Two new high-profile street artists have been announced for Aberdeen’s Nuart – including a home-grown Granite City talent who had previously been an artist’s assistant at the festival.
KMG – or Katie Guthrie – will kick off the celebration of street art due to start this month, with popular UK artist Fanakapan, the pioneer of “Balloon Graff” works, also joining the line-up.
Both will be exploring “Re-Connect”, the theme of this year’s Nuart, which will run for around six weeks as artists transform blank walls into massive works of art.
Katie, whose works already grace many spots in the city, said she was delighted to be part of this year’s prestigious and award-winning event, staged by Aberdeen Inspired.
“I am pretty excited about being part of Nuart, having grown-up and coming from Aberdeen. It feels really good to be asked to come and paint my home city,” said the artist, who graduated from the city’s Gray’s School of Art in 2006 and is now based in Edinburgh
“I have worked as an assistant for Nuart over the past few years and when I heard from them, I thought they were just going to ask me to be an artist’s assistant again, which I would have been happy with, so it was quite a pleasant surprise.”
Memories of growing up in Aberdeen
Katie believes Nuart has had a positive influence on the city since it began and is looking forward to being part of that journey and history. While she cannot say yet which wall she will be working on or when, she already has plans for her mural.
“It’s going to be quite an ambiguous concept, touching on memories I have of growing up in Aberdeen and visual aspects of the city some people may or may not remember,” she said.
“I really want to create something special, that does the city proud and is special to Aberdeen, both for me and the city itself.”
KMG’s work – described as often subversive and sarcastic while still playful – can be seen around Aberdeen already, with Katie having been part of the Painted Doors project, creating art around the Tunnels and the Green. She also created a mural at Nigg Bay Golf Club.
Meanwhile, securing London-based Fanakapan is a coup for Nuart. Prolific and popular, he creates hyper-realistic visuals of objects such as helium balloons – hence his moniker as a pioneer of “Balloon Graff.”
Ground-breaking artistic creations are astonishing
Acclaimed in the urban contemporary art scene, from a distance his free hand work looks like a real object. Only by moving closer do onlookers realise it is spray paint on a wall.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen inspired said: “It’s a real coup to secure an artist of Fanakapan’s talent to come to the city. His ground-breaking artistic creations are simply astonishing, and I believe his work will literally lift the spirits of the city, its people and its visitors.
“And we are excited to be welcoming Katie back to her home town to kick off the 2021 festival and create her first solo piece for the city where she began her involvement in the street art scene.
Discover Nuart with our interactive map
“Katie’s success is testament to the impact Nuart Aberdeen has had on encouraging home-grown talent and inspiring future generations to explore the culture and express their creativity.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson Councillor Marie Boulton said the festival plays an important role in promoting Aberdeen as a destination for culture and arts.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming the artists of Nuart Aberdeen to the city. It’s been missed and I’m excited to see the productions take shape on our city walls,” she said.
Nuart is creating a legacy
“It’s also so rewarding to learn that the first piece will be produced by a local artist who’s been inspired by festival artists to push forward with her work and gone on to craft a name for herself. Not only is Nuart creating a legacy in our city but it is also inspiring local artists and creatives to pursue their passions.”
Nuart Aberdeen, which has been running since 2017, is curated and produced by the Stavanger -based arts organisation Nuart, spearheaded by curator and director Martyn Reed.
On the festival’s theme of “Re-Connect” he said: “The reason we do what we do, is to propose and promote new and different ways of using public space, to connect people with their surroundings, the art makes a unique connection between the place and the viewer and I hope people will see something positive in what we’re trying to do.”
No date has been set for KMG to begin her work, beyond Aberdeen Inspired saying it will be “in the coming weeks” as the festival operates under coronavirus restrictions.
More details of Nuart and the artists joining KMG and Fanakapan and already announced Helen Bur will be revealed in the near future. For more information go to aberdeeninspired.com