Gray's graduate leads Aberdeen's first street art festival

A Gray’s School of Art graduate will lead the transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) into a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity later this month.

Release the Pressure festivalKarl Porter (30), who graduated from Gray’s last year, is involved in delivering the ‘Release the Pressure’ debut graffiti and street art festival in UTG, which has been spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired under its Summer of Art campaign, in partnership with Karl’s company UV Arts and Aberdeen City Council.

The festival will see a group of local and international street artists will take over the arches within the greenspace on August 27 and 28 from 12pm to 6pm – and give the public the chance to get involved by watching the street art happen.

As well as showcasing their own talent, free taster graffiti workshops for up to 10 people per session. Visitors will also be able to purchase wares, prints and other street art merchandise from the artists.

Karl said the not-for-profit event aims to provide an outlet for young people to channel their energies in a positive and creative way.

He said: “This is a really exciting event which I’m privileged to have the opportunity to bring to Aberdeen. Having built up such a large network of artists and contacts throughout my time, and with my reputation within the scene, I launched our festival and aimed to create cultural connections between artists and cities, delivering an urban intervention, taking over derelict sites and challenging our use of space and place.

 “I have been painting graffiti or street art for more than 15 years, as a rebellious teenager growing up in Northern Ireland where the politics of space determine your geographical surroundings. As an artist I wanted to have a piece of art in every part of the city - graffiti allowed me to create collaborations across the religious divide and meet new people from different areas of the city.”

 The Release the Pressure street art festival is the latest initiative taking place under Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art banner. It follows on from the ongoing Play Me, I’m Yours and Painted Doors projects, both of which have been warmly received by the public.

Organisers are encouraging visitors to the event to share their images and thoughts using the hashtag #streetartabdn on social media platforms.

Release the Pressure festivalAdrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “It will be fantastic to see the arches in Union Terrace transformed into an outdoor gallery by such a talented group of street artists. This is a tremendous way to engage people while also reinvigorating the art scene and making it accessible to everyone.

“We would like to thank Karl for all his hard work in bringing this project together and involving such great artists. We can’t wait to see the variety of street art that will be produced over the weekend.

“Our Summer of Art campaign has got off to a flying start with the recent launches of our ongoing Play Me, I’m Yours and Painted Doors projects. The public’s reaction and engagement with these initiatives has been fantastic so far and I am sure “Release the Pressure” will prove just as popular with residents and visitors to the city centre.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

Find out more about the Release the Pressure festival

Release posted by Jenny Rush
Communications Officer | Faculty of Design and Technology
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