San Francisco’s Street Art & Murals

Discover Your Backyard - Aberdeen's Striking Street Art

Discover Your Backyard – Nuart Aberdeen Festival 2021

How to See Ghent on a Budget

I Heart Polish Street Art

The Tailor-Made Guide to Helsinki's City Centre Street Art


Comment below and let us know which was your favourite art work from this year's Nuart Festival.


Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if exploring Aberdeen’s street art appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating Aberdeen’s attractions and its colourful murals, or indeed, a tour of Scotland in general.


Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.

Barry

Contact Me: tailoritineraries@gmail.com

Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travellers.

These self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.

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