I don’t know about you but I love art. I have run out of wall space a long time ago but I still can’t help myself when I see an artwork I really like and that would look amazing in my house. More than once I raided my bank account for a painting or print that really wasn’t something I could or should spend money on that day…but oops, I did it again! I have never regretted any of those purchases however, not like I regretted buying those shoes in the sale or another plastic toy for my kids that they only played with once. Art does not seem to go out of fashion. And if anything gives your home personality, it is those unique pieces of art that you love and nobody else owns.
Each year in September, now for the 14th year running, there is NEOS, or North East Open Studios, where over 200 artists across Aberdeen city and shire open their doors to the public, showing off their work and technical skills. It is amazing. Not only do you get to see a wide variety of art in all shapes and forms, you also get to speak to the artists, ask them questions and – this is what I like most – you discover places in your local area you never even knew existed. It’s like a treasure hunt, a discovery trail, an off the beaten track adventure, finding those yellow numbered signs dotted all over the North East for eight days. Oh there’s one! Keep going!
People exhibit their work in the most unusual places. An old train carriage in someone’s back garden? It’s there. Whisky distilleries, village halls, sheds and of course people’s own front rooms and workshops are transformed into temporary exhibition spaces where you are invited to see arts and craft. Informal, welcoming and you often even get a cup of tea. All for free. Try that for an average day out.
You don’t know anything about art you say? It’s not something that really interests you ? Nah – you’re just saying that. If you like beautiful things and getting inspired, then just give it a go. A number of artists are professionals and are doing it for a living, but most participants are people like you and me who make art in their spare time. Many of them are real talents. Flicking through the thick NEOS directory you’ll be able to select the artists you might like to visit, whose work is anything from cool abstract paintings to water colours of our local ‘mountain’ Bennachie (oh yes, loads…), wood sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewellery and contemporary printmaking. A lot of artists also give demonstrations and workshops for you to have a go yourself.
Pick up one of the directories and go visit a few places. Pile some friends in the car and make an afternoon of it. Download a trail if you fancy ‘doing an area’. You’ll be amazed how many artists you have living on your doorstep. You may even find yourself coming home with an original piece of art or commission someone to make you one. If you still tell me you didn’t enjoy any of it after all that, then – oh well. But I bet you have a blast.
NEOS starts on Saturday 10th of September and runs until the following Sunday 18th of September.