In April this year, the city of Aberdeen was due to host the Nuart Festival. Hugely popular throughout the preceding three years it has left the granite city with an impressive legacy of street art. Sadly the coronavirus ensured that this years Nuart was cancelled indefinitely. That was until the lockdown editions arrived in the city.
Already an impressive line up of international artists had been assembled to take part in the festival. Thanks to the team at Nuart their legacy has not been lost. Using the much under appreciated art medium of the paste up a whole host of new artworks have been appearing.
Giving a chance for the artists to give back to the city the artworks have been sent from all over. Paste ups are essentially posters of varying sizes. Sometimes printed, sometimes hand drawn. They are applied to a surface through a type of paste. It presents an opportunity for an artist to still interact with a space.
The theme of Aberdeen was going to be Freedom. This is the topic they’ve been working towards. Seeking to address the issue of private capital appropriating public space. Already the inspiring Nuart Journal: Issue IV has been dedicated to that very topic. Artists, writers, vandals and some of the finest academic minds contributed to it.
The Lockdown Edition paste ups have popped up all over Aberdeen. An opportunity to give back to the city. To show a beacon of light, solidarity and to keep bringing a forever critical eye. The cast of international artists have been able to still take part in their own unique way. Even though far apart and locked down. They are still able to use their art to discuss the concept of freedom collectively.
Aberdeen Lockdown Editions Gallery
Biancoshock is an Italian public artist. He began contributing to the scene in 2004. Recognising that there was no set category which could really express his work, he chose to define it as Ephermeralism. Biancoshock utilizes the city itself as a stage for his independent urban installations. These are works which can vastly differ in terms of technique, materials and subjects. His aim is to establish a space for reflection for those who pass by his work.
Icy & Sot (IR)
Originally from the city of Tabriz in Iran. Brothers ICY & SOT began establishing themselves in the streets of their home town in 2006. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The artists find themselves in constant pursuit of new mediums which can give their ideas the greatest resonance. Using unusual materials such as chain link fences, barbed wire, old rusty shovels or oil cans. The result will often be the creation of powerful site specific works. ICY & SOT’s art is inspired by global issues. Topics such as equal rights, imprisonment, the plights of migrants and refugees, climate change and the pitfalls of capitalism.
Jacoba Niepoort (DK)
Copenhagen based muralist Jacoba Niepoort sees the street as her own personal playground. Using her art as a tool to address current social issues. She does this through a dissection of her own emotions. Believing that connectness facilitates empathy. Jacoba uses her murals to address societal concerns and change. Creating a space in which viewers of her work can share and reflect. She hopes that people will be able to discard their own feelings of disconnect, indifference and bias.
Jofre Oliveras (ES)
Spanish visual artist Jofre Oliveras utilizes a spectrum of mediums to create his murals, sculptures and installations. He looks for interactions and conversations which happen in our towns which are both sanctioned and unsanctioned. For Jofre, art is a tool that defines the need for change. This is both in individuals and society as a whole. His imagery using satire to criticise social convictions and conventionalism.
Paul Harfleet (UK)
Paul Harfleet is perhaps best known for his Pansy Project, planting pansies at the sites of homophobic abuse. Generally without civic permission. He finds the nearest source of soil in parallel to where the incident occurred. Then he plants one unmarked pansy.
Most recently Paul has been creating a series of works called ‘Birds Can Fly’. Painting a different bird each day during lockdown. Making the drawings available afterwards as a free download for kids to colour in and learn about birds at the same time. You can learn more about that project in our interview with him here.
Nuno Viegas (PT)
Muralist and painter, Nuno Viegas’ artistic roots are entrenched in the late 90’s graffiti scene. This is where the Portugese artist continues to draw inspiration. Moving to the Netherlands Viegas work evolved. Ultimately leading him to discover a new artistic identity. His newer artwork presents an outlook which presents a space between the worlds of muralism and graffiti. He looks to represent graffiti culture through his visually captivating work. This, in a time where the definition of graffiti tends to get blurred and mixed with street art.
Sandra Chevrier (CA)
Self-taught Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier creates contemporary pop-art in the urban scene. She is well known for her captivating portraits of women. Often with a focus on their eyes. An obsessive and highly tuned skill which allows her to describe herself as “a gaze collector’’. Chevrier’s portraits are quite literally torn. Between the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books. Often they are portrayed as the masks on the women she paints.
The pairing of opposites is a persistent and powerful theme that runs through her work. Fragility vs Strength, Triumph over Defeat. Sandra’s painted figures emerge from a surreal world of their own. Exploring the narrow identities which humans use to understand themselves, their gender roles and their own social limitations.
Vladimir Abikh (RU)
From Yekaterinburg in Russia. Artist Vladimir Abikh’s work is an intersection between a variety of mediums and styles. From staged interventions involving viewers in active engagement with the art to site specific installations, video, street art and photography. As an artist he is multi-faceted. Touching on and discussing deep rooted topics. They include urbanism, social injustice, and our place as humans in the age of information. Vladimir uses a sharply concise irony to analyze and reveal the inner mechanisms and functions of the social-cultural phenomena. In essence, why we do what we do as humans.
Conversation with Jon Reid
In this video chat with blogger and artist Jon Reid we talk about the lockdown editions. We also discuss the wider street art scene in Aberdeen and the impact the Nuart Festival has had on the city.