As Aberdeen's Nuart festival launches, is the city the world's street art capital?

Street art by Snik, part of Aberdeen's Nuart festival <i>(Image: Conor Gault Photo)</i>
Street art by Snik, part of Aberdeen's Nuart festival (Image: Conor Gault Photo)

The growing success of Nuart, Aberdeen’s festival of street art, means the city can now be considered one of the top places in Europe to see the best examples of the form, according to the festival’s curator.

The festival’s sixth edition launches tomorrow and runs until June 11 with murals and street art ranged across Aberdeen, and features contributions from 13 artists. Among them are renowned graphic designer Jamie Reid, who created iconic record covers for the Sex Pistols, Brazilian street artist Thiago Mazza, and Brooklynite Swoon, whose intricate drawings are often pasted up on paper.

Also included in the festival are homegrown street artists such as Aberdeen’s KMG.

“Aberdeen is slowly becoming the street art capital of the world, certainly Europe at the moment,” said Nuart curator Martyn Reed, who created the first Nuart festival in Stavanger in 2001. “To see these artists working at this level, they are MoMA [Museum of Modern Art], MOCA [Museum of Contemporary Art] quality artists,” he said, referencing top galleries around the world which show street arts.

HeraldScotland: Works by NeSpoon (left) and Thiago Mazza
HeraldScotland: Works by NeSpoon (left) and Thiago Mazza

Works by NeSpoon (left) and Thiago Mazza (Image: Conor Gault Photo)

The walls the artists are transforming range from the old Queen Street police station and walls on Flourmill Lane, Crooked Lane, Thistle Lane and Rose Street. Work on the street art began last week and the festival will include public participation in a project titled Chalk Don’t Chalk, which aims to create the world’s largest chalk mural in the Quad at Marischal College. There is also a walking tour of the exhibits.

Indoors, Aberdeen Art Gallery will host a conference strand with artists and other cultural figures discussing the aims of the festival and in particular this year’s theme of rewilding.

Stressing the economic value to the city, Aberdeen Inspired chief executive Adrian Watson said:

“Nuart Aberdeen attracts thousands of people into the city centre when the festival is on and continues to attract them once it is over, with these brilliant artworks now a major draw. There is no doubt people come from across the North East, Scotland, the UK and much further afield to enjoy the legacy Nuart Aberdeen has created.”