Beyond The Wall - Nuart gets the creative free rein at Country Ways

Nuart is an international street art festival, which began in Stavanger, Norway, in 2001 and was brought to Aberdeen in 2017 by the city council and business group, Aberdeen Inspired. It is widely considered the world’s leading celebration of Street Art among its peers.

The festival provides a platform for national and international artists who operate outside of the traditional art establishment. Invited to leave their mark on the city’s walls, their work creates one of Europe’s most dynamic and constantly evolving public art events.

Street art has its roots in graffiti, muralism, comic culture, stencil art and activism amongst many other things. It is without doubt the most exciting development in visual art for decades.

Nuart consists of a series of citywide exhibitions, events & workshops surrounding current trends and movements in street art by some of the world’s leading artists and emerging names. The artists who attend the festival are among the most acclaimed and progressive in the world.

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This year’s installations and temporary exhibitions center around the theme “A Revolution of the Ordinary,” and include work by international artists Bordalo II, Bortusk Leer, Carrie Reichardt, Dr. D, Elki, Ernest Zacharevic, Conzo and Glöbel, Hyuro, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm, and Snik.

This year’s installations and temporary exhibitions center around the theme “A Revolution of the Ordinary,” and include work by international artists Bordalo II, Bortusk Leer, Carrie Reichardt, Dr. D, Elki, Ernest Zacharevic, Conzo and Glöbel, Hyuro, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm, and Snik.

Over the weekend of its launch in Aberdeen thousands of visitors took the opportunity to make their way into the city centre and get a glimpse of what was on offer.

Organisers of the event hosted guided tours of the art on Sunday afternoon, with participants gathering on The Green. Along the way they got to see the main mural of the event, located on the side of the Union Plaza. The work by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharvic depicts a young child climbing up a wall alongside two gulls.

The tour finishes at the work on Willowbank Road (Country Ways building) by Scottish artists Conzo and Glöbel, a graffiti/graphic designer and traditional sign writer respectively. Their design has been a topic of great conversation and debate this year! After 40 years of depicting a huntsman on his horse with two hounds running behind, the wall has had a complete make-over with a bold and bright retro style advert of a sea gull ‘action toy’ - a nod and a jovial prod at the avian menace famous for stealing many a chip from an Aberdonian’s take-away!

Giving the creative process a ‘free rein’ – Country Way’s take on the Nuart project

We are really excited to be part of the Nuart festival 2018. The skill of Conzo and Globel is astonishing, to paint something on such a large scale and to include so much detail is remarkable - the more you look at ‘super scurry’ the more you see! They have undoubtedly brought a big dose of colour and humour to the West end of town.

Feedback about the project has been overwhelmingly positive and the city has had a real buzz about it, however many customers and locals who’ve grown-up with the familiar mural of the horse and hound have asked us why it wasn’t reinstated. For several years now we felt the old mural was beginning to look very dated, tired and in need of something more innovative. After some necessary repair work to the wall in the Autumn of 2017, we pondered over what to do next. Then along came Nuart looking for new locations for this year’s festival – surely the perfect opportunity to give the wall a make-over, for a time at least, and to be a part of something bigger? Something that might contribute to the greater civic effort to bring art and visitors into the city and put Aberdeen on the map…for something other than our oil and energy industry! 

Reinstating the old mural or re-working the horse design wasn’t an option as that simply isn‘t in the spirit of the Nuart concept to mandate what the artists could or could not do, they must be given a free creative rein (excuse the pun) rather than being constrained by branding or commercial remits. This was intended to be a pure art project, not a Country Ways re-branding exercise.

The City Council and Aberdeen Inspired are working hard to bring new life and vitality to the city centre, particularly to the struggling high street, so a civic art project on this scale was something we were really keen to be a part of.

Street art and the Nuart Festival is about rediscovering our city, about getting art out there to a very large audience, making it accessible and stimulating debate by challenging entrenched notions of what art is, and more importantly, what it can be. Love it, loathe it, not sure about it? You decide! The work of these artists will challenge your ideas and pose you with all sorts of questions. If it gets you talking, it’s already fulfilled it’s purpose. Enjoy!

If you’d like to know more about the Nuart project, join one of their walking tours which are taking place in the city centre on Saturdays until the end of September. Alternatively, visit the Nuart website or facebook page for details.

A Testimonial from our Sponsored Rider

Jane Doe

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This year’s installations and temporary exhibitions center around the theme “A Revolution of the Ordinary,” and include work by international artists Bordalo II, Bortusk Leer, Carrie Reichardt, Dr. D, Elki, Ernest Zacharevic, Conzo and Glöbel, Hyuro, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm, and Snik.

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