Our workshop is housed inside the SWG3 building in Glasgow. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s one of Glasgow’s largest event spaces filled with creative people, nightclubs, venues and bars. We love it here - and what’s more, we love the numerous gigs and events that take place (literally) right under our feet.
This month, SWG3 hosted the Yardworks Festival - Scotland’s biggest event dedicated to graffiti and street art. Over the course of the weekend, they welcomed over 120 graffiti artists from over 15 different countries to join the festival and show off their skills to the public.
The styles ranged from the traditional which originally adorned the subway carriages found in New York City throughout the 1990s, and innovative styles taking advantage of modern techniques and tastes. The backgrounds of the artists reflected the range of styles: some learned their trade by spray painting walls in their youth, some who are tattooists by trade and others who are graphic designers looking for new ways to engage the public.
The driving force behind the whole event is the studio director at SWG3, Gaz Mac. He’s been a graffiti artist for over 30 years, and he’s heavily involved in the local graffiti scene here in Glasgow. He realised that despite the growing graffiti culture here in Scotland, with more than 100 artists practicing in Glasgow alone, there was very little legal space where they could practice their skills.
Yardworks has changed that. Offering over 1000 metres of legal wallspace, artists could paint anything from the gable-ends of buildings, to surrounding walls, shipping containers and even a purpose built ‘graffiti maze’. Overnight, SWG3 became a playground for graffiti artists, and over 5000 people came down to check out the talent, try their hand at tagging at one of the numerous graffiti workshops and enjoy some street-food in the sunshine.
For us, it was an amazing insight into the creative process behind this subculture. We’ve all seen graffiti, both good and bad, adorning walls across the city - but to see it being painted, layer by layer, with such skill and precision, was fascinating. We’re already looking forward to next year!
Want to know more about SWG3's Yardworks? We spoke with Gaz Mac - SWG3's studio manager, resident graffiti artist and creator of Yardworks.