by Nicola Maule
A new gallery space opened in Glasgow’s west end almost a year ago, which is always exciting news, particularly in these recent times where people’s connection to others, and the inspiration and potential of the arts to enrich that connection accelerated even deeper to the virtual world of the flat screen.
Yard Life is a fixed, white space within one of the railway arches adjacent to SWG3 on Eastvale Place that plays host to the graffiti and street art community. Brought into the world by the team behind the internationally respected Yardworks Festival, which once again returns to SWG3 this coming June, the gallery is open to the general public with a rich programme of upcoming exhibitions. Some incredible artists, who many will have seen at Yardworks over the years will have their work hung on the interior walls – pieces that hold the same vibrant energy, humour and imagination that goes into their outdoor work.
Taking creative expression out of its natural place and environment and into the gallery space may not be a new concept. A space for large-scale prints, tiny objects, scrawled illustrations, aerosol masterpieces, and art of all shapes and forms that places sole focus on artists with street art and graffiti roots, perhaps is.
Following the first Scottish solo exhibition, A Slice Of Life by Prefab77, aka Peter Manning in early Spring – an artist renowned for his large-scale street murals as well as print and cut art, the Yard Life Gallery will open a mixed show that will feature a collection of prints by many emerging and renowned names in graffiti, street art and design from around the UK. Select works from Prefab77’s exhibition, which unveiled a series of allegorical portraits, proudly anti-establishment, visually beautiful, a creation of a modern fable of gangs, goddesses, and groupies, will remain in the gallery for this next exhibition, which opens and runs throughout May.
The majority of the collectable work in the show will be limited to small editions of 6 prints only and will highlight a variety of printing techniques, unique hand-finished details, and additional highlights such as embossing stamps, custom-designed stickers, and certificates of authentication. Artists such as the London born, and Glasgow based Molly Hankinson with her particular interest in the representation and celebration of women and other marginalised genders will bring her strikingly bold and beautiful imagery with its bright and considered colour placement and use of continuous line to the walls of the space, alongside other contributing artists such as Siguel, Ross McCrae, Chelsea Frew and Frodrik.
Over the month of June this show will evolve into the Yardworks exhibition, which will include a large body of work by international and local artists taking part in the Yardworks Festival on the 18th – 19th June at SWG3. The team behind Scotland’s leading multi-disciplinary arts venue have confirmed that their outdoor space will once again be transformed into a concrete playground where colour, creativity and collaboration collide. Since its inaugural edition in 2017, Yardworks Festival has attracted the global elite of the street art and graffiti scenes with 2019’s artist list alone featuring names like; Smug (Australia), Does (The Netherlands), Insane51 (Greece), Saturno (Spain), Mr Baker (Germany), Balstroem (Denmark), Welin (Denmark), and, from the UK, Voyder, RogueOner, Mark Worst, Gent48, Ziner, Bonzai, SledOne, Soda, Curtis Hylton and Philth. For local artists, it’s a chance to learn from the best, meet their heroes, and get inspired by what people are doing elsewhere.
On this June weekend, visitors will be welcomed once again into the Galvanizers Yard as urban artists from across Glasgow, the UK and Europe come together to paint, draw and inspire. For the audience, it’s a weekend of witnessing murals being created live, from scratch, in front of you while enjoying a range of delicious street food and drinks. There will also be child-friendly art workshops and activities on offer throughout the weekend for even the youngest of aspiring artists. While visitors to the gallery can expect to see a celebration of urban arts ranging from custom-painted art on miniature toy trucks to original paintings, rebellious needlecraft artwork and much more.
Yardworks Festival has always had something for everyone – both street art enthusiasts and those who don’t know it yet. From a 200-metre graffiti maze and Mia McGregor’s wildly popular Cubes installation (both of which were a favourite with kids and adults alike); to a talk from internationally revered author, photographer and subway artist Martha Cooper and the commissioning of a huge, classical-art-inspired mural by PichiAvo, that can still be seen today in the Galvanizers. With the summer sun (fingers crossed), it heralds good times and a welcome opportunity to stray from the computer screen and the world of online meetups to a local space to relax, be inspired, eat, socialise, and enjoy all that this festival has to offer.
The gallery will be open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 12 – 6pm and over the full Festival weekend.
Tickets for Yardworks Festival via: ticketweb.uk
To purchase from the gallery walls: https://yardlife.tv/